Saturday, August 06, 2011

Rosy-Cheeked Shuffle

Even when the band stretches out and demonstrates its cohesiveness, you feel the ghost of Jerry Garcia and his rosy-cheeked shuffle.

So writes Sasha Frere-Jones in his New Yorker review of My Morning Jacket's latest album, Circuital. Jerry Garcia as Santa Claus? I kind of like the idea, as in this picture I just found on the web, but Jerry-bashing in order to praise MMJ's "cohesiveness" even when "stretching out" misses the cohesiveness of Jerry's own playing. And when Frere-Jones goes on to discuss MMJ's jam-band self-marketing in the next paragraph, he messes up the history entirely:

Something wonderfully odd has happened: though the punks famously want nothing to do with the system, it was the hippies—because of jam bands like Phish and the String Cheese Incident—who were the first to abandon the traditional music business, at least in part. They built enormous fan bases by touring endlessly. They earned reasonable salaries and were largely freed from worrying about how many records they sold or whether they were played on the radio.

As Phish and SCI would be the first to tell you, it was the Grateful Dead (with their rosy-cheeked shuffle) who first built their fan base by focusing on touring and thus freed themselves from record sales and radio airplay. If you're going to bash Jerry as a sweet old hippie, Mr. F-J, at least get your facts right!

And just to belie the image of Jerry as some sort of sweet musical Santa, here's Jerry and the Dead getting into a close encounter in 1978:

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