Building a Library: The Grateful Dead SIDEBARS 2-5
November 1, 1995 was the official debut of the Grateful Dead's Internet server site. The URL is http://www.grateful.dead.net. Plans include recurring Chat Rooms with bandmembers, Mbone broadcasts of albums, and interviews with the band. Information on the web site includes Special Events, Almanac, Bandmember, and Merchandising.
An Infosearch seek reveals over 100 Grateful Dead-related Web pages ranging from documents of set lists to tape archive info. The Usnet space is rec.music.gdead. The Well, an online service provider, has served for many years as the electronic resource for netheads.---Elizabeth Cohen
SIDEBAR 3: The Rex Foundation
The Rex Foundation was created as a charitable foundation by members of the Grateful Dead and friends. It aims to help secure a healthy environment, promote individuality in the arts, provide support to critical and necessary social services, assist others less fortunate than ourselves, protect the rights of indigenous people and ensure cultural survival, build a stronger community, and to educate children and adults everywhere.
Rex has a growing circle of donors. (The author's proceeds from this article are being donated to the Rex Foundation.) The author encourages donations to help support Rex's work. If you wish to contribute, please send your tax-deductible contribution to the Rex Foundation. Federal ID number: 68 0033257.---Elizabeth Cohen
SIDEBAR 4: THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED: Roots of the Grateful Dead
With: Obray Ramsey, Merle Haggard, the Dixie Cups, Rev. Gary Davis, Cannon's Jug Stompers, Marty Robbins, Bob Dylan, Charlie Patton, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry, Henry Thomas, Jimmy Reed, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Bonnie Dobson, Buddy Holly, Woody Guthrie, The Pindar Family with Joseph Spence
Shanachi 6014 (CD). Henry Kaiser, David Gans, prods.; Paul Stubblebine, mastering. AAD. TT: 52:27
Here are the original versions, by the original artists, of 17 songs the Dead have covered on stage and in concert over the last 30 years. It's such a perfect reverse tribute to the Grateful Dead that I'm surprised no one's ever thought of it before.
At least half of these recordings are so well-known as to need no introduction: Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," Howlin' Wolf's "The Red Rooster," Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried," the Dixie Cups' "Iko Iko," Jimmy Reed's "Big Boss Man," Chuck Berry's "The Promised Land," Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away."
More obscure are Obray Ramsey's "Rain and Snow," Cannon's Jug Stompers' "Big Railroad Blues," Bonnie Dobson's earnest "Morning Dew," Rev. Gary Davis's "Samson & Delilah," and, strangest of all in rhythm and intonation, Joseph Spence and the Pindar Family's "I Bid You Good Night" (also the source of the Incredible String Band's version of the song).
All of these tracks are available elsewhere on discs by their original performers. But having them all in one place here proves, as if anyone ever doubted it, just how deep the Dead's roots go. The Music Never Stopped cuts across the grain of American music: here is where Joseph Spence meets Bobby "Blue" Bland ("Turn On Your Love Light"), where Marty Robbins ("El Paso") and Chuck Berry find common ground.
What this disc is finally most a tribute to is the generous expansiveness of the Grateful Dead's sympathies, their willingness to embrace all of our common musical heritage and not so much claim it as their own but give it back to us revitalized and polished---by long use---to a warm, mellow glow. And this disc maps only one wing of the Dead's musical mansion---other discs could be compiled of the Dead's wide-ranging classical and jazz influences.
Blair Jackson's excellent and copious liner notes place these songs not only in their own historical and cultural contexts, but also in their histories within the Dead's set lists over the years. For instance, it's jarring to be reminded that when the Dead released Bobby "Blue" Bland's "Turn On Your Love Light" in their classic Live/Dead cover version, the song was only five years old; or that "I Bid You Good Night" was only played twice between 1975 and 1989. With original cover art by R. Crumb, The Music Never Stopped is a class act, and a revealing core-sample through the rich strata of American musical geology. Recommended.---Richard Lehnert
SIDEBAR 5: About the Author
Dr. Elizabeth Cohen grew up doing her chemistry homework on the Dead's McIntosh amplifier cases, fairly oblivious to the chemistry experiments going on around her. She credits her ability to meet professional challenges to the rigorous Socratic education received within the Greater Grateful Dead. In response to her incessant questions, Garcia was known to have responded, "It's when she's speechless I'll begin to worry." Mickey Hart, in Drumming on the Edge of Magic, referred to her as an energy demon...a horse who'd been penned up all winter. John Barlow simply gives the rules as "make it complicated and then she'll really understand it."
Although the mantra was often "Make it Happen," one of the delights of a Grateful Dead concert was hanging out and marveling at the sheer wonder and talent of the people drawn to the scene. Sitting still at Grateful Dead HQ brought many of the gifts of the universe to one's door. Cohen has also been known to occasionally dance with wild abandon.
Dr. Cohen directed the initial computerization of the Grateful Dead and has collaborated on numerous individual projects with bandmembers. She has been heard to mutter something about herding cats. She is currently President of Cohen Acoustical, Inc. an acoustical consulting firm specializing in room acoustics and technology assessment. She is a Consulting Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, and President-Elect of the Audio Engineering Society.