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Every Dark Star (Grateful Dead)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by bzfgt, Aug 4, 2020.

  1. bzfgt

    bzfgt The Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler Thread Starter

    OK, we're going to listen to every Dark Star. A good reference for us in the early going is this essay about 1968 Dark Stars by Light Into Ashes:

    Grateful Dead Guide: Dark Star 1968

    The earliest manifestation of Dark Star identified there is in the "Dancing in the Street" jam from 1967-09-03, so we will start with that:


    @dgwint has said the "Viola Lee Blues" from this same show also contains elements of Dark Star. I haven't checked it yet; if it is indeed there, and he didn't just mix it up with "Dancing in the Street," we will listen to that also....

    We are going to take it nice and slowly.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
  2. dgwint

    dgwint Forum Resident

    Starting around the 17 minute mark of VLB.
    Tim Bucknall, trd, adamos and 5 others like this.
  3. Rne

    Rne weltschmerz

    I've never listened to this one before. The jam is certainly a proto-Dark Star, the lyricism of Jerry's guitar lines does not make me think of guys and girls dancing in the street.
    Tim Bucknall likes this.
  4. bzfgt

    bzfgt The Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler Thread Starter

    OK what I assume you're talking about starts at 17:38 on the source above....we'll look at that too
    Tim Bucknall likes this.
  5. Rne

    Rne weltschmerz

    Regarding 9/3/67 "Viola Lee Blues":
    On the debut album 2001 bonus track, around 21:40, Jerry starts playing something that could qualify as a sort of "Dark Star" quote. What I mean is that had he played that guitar part that during a, let's say, 1987 jam, the audience would have gone crazy believing a "Dark Star" was about to happen (or was actually happening!).
  6. dgwint

    dgwint Forum Resident

    I always felt the part Jerry plays in VLB is a very loose quote of part of the classic DS melodies. But then I hear that in my head pretty much 24/7. So I got that going for me, which is nice!
  7. Archtop

    Archtop Soft Dead Crimson Cow

    Just hints of the melody starting around 3:00 of Dancin'. Then a bit more loosely-related stuff starting around 7:00. That Hunter was alleged to start the DS lyric this weekend may have triggered Jerry either to create this (or to simply try it out spontanously) or, conversely, remember it when Hunter later told him about his idea for DS is pointless speculation but interesting nonetheless.

    Honestly, I'm not hearing DS in VLB starting at 17:30. Sounds more like the intro to China Cat to me. At 21:43, it's a bit more like DS and now I can see why the bit at 17:30 sounds related.

    Somewhat tenuous connections all around, I'd say (I'm so used to the slower '70-'74 tempi), but there's something brewin'.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
  8. ceddy10165

    ceddy10165 My life was saved by rock n roll

    Avon, CT
    Please do take it slow. Dark Star is my favorite GD composition. I’ve always meant to do this too.
  9. bzfgt

    bzfgt The Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler Thread Starter

    Dancing in the Street 1967-09-03:

    Garcia wasn't necessarily thinking "These licks will soon become 'Dark Star,' hahahaaaa!!!" but the sort of thing coming from his fingers at this time can be legitimately associated with what will be Dark Star, I think.
    2:33 Garcia starts his solo with what could arguably be connected to the verse melody of Dark Star, and plays around with it from there. Particularly see 4:45.
    6:40 sounds like it’s heading to pre-verse DS territory. Garcia plays with a DS kind of melody more around 7:10.

    The band sounds like it is exploring territory that will come to be part of Dark Star, so the latter at least doesn't seem to have come out of nowhere.

    To be honest I don't hear it that much on VLB.
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  10. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Independent Head

    New Mexico USA
    Now we’re talking.

  11. snigglefritz

    snigglefritz Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    I think this is a pertinent fact.
  12. JimSmiley

    JimSmiley Team Blue Note

    Wake me up when you get to 5-11-72.

    Just kidding....my other vehicle is a second set Dark Star.

    Great thread idea. Looking forward to this.
  13. FlexFantastic

    FlexFantastic Mechano-Man of the Future!

    Aurora, CO
    I've been interested into exploring the dead more, this seems like a fun way to do that. I'll be following with interest!
  14. guppy270

    guppy270 Forum Resident

    Levittown, NY
    I am looking forward to this thread! I love me some Dark Stars.
    The only part of the early ones i'm not crazy about is Pigpen's ultra repetitive keyboard part
    ianuaditis and bzfgt like this.
  15. I hear why we get pointed there, but it ain’t quite Dark Star - not yet, anyway.
  16. ceddy10165

    ceddy10165 My life was saved by rock n roll

    Avon, CT
    1967-09-03, Dancin and Viola teases - very, very distant calls to Dark Star. If I hadn’t been told to listen for it, 8 times out of 10 I wouldn’t have even noticed it. I’ve listened to this show a bunch over the years and don’t think I ever heard a Dark Star reference. They were heading in so many directions in those days!

    Shout out for John Oswald’s Grayfolded Dark Star CDs, which I’ll pull out now!
  17. Archtop

    Archtop Soft Dead Crimson Cow

    A bit like taking on cliff diving after discovering an interest in swimming, but by all means, welcome aboard.
  18. dgwint

    dgwint Forum Resident

    Know as ROR (repetitive organ riff).
    trumpet sounds and ianuaditis like this.
  19. 7solqs4iago

    7solqs4iago Forum Resident

    i can take a wild stab at a top 3 listing.....
  20. FlexFantastic

    FlexFantastic Mechano-Man of the Future!

    Aurora, CO
    Go big or go home, I say. Thanks for the welcome!
  21. posnera

    posnera Forum Resident

    Interesting idea for a thread. Doubt I'll keep pace but I may as well get started!

    I agree with the above comments about Dancing. Garcia's lines definitely have the early makings of the Dark Star melody (sung melody, not the intro riff).
    Bear's presence at this show may have had 2 influences. One - they may have had these tapes to listen to and build off of.
    Two - better living through chemistry.

    Off topic - Jerry plays a few seconds of what will become The Other One at 5:25 of Dancing
  22. mbg

    mbg Forum Resident

    Los Angeles
    Oh man. I respect the ambition of this thread but I don’t think I’ll make it to the end lol.
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  23. bzfgt

    bzfgt The Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler Thread Starter

    Wait until we get to 1968-01-20, Jerry plays that riff for a while
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  24. warewolf95

    warewolf95 Forum Resident

    Greenville, SC
    I need to follow this thread. I'm not a Dark Star guy by nature (give me Eyes or Scar>Fire....) but one can't admit the awesomeness this track usually unleashed.

    My favorite versions (again, not a DS aficionado) are:



    That's only 3 so hopefully this thread expands that list for me :p
  25. wallabeing

    wallabeing Forum Resident

    United States
    This is gonna be a fun ride
    ianuaditis, warewolf95 and bzfgt like this.

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