Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Burnt

There were a lot of good suggestions for BEST EVAR, and sadly only all of them could be BEST EVAR. This last one comes from a Mild-Mannered Enthusiast and has been picked because it’s from Rutgers in my home state of New Jersey.

Scarlet Begonias and Fire on the Mountain are in that special class of partnerships: true equality between peers. Neither song is Sherlock, nor is the other Watson. Scarlet and Fire are like Laurel and Hardy, but not Abbot and Costello: Abbot was the straight man and Costello got the laughs, whereas both Laurel and Hardy alternated doing dumb shit.

And it is at this point that I confess that I have not one more word in me about these two relatively simple ditties and turn the reins over to a child.

Swaggie Maggie’s Thoughts On The 5/15/81 Scarlet>Fire

  • Garcia sounds weird.
  • Is that because of drugs?
  • I hope my mom doesn’t get mad that I am BLASTING THIS SHIT.
  • Drums a little tight.
  • I should interject at this point to mention that I have no idea what that last one meant.
  • Feel like they could be a little slower.
  • I should again interject to mention that she is wrong.
  • Liking Brent more and more.
  • Just when he doesn’t sing.
  • PHIL.
  • MOAR PHIL.
  • GIVE PHIL GIVE TO ME Y NO MOAR PHIL.
  • phil pleez
  • Digging Garcia.
  • He’s doing great.
  • I’d be spinning if I were there.
  • I now interject to congratulate Swaggie Maggie on her use of the conditional tense, but as to the spinning: NOOOOOOOOOO.
  • You know what?
  • This is really good.
  • I like how you know it’s the Dead just from the drums.
  • Brent keeps it moving.
  • Good transition.
  • It doesn’t even sound like a Scarlet>Fire and I LOVE THAT IT IS AWESOME.
  • BRENT.
  • BRENT BRENT BRENT.
  • I like Brent now but not when he sings.
  • Hmm.
  • Garcia needs to be more plucky and woppy.
  • Onomatopoeia.
  • This is pretty all right for a S>F, gotta say.
  • It should be noted that at this point Swaggie Maggie began a lengthy and impressive diatribe about the perils of comparison. Not kidding: she brought up Jackson Pollock and Dixieland jazz. The kids are all right.

This concludes Scarlet>Fire Appreciation Day here at TotD, mostly because if you do this two days in a row, then men in white coats come and get you. If I didn’t get to your suggestion, it’s because you were bad as a child. If I did get to your suggestion, then donations of cash and/or narcotics are expected.

26 Comments

  1. Epic day, I’m sure it motivated several of us to rediscover gems we had forgotten.

    • This is hard work, I need a week. It takes 20 minutes to listen to one, and there are hundreds of them..I am not done, but I am taking ToTD and Maggies word and listening to this rutgers..

      Brent is Growly at 10 minutes.. I like that.

      Maggie asked some tuff questions.. she deserves answers

      Garcia sounds weird.
      * You must be high..
      Is that because of drugs?
      *see above…
      I hope my mom doesn’t get mad that I am BLASTING THIS SHIT.
      *Threaten to run away, or have children or something, take control of that house young lady..
      Drums a little tight.
      Feel like they could be a little slower.
      * took wrong drugs, stay with hippie drugs, no powders
      Liking Brent more and more.
      * Brent Rulz
      Just when he doesn’t sing.
      * I like when he laughs into the mic about how absurd the singing is
      PHIL.
      MOAR PHIL.
      GIVE PHIL GIVE TO ME Y NO MOAR PHIL.
      phil pleez
      Digging Garcia.
      He’s doing great.
      I’d be spinning if I were there.
      * Spin on, if Mom asks you to turn it down just keep spinning
      You know what?
      This is really good.
      I like how you know it’s the Dead just from the drums.
      Brent keeps it moving.
      Good transition.
      It doesn’t even sound like a Scarlet>Fire and I LOVE THAT IT IS AWESOME.
      BRENT.
      BRENT BRENT BRENT.
      I like Brent now but not when he sings.
      Hmm.
      Garcia needs to be more plucky and woppy.
      Onomatopoeia.
      * Now you are speaking a language we understand, tell Mom you have to be free, then play air guitar and spin, get flopsy and mopsy all at once
      This is pretty all right for a S>F, gotta say.
      It should be noted that at this point Swaggie Maggie began a lengthy and impressive diatribe about the perils of comparison. Not kidding: she brought up Jackson Pollock and Dixieland jazz. The kids are all right.

      ** She is abusing her or someone elses ADHD meds.. That is how I get when I take cough medecine with ephedrine, and my Ritalin at the same tim.

  2. Giving this another go right now with 5/17/77. Just picked it up randomly on the Archives. I like to scroll through without looking and then click wherever I land, and if I think I’ll like the show, I’ll give it a listen. (I apologize if this show was posted yesterday and I am being super ignorant about that. Most things don’t stay in my brain for a long time.)

