Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks) - Grateful Dead Song Review

I love the Dead jamming "acid rock" style in the 1960's and this is a prototypical 1960s jam song. It really seems to have no main structure other than heavy drums and guitar improvistation and vocal passage that Pigpen sings about the gypsy woman and the call and response

all you need
all you need
all you need

The rest of the song seems to be totally improvisational and varies depending on which version you hear. Jerry always plays great solos on Caution and it seems his energy would drive the song to new heights while at other times the drums would be taking over.

To my knowledge Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks) was always played after Alligator, and as I
wrote in my review of the song Alligator, I remember many of my Deadhead friends refer to the combination of Alligator and Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks) from Anthem of the Sun as "Alligator Caution" (much like "Scarlet Fire" or "Eyes Estimated").

The way that Caution would develop out of Alligator was not necessarily built around chord changes but always incorporated a surge of energy and dynamics. The tempo would increase and free form jamming would ensue. This is a great example of a 60s rock band deviating from the traditional song composition structure and creating a vehicle for jamming and whipping the audience into a frenzy.

Caution Song Rating on a Scale of 1-10: 8.5

: This is part of my review of every Grateful Dead song from A-Z. 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).


Unknown said...

To answer your question, there were a few Cautions that didn't come out of Alligator. The earliest performances of it weren't necessarily tied to anything (See on the "Birth of the Dead" Compilation).

It was quite frequently paired with other songs actually. A few times it came out of The Eleven I think, One of the shows in the Fillmore West 1969 comp has it come out of Death Don't Have No Mercy, and On 1972/04/14 (one of my favourite shows...) it even comes out of Good Lovin'!

Weird version that one is. But that was during the Europe '72 tour. The song took on a completely different feel with Keith there and Pigpen in such poor health. Shame.

GDmike said...

NICE Information Rob... thanks for this. Also, sorry for the late reply, I was 'locked out' of the blog for close to 3 years due to some gmail/google issues (due to my user error!)