Day 194: Cold Jordan, 5/2/70

Grateful Dead Dick's Picks 8 album cover artwork

Writing this site provided an opportunity to re-connect with a buddy from undergrad who is also into the Dead. He sent me a list of stuff to consider and I’ve taken him up on a number of his suggestions. One that I haven’t gotten to until now is Cold Jordan.

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From the famed 1970 dates sharing a bill with the New Riders of the Purple Sage, this track appeared on Dick’s Picks, vol. 8, a quintessential Grateful Dead release for sure. A lot of these acoustic numbers are pretty straightforward interpretations, but that’s one of the things I like about them. The arrangements provide enough interest to captivate me for the shorter song duration. Here it’s cool to note the added instrumentation and complementary vocals. This is another bluegrass/gospel hybrid, an amalgamation that I find consistently interesting and enjoyable. The only thing that might have made this better is if Jerry had picked up a banjo! Ah… to dream…

Jerry and Bobby duet on this little ditty. They’re joined by some of the New Riders who shared the bill. To be honest, I don’t know who was doing what here from the New Riders, but I want to say David Nelson might be involved, and maybe Marmaduke? Clearly there’s a mandolin here, which adds a ton of character and creates that bluegrass/gospel vibe that a lot of their acoustic set songs had around this time. It’s a short song so there’s not a whole lot to say. It’s well played and a real piece of ear candy though!

Complete Setlist 5/2/70

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  1. The boys invite David Nelson and John Dawson to the stage to add mandolin and vocals to this here gospel number. Good idea. There is not nearly enough of this kind of stuff out there, and you know it’s in the vaults. A totally unique little moment in officially-released Grateful Dead history, right here. Oh, and they play this pretty much perfectly. I can’t get enough of it.

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