    All I can really say: It’s a Scarlet>Fire. They always sound good because we like them. There’s no way to compare one to another. Especially if you’ve listened to a specific version more than once. Why do we never put Cornell up against other ones? (Well, beside the fact that it’s on sacred and holy grounds that cannot be touched), it’s because we’ve all probably heard that one more times than we’ve heard our friends tell us to turn it the fuck down. They all have their own sound. Some people argue that the Dead just sound like they’re doing “the same thing over and over again” (and that’s funny when it comes from people who might go to concerts to see a band perform music the same exact way it sounds on their albums), but we all know that to be, for the most part, untrue.

    Back to the actual song, now: This one has a great pace, and I’m loving the transition, but… I say that about every Scarlet>Fire. Scarlet>Fires are fantastic symphonies of light and energy and sound. And feeling, too. I feel very good right now.

    Mind you – and I mentioned this to TotD yesterday – that I’ve listened to far, far fewer shows and songs than all of you have ever listened to, so my opinion isn’t fully formed.

    I think they’re all good because most of the time, my face gets totally blown off.

    (I’d like to mention at this point that I am having trouble deciding what I really think about the notion of comparing different versions to each other; because, while on one hand, I have very clearly defined my confusion regarding this process of… juxtaposition? of Dead music, I also believe that I have room to change this opinion. Maybe you CAN compare this music.

    For example: Do I have a favorite China>Rider? Yes, of course; it’s Veneta, because that one has been commercially released and remastered and it’s, like, super important to the band’s history. Plus, who doesn’t freaking like Veneta? That China Rider is – and I say this knowing how backwards I sound – THE BEST ONE EVAR OMG.)

    But, AGAIN, for the goddamn sake of redundancy: having a favorite Scarlet>Fire, or any Dead song, just seems impossible to me.

    I welcome any and all interpretation of what I am thinking and anyone’s desire to help sway my feelings. What you just read was a total stream of consciousness.

    • Well gosh, that’s a lot of words. I skimmed over this once or twice so I realize it makes pretty much no sense. It’d be much easier in person. It’s awesome when you write things down or say them out loud and they begin to make more sense.

      I think what I am ULTIMATELY trying to say, without all the possible extra nonsense riddled throughout these many paragraphs, is that you can’t compare Scarlet>Fires, because they have a much smaller structure than say, a China>Rider. I dunno.

      i’m a huge t00L

      • Uh, no.

        I still recall my excitement when I answered the call in the Skull and Roses album, and wrote to Dead Heads PO Box 1065, San Rafael CA (note that I still remember the address). I still get excited when a new release is due to arrive. This is exciting music, worthy of serious as well as light hearted investigation.

        It is great to see that young people get the Grateful Dead, and in many ways it is a validation for us old heads. Remember, back in the day we were regarded as tone deaf, whacked out weirdos for liking Grateful Dead music. So, we take it as evidence we were right all along.

        Keep on working out your thinking in writing, we are all supportive, if a little grizzled, curmudgeonly and, in many cases, off the wall crazy.

      • Very nice Maggs!!

      • Yeah..

        for structure..

        Less is more a lot of the times. The wheel, DarkStar, Fire.

        Sometimes crazy structure is good, (The Eleven), but often it is not, (unbroken chain). — ducks–

        I saw a few shows in the 80’s but have not been an obsessive listener. Satellite Radio the last few months helps me put in the listening hours, but often they do not tell you what show the tune came from.

        Yeow !!

    • Many a certified, quoted in the OED deadhead has reached the same conclusion. But that doesn’t mean it is not fun making comparisons, and arguing about which is the most coherent, which is the spaciest, which has the best vocals etc. In that respect, it is a bit like sports fans in a bar having a few drinks. What else are you going to talk about?

      • Yeah, I’ve been figuring that out, but unfortunately for all of you, most of that has been public. Let the kid talk, let her realize how silly and little she sounds, and then we can all jam the fuck out

    • I think I just replied to the wrong post. So my response is now embedded in the middle of the dialogue. Still, this is the comments section in a GD blog, so no great harm done.

    • It’s like smoking. The Best Scarlet Fire is the one I’m listening to right now.

  3. Yikes, I am just re-reading or discovering all of what went on yesterday.. An epic day for ToTD, if he is napping all day it is deserved.

  4. Bonnie Lass of Fenario

    December 1, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    May I belatedly suggest 11/6/2015? Mainly because I was there!

    /sarcasm – I was really there tho.

  5. Grateful Dead channel is playing 6/10/73
    Shoot the breeze, lose the keys
    Feed the poor, stop the war…….

  6. I grew up a Rutgers brat, so I may be biased… but that is indeed one mighty fine Scarlet Fire!

  7. My vote- dick pick 25 Thursday may 11,1978 the peyote/mescaline makes it super special, thanks bear, also perhaps October 1977, Actually best franklins is October 11,1977. Oh the best Eh van is June 30,1987 Canada’s wonderland ,,everybody is playing in the heart of romance. Great Healy mix.

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