Day 321: Row Jimmy, 10/9/89

Formerly The Warlocks

In my Day 102 Row Jimmy selection I mentioned the reggae version by Judy Mowatt and then went ahead and didn’t select it during my week of covers over Halloween week. Go figure. (I did feature an amazing reggae cover of If I Had The World To Give from the same collection though!)

But on the topic of the “reggae” vibe in latter day versions of Row Jimmy it seemed appropriate to visit the Dead’s approach. I settled on this version from the Formerly the Warlocks box set because it’s great audio quality and because it’s NOT from the Spring 1990 sets. There is so much good material on those it’s difficult to not simply pluck a track from there every other day (the same is true for Europe 72, but there’s a bit more variety from Spring 1990 I think). For the record, there were two versions of Row Jimmy during the Spring 1990 tour.

It’s unfair to call Row Jimmy a mid-tempo rocker. Its certainly on the slow side of mid-tempo, but are there any fast versions out there? Perhaps from the cocaine period? Or has anyone covered Row Jimmy with some extra gusto? The most common cover I hear is the one by The Decemberists and it’s pretty true to the original. If you know of a faster, rocking version let me know!

For a song that could slug along in a dirge-like fashion this take is definitely secure in the mid-tempo region. The drums really push the pace here and it’s a welcome endeavor. Jerry does that little pull-off roll technique entering the instrumental section after the second verse and man that kind of thing just kills me. A signature Garcia move to be sure, and one that is very evocative for me. The following instrumental section isn’t dominated by lead guitar though. There is a lot of good listening going on and sharing of the wealth. Jerry switches on some MIDI and experiments with some woodwind type sounds for a while before hitting up the next verse. Brent has adopted a synth wash effect that I could do without though. Not all MIDI was created equal as far as I’m concerned. The ending jam is a lot of fun, and I love the reggae-ish arpeggio-based riff that is played there. (Honestly, I don’t know if it’s Jerry or Bob.) It’s very similar, to my ears, to Paul Simon’s “Mother and Child Reunion”. Regardless, the band definitely goes out on a high note.

Complete Setlist 10/9/89

Previous Row Jimmy DFAY Selections

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