Friday, February 24, 2012

Deep Elem Blues - Grateful Dead Song Review

Oh sweet mama, your daddy's got them Deep Elem Blues

Deep Elem Blues is a upbeat bluesy acoustic song that always reminds me of Reckoning or Garcia/Kahn acoustic shows. 

The song is not an original Grateful Dead tune but I am not sure who the credit for the tune goes to.  It is about the red light district around Elm Street in Dallas.  The message is about the shady areas and the activity that the narrator sings to the listener.  Each verse features a little twist and the sense of humor definitely has the Grateful Dead spirit of celebrating some of the more tragic parts of life:

Once I had a girlfriend, she meant the world to me
She went down to Deep Elem, now she ain't what she used to be   

It's a simple song, and a pretty catchy one.  I don't have much to say about the song except to point out that Reckoning is definitely not my favorite Grateful Dead album (or period). A lot of the "traditional standards" the Dead covered are completely forgettable - like Monkey & the Engineer and Tom Dooley (of course that's just my opinion).   Deep Elem Blues is one of the better traditional standards that came out of this period (although the GD played it going back to 1966).

I really enjoy hearing it during Garcia acoustic shows (with John Kahn on bass). A fine example of this is a youtube I've embedded below in which Deep Elem Blues is the set opener.

Deep Elem Blues Song Rating on a Scale of 1-10: 7.0

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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