Good Lovin’ was a cover of the hit from The Loving Spoonful that the Dead played for much of their tenure as a live act. Depending on who was at the helm, as Jerry, Pigpen, and Bobby all took turns singing lead at various points, the song could be quite difference. I tend to think of Pigpen as the definitive voice on the song and the 1969-1972 versions are some of the best. Once Bobby brought the song back around 1976, the arrangement was a bit different and the feel was a bit more antiseptic than the older Pigpen versions.
Dick’s Picks, Vol. 8 is frequently listed as one of the “must have” Dick’s Picks and listening to this version of Good Lovin’ is a great indication of why.
Thoughts on this particular cover? This version? Others I should consider? The comments are your forum.
After a couple of verses we’re greeted with another percussion break. This goes on for a couple of minutes. The instrumental passage that succeeds sounds like a mix of calypso or some type of Caribbean music and It’s A Man’s World. Listen to the rhythm section here and just be amazed; I certainly am. Jerry whips things into a fury and Bobby plays some heavy chords. Phil’s bass sounds like it’s being played through an empty oil barrel, but it’s not necessarily bad. I think it just adds to the rawness of the recording. Right before minute 9 a new theme gets superimposed on top of the still-driving rhythm section. It sounds kind of familiar, but I can’t place it.
Finally, something that resembles Good Lovin’ starts to re-emerge around the 10 minute mark, but Jerry has more to say and launches into another solo and everyone seems more than willing to follow him. Phil throws out a descending bass line that leads to another theme change. Eventually it’s just Jerry playing with an occasional drum or bass accent. After several measure of this Jerry restates the main Good Lovin’ theme and the rest of the melody instruments play around with the figure for a while. The band finally launches back into Good Lovin’ proper and the crowd roars. Vocals are still iffy, but are more than made up for in energy. The cacophony of singing/howling, and instruments finally ceases as they bring their Good Lovin’ exercise to an end.