Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's All Over Now Baby Blue - Grateful Dead Song Review

You may be surprised to know that (It's All Over Now) Baby Blue was first played in the earliest days of the Dead and of course throughout the 80's and 90's.  There was a long stretch from 1974 through 1981 where the band didn't play the song.

This song is a good example of Jerry and the Dead showing their love and respect for Bob Dylan's songwriting.  It's also a good example of the band putting a song in the encore spot that lyrically works well for the end of a show (ie Brokedown Palace: "Gonna leave this ...." or And We Bid you Goodnight.  This type of detail is what made Grateful Dead shows such a nice encapsulated "trip."

The song's lyrics are a somewhat bitter and cruel "telling off" of a lover (or some other close relation).  This kind of theme is not unlike other Dylan songs like It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry.  The song brings an air of "f--k you" attitude to it that I think Jerry might've connected with because of the difficult nature of his relationships and his need to frequently pick up and start fresh (with wives, family, etc).

Jerry does some pretty powerful singing during Baby Blue, as you can hear in the embed below (from 10/19/1990 in Berlin Germany).  There's one line in each verse that requires a really powerful delivery (strike another match, start anew) and the key is just perfect for Jerry's range.

The Rolling Stones also have a pretty well known version of Baby Blue.  It is from their version that the famous sample in Beck's Jackass was taken.

I'm a little less enamored with Baby Blue than most Deadheads.  I never got to see it live (although I could hear it one time in the parking lot at Shoreline), and the song has kind of a sour overtone due to Dylan's cruel lyrics.

The rest of the band really doesn't bring much flavor to this song, it's played really "straight" almost like karaoke.  Unfortunately, Bruce Hornsby is playing accordion on the embed below.  I really like what Hornsby brought to the table except that damn accordion.

Baby Blue seems like it would've fit in a little better with the JGB repertoire than the Dead's.

It's All Over Now Baby Blue Song Rating on a Scale of 1-10: 8.1

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(read my blog manifesto to understand my Grateful Dead background a little more).

Thanks Schnukleford for posting this on Youtube.

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