Back-to-back Bobby songs and both from 1972. When I mapped out this month I decided that I wanted to go with songs that I really liked, regardless of when they occurred or if/when they were selected in earlier posts. When Sunshine Daydream came out David Lemieux argued that most of the songs from that show could serve as a reference version.
I won’t make so bold of a statement about this Jack Straw but it is very good.
The more I hear this song the more I love it. I love that Bobby took his penchant for Cowboy songs and created his own that stood tall among all of the others that he sang. Granted the chord progression for Jack Straw is a bit more complex than most of the “three chords and the truth” type of country/cowboy songs, but we’re talking about Bob Weir here so that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, right?
Jack Straw starts with a slight moan, almost like that Detroit Lightening headed to Santa Fe. Keith allows the notes to trickle out of his fingers. Phil keeps things pretty simple as he and Billy lay a solid foundation. Jerry and Bobby share the vocal duties as always, but when Jerry turns it over to Bob he immediately starts to go to work on his guitar. The dynamics and energy build after a brief instrumental section where Jerry leads the way with Keith close behind. Keith continues to add tasteful and beautiful fills in between sections of the song and at lyrical line breaks. Phil drops some quasi-bombs during the Tulsa verse, helping to quicken the pace. Jerry takes the lead again for a brief solo, and continues to maneuver through the changes during the Jack Straw from Wichita section. Keith is a constant presence here as well, and Jerry coaxes a few more moaning notes from his axe before the final line, almost mirroring the song’s opening.
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