Believe It Or Not is a song that many might not be familiar with, and for good reason. In terms of released versions there is this one (from a limited edition, pricey box set), and a studio outtake from the So Many Roads box set. Luckily the latter is now available digitally, but the physical set has been out of print for a while.
Therefore, DFAY is pleased to bring this rarity to light for any who haven’t heard it. As far as live performances it only logged 7. Six of these were in 1988. Today’s rendition is the only time it was played in 1990 and was the last time the Dead ever brought the song to the stage.
It’s a really interesting Hunter/Garcia tune because it has this classic country vibe underlying the whole thing that doesn’t jump out at you, but it’s there. As a result it’s a very different tune from a lot of their other collaborations.
This is a song that I think would have been great in the post-drums Jerry ballad slot. The song bandied about the setlist in its brief tenure and never found a comfortable a home. Of course, the ossification of songs in a particular place in the setlist wasn’t necessarily a good thing, but if it cost a good song a spot in the repertoire it’s even worse. It’s hard to really know for sure. Perhaps the band just didn’t like playing it, but Believe It Or Not seems, to me, like a song that had lots of potential and got short shrift.