Friday, February 27, 2009

California Earthquake - Grateful Dead Song Review


I would've never heard California Earthquake if I didn't just seek it out to complete a song review of it (or I would've probably eventually heard it if one of the podcasts I listen to played it). I guess I should give a shoutout to DoctorSapperstein for posting it on youtube.

This song reminds me of a 2nd Set Jerry Garcia band ballad. It reminds me of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (the beginning especially) or That Lucky Old Sun. As a huge Jerry fan (and JGB too of course) I have to admit that I prefer this Grateful Dead version of California Earthquake over any version of those JGB songs I just mentioned.

Let me try to count the ways that I love this song. Jerry ballad, good old fashioned song (written by Rodney Crowell), it has a lot of lyrics about California, has religious overtones (mentioning the devil) and a rebeillious spirit to it:

We may fall off in the ocean Lord you'll never make us run
You're a partner of the devil Lord we ain't afraid of him
We'll build ourselves another town so you can tear it down again

This song was played twice in 1989. Once it closed the first set and once it opened. How great must that have been to be at either performance? It closed set I at the Spectrum in Philadelphia on Friday October 20th, 1989. It opened the first set at Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina on Monday October 23rd, 1989.

I'm getting a sense of California pride as I listen to this right now and also a bit of hope in contemplating how destroyed our state is economically at the moment. A great song!

California Earthquake Song Rating on a Scale of 1-10: 8.2

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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