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goganious

"the Bakersfield Sound" And Jerry Garcia

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So up here in Ithaca we have a festival every summer called Grassroots. This year, one of the headliners is Merle Haggard. Now, I respect the hell out of this guy not only for his contributions to the Grateful Dead repertoire (Mama Tried, Sing Me Back Home), but because he is one of the only "outlaw country" musicians that actually lives up to his name. Dude was a badass mo-fo.

Anyway, on to the topic at hand: In preparation for Merle's appearance at Grassroots, I've been listening to a lot of Merle. One thing that I keep hearing over and over again in his music is guitar licks and solos that, to me, seem like a definite inspiration/pre-cursor to Jerry's style. Its my understanding that Merle, among others (including Buck Owens and the Buckaroos), was known for his "Bakersfield sound". As I sit and listen to "Okie From Muskogee" and "Mama Tried", I can't see any way that this kind of guitar work DIDN'T influence Jerry.

Here's a clip for reference:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iYY2FQHFwE

(side note about the clip: Hilarious. Merle is in the prime of his life here and this is a classic performance. What a funny song in general.)

Now, after listening to that, here's a clip of the Grateful Dead and The Beach Boys sharing the stage and singing the same song (Okie From Muskogee). Jerry sounds quite at home and natural doing this song, don't you think?:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_3nYixwNn0

Anyway, I'm not the greatest Dead historian around, so I wanted to defer to those of you that are: Was Jerry an admitted fan/listener of Merle Haggard? Do you believe that Jerry's playing style was largely influenced by the "Bakersfield sound"? I know that Bobby was a fan, as I've heard him mention it in interviews. Wasn't sure about Jerry, though. Am I crazy in thinking that the guitar stylings of the "Bakersfield sound" influenced Jerry's playing to a large degree?

What say thee, ye Dead scribes?

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My personal feeling, and there are many on here who can give more specific details, is that Garcia was heavily influenced by c&w/ol' timey/ bluegrass/americana music in general. In many cases, I definitely hear a pedal steel-type sound in a lot of Jerry's solos. Which makes it no wonder that he was such a beast on the pedal steel. imo, that's one of the main reasons that many always tried to knock Jerry for playing too slow. I never really felt that he played too slow, it just had that smooth, open, spacey pedal steel sound to is. Fills the room, fills the speakers, fills your soul. I guess that's why if I hear a smoking gospel group, the pedal steel always gives me goose bumps. There's just something spiritual about the flow of that sound.

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My personal feeling, and there are many on here who can give more specific details, is that Garcia was heavily influenced by c&w/ol' timey/ bluegrass/americana music in general. In many cases, I definitely hear a pedal steel-type sound in a lot of Jerry's solos. Which makes it no wonder that he was such a beast on the pedal steel. imo, that's one of the main reasons that many always tried to knock Jerry for playing too slow. I never really felt that he played too slow, it just had that smooth, open, spacey pedal steel sound to is. Fills the room, fills the speakers, fills your soul. I guess that's why if I hear a smoking gospel group, the pedal steel always gives me goose bumps. There's just something spiritual about the flow of that sound.

Teach your children well.

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