Day 37: Ramble On Rose, 11/11/73

Grateful Dead Winterland 1973: The Complete Recordings

Ramble On Rose is one of those songs just dripping in Robert Hunter’s imaginative imagery. Who are these characters? How do we know Otto is crazy? Is this a well deserved nickname? If so, just how crazy is he?

Regardless I always find this to be a really fun song to listen to as well as to play. It’s a Dead song that I can usually work my way through on the guitar, even though I’m just a strum bum on that particular instrument. Of course, these days most of my playing is limited to the occasional bath time serenade, although I typically get requests for the same song over and over again from my two year old. Such is life. I figure that if I keep playing good music in the car and around the house he’ll come to appreciate it. But if he doesn’t take to it I have another kid to try to brainwash groom in a couple years time. I just realized that I’m rambling a bit here… excuse the pun, as it wasn’t intended. I will stop now and leave you to the music. Enjoy!

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The intro riff is drawn out here as the band runs through it several times before Jerry starts singing. Phil and Bobby immediately stand out to my ear. Bobby fills in all the small spaces just perfectly, while Phil lets the groove breathe a bit. No one is pushing for the spotlight and the ensemble playing here is spot on.

Jerry’s solo starts with the melody line, but takes a few excursions off the beaten path before coming back for the Crazy Otto verse. I think there’s a missed chord at the end of one of the lines, but the machine keeps plugging along. Keith adds some tasty flourishes during the chorus on his grand piano.

What’s that I hear? A Phil bomb? Yes, please, and thank you. Another helping? Don’t mind if I do.

One more run through the chorus and that is that. Fun, well-played version of this bouncy tune.

Complete Setlist 11/11/73

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  1. This selection is not a re-run from the previous two nights. It rips into existence fully formed, no warm-up required. The singing is big and real. The bridge is strident but unfettered by interlopers. The solo is full of juice. What more can you ask for? Bob and Keith shoot cool fills into all the gaps. The second bridge one-ups the first by featuring amazing participation by both Phil and Bill. This sets up a gigantic last verse that gives chills. Super-powered, this version is one more reason to dig this release.

  2. Lunchbox,
    Love this collection as 73 always seems to remind me why I love the Dead. It’s hard to define what year any follower loves best, as there is simply so many detours that catch your interest toward another year. That being said 73 never disappoints or lacks surprises that always get my attention. 72 was such a great year and the Europe tour beyond comprehension for it’s clarity, direction, and median point of what created the dead and where they would evolve for the rest of their run.
    73 though, in my mind, simply had an almost youthful and experimental awareness of what the band was capable of. It is no surprise that the bulk of the songs that would make up their shows for the next 22 years came from this period. Love this box set and despite the sound being less than Stella, a great release for any true lover of the band. Not sure DL, after 77 box and 77 Spring, along with this box and his most recent trips into the early and mid seventies can ever release a group of shows that approach this level of greatness. There are still opportunities to purchase these releases, but sadly they might be gone sooner than later.

  3. Funny, I just listened to the Dark Star show from this box tonight and was blown away. I mentioned on fairly recently that this is my favorite CD purchase ever but hadn’t heard it in awhile. After digging into some early to mid 80s lately, which I like, this box just reinforces my feeling that 72-74 is the VERY best of the Grateful Dead and for me, 1973 is the apex.
    Lunchbox, my son was very into the Dead when he was a toddler, but now, as a high school freshman, he’d rather listen to Eminem or Drake. He still recognizes Dead songs and appreciates them–but very few teenagers want to be like their old man.

    • This is one of those sets that I could go back to again and again. There’s so much choice stuff on it. I was surprised over the weekend when I saw someone criticize the sound quality of this release over at Wait, let me revise that – it’s never a surprise when someone criticizes the sound quality of a release at Regardless, I think this one sounds amazing.

      Mike – A Dad can hope, right? Right now my 2yo loves Shrek and unfortunately the band Smash Mouth was popular when it came out and provide a few songs for the soundtrack. At breakfast yesterday he wanted to “hear Shrek” so I put on The Monkees greatest hits (they use I’m A Believer in the movie) and he was singing along, or at least trying. Even the little victories are sweet. (And yes, The Monkees are awesome!)

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