Friday, February 8, 2013

Here Comes Sunshine - Grateful Dead Song Review

Another truly original gem from Hunter/Garcia via the Wake of the Flood album is Here Comes Sunshine.

As it appears on the studio album it has a very mellow (almost sedated) gait and laid back vocal delivery.  You can almost hear it as a continuation of the spirit of psychedelic epics like Cosmic Charlie and China Cat Sunflower.  By the mid 1970s, The Grateful Dead were still very psychedelic but in such a  tasteful, understated, and harmonious way (see Eyes of the World and Crazy Fingers).

The lyrics are a bit abstract and of course start of with the line that became the namesake for the album Wake of the Flood.  According to the entry for this song on The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics site, the song was accompanied by this note from Robert Hunter in the lyric book:

"Remembering the great Vanport, Washington flood of 1949, living in other people's homes, a family abandoned by father; second grade"

As played live, the song definitely brought a lot more energy and when Jerry would sing "keep the mother rolling," truly the band would be thundering along.

Vince Welnick Revives Here Comes Sunshine

Here comes Sunshine was "retired" in 1973 or so it would seem.  After a 19 year hiatus the Grateful Dead busted it out to open the show at Compton Terrace on December 6th, 1992.  If you listen to the soundboard you can hear the crowds reaction.  It sounded like they're about to start Help on the Way when Jerry warmed this one up to start off concerts in the 1990s.

Vince Welnick is credited for the return of Here Comes Sunshine including the (almost) a capella arrangement that started it.  Vince's keyboard sound reminds me of The Disney Magic Lights parade and some would definitely characterize it as cheesy.  Personally I love the sound he uses and I love 1990s versions the best (although 1970s versions are fantastic).   I might be biased because I have a soft spot for Vince (and listen to 1990s shows mainly).  Also, I heard this song at my first show on May 15th, 1993 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.  It still seems crazy to me that I can only hear an audience recording of this show (though I'm very grateful to have at least that).  This is why I created an open letter for the release of all recordings of The Grateful Dead 1990s shows. Release all those soundboards and videos, Grateful Dead!!

It is a bit of a surprise to realize that Brent never played this one. His voice would've made it great. It's also a surprise that Wake of the Flood wasn't released on CD until 1995. Heck I remember my first CDs in 1985, so it comes as a surprise this wasn't available digitally until 1995 - perhaps a complication with the fact that it was originally released on Round/Grateful Dead Records?

Here Comes Sunshine Song Rating on a Scale of 1-10: 9.5

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.

Note: comments are encouraged and appreciated but it takes a while for them to show up in the blog entry (due to a Disqus plugin issue). Enter them below!

No comments: