Day 155: Ramble On Rose, 11/15/71

Grateful Dead Road Trips 3.2 album cover artwork

Sometimes you just want to listen to an old favorite for no reason other than it’s a favorite. So today we’ve got Ramble On Rose on the docket. One of my favorite tunes from one of my favorite years. A match made in heaven!

Actually, this entire release is quite good and I highly recommend it. As this project has evolved over the past few months it’s becoming clearer to me that 1971 is probably my favorite single year for the Grateful Dead. Honestly, I would never have guessed that back in February. My ‘druthers tend to lean to the 72-74, 77, and 89-90 eras first and foremost, with ’69 in the mix as well. But I find that 1971, for me, combines some of the best of the late 60s rawness with the emerging songcraft of the early 70s. It’s still coming together in a lot of places, but by this point in the year they’re really hitting their stride, and that’s with a brand new piano player to boot!

I remember being in a band practice at one point, although I don’t remember which band this was, but when Ramble On Rose was suggested someone said they didn’t like songs that started with I II chord progressions (the first two chords of Ramble On Rose are D and E). It amazed me that someone would let one interval ruin the entire song for them, but I guess it takes all kinds.

Thoughts on Ramble On Rose? 1971? Anything else? Let me know in the comments.

The intro seems a bit longer than usual for this version, as Keith has some time to quickly add some color. It moves along as a brisk clip. The band seems focuses and determined. Between verses Jerry dances around the melody and Keith follows suit. Nothing too fancy, but tasteful nonetheless. Phil and Keith both contribute some nice fills during the second verse too, so listen carefully for those. Ever wonder what Bobby is playing on this song? This is a great version to listen to as he is way up in the mix and can be heard very clearly, especially during the bridge. Jerry takes the melody for another stroll, and this time Phil stars as co-conspirator. Garcia has an extra edge to his singing here, gutting out some lines and smoothly delivering others. There are some interesting contrasts in that respect within this version of Ramble On Rose. All told this is a very solid rendering of the song.

Complete Setlist 11/15/71

Previous Ramble On Rose DFAY Selections

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  1. Here’s another one that would not reach retail ears for another year or so. Garcia strikes the riffs and Weir strums the chords. The others chime in perfectly. The tempo is too hot and I’m sure they deliberately put on the brakes in later outings, but it grooves mightily here despite the rush. Jerry barks the lyrics confidently. This second set is miles ahead of the first set already. The solo is pinched and beautiful. The next verse is on fire. Then hear Keith lead the way into and through the second bridge. It’s exquisite. The sound gets a bit over-modulated but it is a warm distortion that complements the intensity of the performance. Dig!

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