Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Deal - Grateful Dead Song Review

Deal was a smoking first set closer (in the latter years of JGB and the Grateful Dead).  Every JGB show I saw closed the first set with this song and at least a couple of the Grateful Dead shows I saw did as well.

Deal has kind of an "old timey" honkey tonk feel to it. The song structure has 7th chords and diminished chords that you might find in classic show tunes but not very common in pop music these days. It is kind of tongue in cheek song lyrically.  The lyrics are about a wiley gambler who is giving some advice to the listener.  The character is reminiscent of the character in Loser.

The main takeaway about Deal is that it has smoking solos by Garcia that are supported by the surging energy of the supporting cast.  Jerry  played the song so many times and it is a simple progression so when I hear Jerry ripping through the 2nd or 3rd solo in Deal, words that come to mind are "workmanlike." It seems that this is Jerry "in the shop," and he is "doing the job." He always tried to play down his fame by referring to himself as "just a guitar player."

A Garcia 'Signature' Song?

Is it somewhat of a Garcia signature song? I'd say so - but only one of several signature songs (Scarlet Begonias, Bird Song, and Morning Dew are others that come to mind). Jerry was so consistent on Deal and the frequency it was played with the JGB makes me consider it a Garcia signature song.

Deal was the first track on Jerry's first solo album Garcia (released in 1972).  Other original songs on this album: Bird Song, Sugaree, Loser, The Wheel, and To Lay Me Down - so Garcia is a "must have" album.

Deal Song Rating on a Scale of 1-10: 9.0

Disclaimer: This is part of my blog that reviews all things Grateful Dead for fun. 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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