Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Big River - Grateful Dead Song Review

Big River

This is a rough patch of song reviews because there seems to be a lot of 1st set “blues/rockers” in this ‘B’s’ and that’s not my cup of tea.

I’m beginning to sound like a broken record about this concept but Big River falls into that category (yet again) of songs that rock live – and serve their purpose as a rockin’ tune to get the crowd moving but are somewhat mundane to listen to on tape after all these years.

Don’t get me wrong, Big River has a lot going for it. It is a great composition by (I think Johnny Cash?) and I love the song structure - which is a refreshing departure from the traditional I-IV-V structure. Also, I love Dead songs that have the bouncy I-IV bass progression (like Cumberland Blues, Maggie’s Farm, etc). Another thing that Big River always delivers is that Jerry rips during this song and it seems almost as if he doesn’t even need to try and think about it because it is just always so consistent. The Dead played this song throughout their entire twenty odd years listed in Deadbase X so Jerry must’ve known how to play this progression like the back of his hand.

So Big River is actually a pretty good 1st set rocker after all and I will give it a much higher song score than it’s counterparts like Me and My Uncle and New Minglewood Blues.

Big River Song Rating on a Scale of 1-10: 5.1

Disclaimer: This is part of my review of every Grateful Dead song from A-Z. Music is a beautiful thing because it is so personal and subjective, so keep in mind that this is one man's opinion (and be sure to read my blog manifesto to understand a little more about where I'm coming from).

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