Day 128: Mind Left Body Jam, 10/19/73

Grateful Dead Dick's Picks 19 album cover artwork

I don’t really have a ton to say about this particular selection. I wanted an instrumental number to cleanse the palate from the previous week’s theme and the Mind Left Body Jam is always an enjoyable foray into the ether to my ears. There are only a few versions of this that have made it to release. Notably this version and the one on Dick’s Picks, Vol. 12, which is a must-have for many Deadheads.

This is it for today. Short and sweet. So enjoy the tunes and check back tomorrow for the start of another theme week!

Coming out of Dark Star it takes a minute or so until the familiar tones of the Mind Left Body jam emerge. Phil is out in front and acts as musical director here, or so it seems. Everyone follows his lead. Jerry weaves intricate runs until the pace quickens. Keith pushes the boundaries a bit with the electric piano and Bobby’s chords become clearer and more defined. Jerry ventures out with some arpeggios, or perhaps there’s a bit of fingerpicking in there. No one stays in place for too long and this quickly dissolves into a spacey exploration of sound. Are those some proto-Slipknot! runs I hear? Quite possibly. The space journey continues until the band finally changes course for Morning Dew.

Complete Setlist 10/19/73

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  1. I’ve mentioned more times than necessary that this is my favorite single show release (sorry to be repetitive) and the Mind Left Body Jam is a big factor in that. In fact a lot of my favorite shows feature this jam. I think Phil once dismissed it as “just four chords” or something like that but it’s a lot of fun to listen to IMO.

    I thought something was a little funny when you wrote that only a few versions have made it to official release, Lunchbox, so I thumbed through my collection a little bit. It seems to me that relative to the number of times it was played, it’s been released fairly often: Dick’s Picks 12, 14 (a big favorite, but better on tape to have the full show), 17, 19, Dozin’ at the Knick, the Winterland box, Dave’s Picks 2, and, if I’m not mistaken, the Grateful Dead Movie soundtrack (which I don’t own).
    It also appears briefly coming out of Space on Dick’s Picks 17 but I guess they didn’t stick with it long enough for it to “count.”
    I remember when I got a good sounding tape of that show, 9-25-91; a good friend was visiting who liked and appreciated the Dead but was certainly not someone who recognized all the songs or the different eras etc. etc. We were visiting and I had this new tape playing and I guess I got a little excited when this jam emerged (albeit briefly) from Space. My wife had left the room and when she returned my friend explained that, “Mike’s getting a woody over some instrumental.” He was pretty amused about how thrilled I was to hear one or two minutes of a jam that didn’t even merit a title on the cassette case (and later the CD case). At the time, though, I didn’t realize this was something that was still being played. I can’t remember if I had heard the version from the Knick in ’90 at that time yet or not.

    • Fair play to you Mike. I just searched for “mind left body” in my collection and got 3 results – this one, DaP2, and GD Movie. Didn’t think to go with the thinly veiled variances, like “Mud Love Buddy” which are actually the same thing, which returns DP12 and Dozin’. Just now double checked DP14 and both Winterland boxes and couldn’t find what you’re referring to, at least based on song titles. Not to say they’re not there, just that they didn’t turn up in my search!

      I’m sure my wife would find a comment like the one your friend made pretty humorous. I did.

  2. Lunchbox, I know you have your hands full these day with the little ones but you might eventually have some fun seeking out these other MLBJs. After reading your response I looked at my CDs and was surprised that MLBJ wasn’t listed on 12-2-73, I guess I was remembering the tape cover from long ago. As for 11-11-73, all I can say is holy shit what a great show, it moves up the list of favorites every time I listen to it.
    I decided to google Mind Left Body Jam and found a blog about it, very well done. So I’ve been staying up way too late tonight listening to MLBJs I’ve somehow missed. Dicks Picks 36 features an early version at the end of Dark Star. How did I miss this? I was on a bit of a ’72 kick recently (thanks to you, Lunchbox) and listened to this show but didn’t quite catch this. Also, there’s an embryonic version at the end of the Dark Star from 4-8-72. I’ve listened to this show a couple times recently, inspired by your Looks Like Rain post, and I can’t believe I didn’t catch the MLBJ. It’s certainly less pronounce than the 73/74 versions but still…
    Anyway, your blog is just great and this is the kind of thing that really makes it worth while. I enjoy the songs like Esau and Loose Lucy but once in awhile Deadforayear gets me to delve into something really special and this is the best example of that.

  3. Here, Garcia has switched to a slide/wah tone (but only for a moment) and the band gathers together on the progression that some say was inspired by a song on a Paul Kantner/Grace Slick album. In any case, this thing is melodic and pretty, and is a welcome counterpoint to the fun but creepy “Dark Star” that preceded it. The boys seem pretty determined to explore every corner of the possibilities contained here, and after cycling through the progression a few yummy times they settle into a sparse space jam at around 6:00. Garcia wastes no time getting his freak on, as he cranks up a loud, scary wank that ends in a primo spaceout. Where does the time go? Before we know it, this treat has melted in our mouths, and some opening strums form a welcome intro to Morning Dew.

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