Friday, April 24, 2009

All Along the Watchtower - Grateful Dead Song Review

I have to retroactively go back and add this one to the "A's" (it got skipped because it is listed as "Watchtower" in Deadbase which is the book I refer to for my list of all GD songs).

All Along the Watchtower was a smokin' 2nd set tune that seems like it was usually played when the band was having a good show. Watchtower would usually come out of drums or a late 2nd set post drums tune and really take the show to the next level.

Bobby sings Watchtower well, and Jerry always ripped on this song. I think its simple structure made it very easy for Jerry to sit back in A minor and play really fast. The song has some great lines that gave the crowd a chance to really cheer:

Two riders were approaching
And the wind, began to howl!

The song itself has a great legacy being a Bob Dylan tune from John Wesley Harding that Jimi Hendrix covered almost simultaneously on his Electric Ladyland album in 1968. Bob Dylan prefers the Jimi Hendrix arrangement (as do most people) and has stated that he feels like he is playing a tribute to Jimi everytime he performs the song.

The Grateful Dead used the song to great effect in elevating the energy of the 2nd set. I can't say they really put too much of their own "stamp" on the song but it is a great rock song and was very consisent in its delivery. Watchtower never disappoints when it I hear it on a tape.

All Along the Watchtower
Song Rating on a Scale of 1-10: 8.3

: 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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