JamBase continues a celebration of the “Days Between” Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia‘s birthday and the day he died with a special edition of Sunday Cinema. This week’s column features video of five versions of “Ripple” performed by Jerry and various musicians between 1980 and 1991. Included within is a solo rendition as well as takes with the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir, David Grisman and John Kahn.
Robert Hunter wrote the words to “Ripple” during a particularly fruitful day of songwriting in London that also yielded “Brokedown Palace” and “To Lay Me Down.” Garcia set “Ripple” to music while the train shepherding musicians across Canada as part of the legendary Festival Express tour was stopped. The Grateful Dead recorded the song for their second of two 1970 studio albums, American Beauty. “The Story Of Ripple” can be viewed below:
Watch a collection of videos featuring Jerry Garcia performing “Ripple” live with five different projects:
The Grateful Dead – October 31, 1980
The Grateful Dead debuted “Ripple” live on August 18, 1970 and performed the song a number of times through April of 1971. “Ripple” was then shelved until a series of Fall 1980 concerts at The Warfield in San Francisco and Radio City Music Hall in New York City that each started with an acoustic set. The version found here was played at Radio City on Halloween 1980.
Jerry Garcia & Bob Weir – December 4, 1988
Jerry Garcia & Bob Weir were among the performers at the 2nd Bridge School Benefit organized by Neil & Peggy Young, which was held at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland on December 4, 1988. Bassist Rob Wasserman augmented Jerry and Bobby for a four-song set that saw Neil join in for the “Wang Dang Doodle” opener and ended with the “Ripple” featured above.
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman – December 7, 1991
Mandolinist David Grisman contributed to the original version of “Ripple” recorded by The Grateful Dead for their 1970 studio album American Beauty. Grisman and Garcia, who first met in 1964, went on to perform together in bluegrass supergroup Old & In The Way in 1973 and 1974 and then reunited in 1990 for a series of both live and studio collaborations that continued through Jerry’s death in 1995. The pair played a handful of shows together backed by Jim Kerwin on bass and Joe Craven on violin and percussion for which “Ripple” was a staple of the repertoire. Garcia & Grisman’s version of “Ripple” from December 7, 1991 at The Warfield in San Francisco can be seen above.
Jerry Garcia & John Kahn – November 14, 1986
Bassist John Kahn was Jerry Garcia’s principal collaborator outside of the Grateful Dead. Kahn was a member of Old & In The Way and was part of the classic Jerry Garcia Band lineup. Additionally, the bassist was featured as part of Jerry’s bands with Howard Wales, Merl Saunders and others. Jerry Garcia and John Kahn also played over 60 shows together as an acoustic duo as per JerryGarcia.com. The take on “Ripple” above was filmed at a Garcia/Kahn concert held at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael, California on November 14, 1986.
Jerry Garcia (Solo) – April 10, 1982
April 10, 1982 was a special day in Jerry Garcia’s history as it marks the only time he performed solo. Garcia played both early and late shows at The Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey. “Feeling uncomfortable alone on stage, he made sure that John Kahn joined him for his next scheduled show. He never played alone on stage again,” notes JerryGarcia.com. See Jerry perform “Ripple” solo at The Capitol Theatre on April 10, 1982 in the video above.