Thursday, June 13, 2013

Jack a Roe - Grateful Dead Song Review

This is a hot little ditty that was prevalent in the early part of the 1st set from the late 70s pretty regularly through the band's final tour. Jack a Roe never officially was released on a studio album but there is a studio "outtake" from the Go To Heaven sessions. That version is nice, but the live versions are where it's at.

Jerry must've really liked this one.  He played it a lot and also played it in the JGB acoustic band.  He pretty much consistently delivered great solos over this chord progression.

I would say that Jack a Roe is definitely "underrated." I don't think it will make anyone's top 10 list, but it was pretty a pretty smoking first set tune.

The song is credited to "traditional" so it probably goes way back and is an English war time tale of a girl who dresses up as a man to be with her lover who is enlisted in the Navy.  It's a stirring tale of love and risk with a happy ending.

Favorite Versions of Jack a Roe

Jack a Roe popped up on Reckoning as it's first "official" release, and that's a memorable version.  But truthfully, you can hear great versions quite often if you listen to bootlegs from almost any era starting in the late 1970s. In fact, it's so consistent that I have a hard time even thinking of a "standout" Jack a Roe but I'm sure most true old school head could rattle off a specific show with a killer version.  I can't say I've ever heard a version where the band really "stepped out" on the song, it was always played pretty straight.

The youtube I posted below was one of the first that I found and a pretty great version.  Jerry is playing The Wolf which is always nice to see. Thanks to splaif for posting this on youtube.

Jack a Roe Rating on a Scale of 1-10:  7.9

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).

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