Jesse Jarnow

“down home (rehearsal version)” – jerry garcia

“Down Home (rehearsal)” – Jerry Garcia (File expires on November 24th.)
outtake from Cats Under the Stars (1978)
available from Rhino (buy)

If you’ve ever dreamed of hearing Jerry Garcia’s (1) voice layered over itself in wordless harmony — ala the Beach Boys on “Our Prayer,” the invocation to Brian Wilson’s SMiLE — then the rehearsal take of “Down Home” is for you. And if you haven’t dreamed of that, well, too bad. Though the arrangement is basically the same, the official version released on Cats Under the Stars, sung primarily by then-Dead vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux — is something quite different. John Kahn’s bass guides sparsely but, here, it’s all Garcia, basically a capella, all northern California sweetness and heartache.

(1) Should you be a hater, at this point, I would like to both quote from and direct you towards a fine article by my friend Bill, published on the uber-heady BoomSalon:

“…a decade [after Garcia's death], we Deadheads – yes, I now wear that label proudly, so bite me – still all too often keep ourselves closeted, having internalized the embarrassment we’re still told we should feel, its patent absurdity notwithstanding.

“Well, fuck that. Here’s how it is: The Grateful Dead are the hippest goddamn rock band there ever was, and if you don’t get it, YOU’RE the one who’s not cool. That is no longer my – our – problem. I am embarking on a campaign, starting now, to see to it that those brilliant bastards finally get the respect they deserve, and I shall beat it out of you, o reader, with every rhetorical bludgeon I possess should you attempt to resist me.”

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