Day 99: Deal, 10/16/89

Nightfall Of Diamonds

Deal originally showed up on Jerry’s first solo album, Garcia.

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The song had a few subtle changes over the years and by the late 80s the big jam at the end was a real highlight. One of my favorite developments in Deal was when Phil would just vamp on A and really push the jam to new heights. I tried to find an example of this but couldn’t find one in my initial search. I know they’re out there though and I’ll try to find one before this project ends. In the meantime, this is a very solid rendering of Deal complete with some tasty B3.

If anyone knows of a version with the Phil vamping I certainly wouldn’t mind some pointers in the right direction!

Right off the bat Brent is playing B3. No one should be displeased with this development. The vocals here are well matched and sound good. If anything Jerry sounds like he’s holding back a bit. His first instrumental turn is basically an ad lib around the main melody. Brent provides some excellent organ dynamism underneath, and Bobby breaks up things nicely with his cutting edge rhythm playing. Phil is really bouncing along here – the guy is swinging like Jack Johnson here… heavy.

With the bulk of the singing out of the way it’s time to jam. Jerry stomps on a distortion pedal and is off to the races. No longer working off the melody he’s bound for places unknown. Somehow the effect that Bobby is using complements Brent’s B3 tone very well without clashing with it, as they’re similar timbres. Jerry continues to try out different effects as he chases his muse. Before long we’re awash in a wave of guitar splendor and B3 goodness. How anyone can dislike this era is beyond me, but to each their own. The boys bring it back down again for a traipse around the vocal outro. After a couple of run-throughs the song, and set end with a final, customary Deal push. Time to fold the ole cards. It’s set break time.

Complete Setlist 10/16/89

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  1. We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming. By that I mean that the MIDI has been banished for this song and rock abounds. Garcia sings it well enough and a chirpy first solo is not great, but I am thankful to hear it nonetheless. Before you know it we are repeating that first verse, hearing Brent provide his big organ accent, and repeating the not-letting of the deal going down. The final solo is big and beautiful. It reaches and reaches and arrives at some intense rock-n-roll goodness. Notice how the mix shifts somewhere in the middle of this (perhaps to a cassette board tape?) then back to full-on multitrack glory. Jesus, Jerry really wrings the life out of this one. I’m not sure I have ever heard him so inspired in this part of the song. The final, repeat chorus is concise and one of my favorite-ever versions of this song wraps. Who coulda thunk I’d be saying that about one from 1989?

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