by Robert Wilkinson
Continuing our birthday tributes for Libra musicians, today we celebrate one great song and one great band!
Dick Holler, songwriter and pianist, (October 16, 1934) is best known for writing “Abraham, Martin, and John,” and is a seminal figure in American music.
When younger, he was in a band with Jimmy Clanton called “The Rockets,” which at times included Dr. John, Johnny Rivers, and the writers of “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love” among others. In an interesting twist of fate, Dick re-wrote one of his songs which became “Snoopy Vs. the Red Baron,” the No. 2 hit performed by the Royal Guardsmen.
So today we have “Abraham, Martin, and John,” the only song in history to make the Billboard Top 40 five times with five different artists, and the uniquely catchy in a bubblegum sort of way, “Snoopy Vs the Red Baron.”
From 1968, the original live performance by Dion Dimucci of the song the world heard first on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, the hauntingly beautiful “Abraham Martin and John”
Here’s a live performance by Dion and Aaron Neville in Nashville, 1993 doing “Abraham Martin and John”
Here’s Emmylou Harris with the Nash Ramblers in 1992 doing “Abraham Martin and John”
Here’s Smokey Robinson in a live performance at the February 2010 White House Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement in an awesome version of “Abraham Martin and John”
Said to be from a French movie soundtrack, here’s Marvin Gaye’s very rare studio version of “Abraham Martin and John”
And we’ll close this set with Ray Charles’ 1972 studio version from "A Message from the People" of “Abraham Martin and John”
From the sublime to the ridiculous! I’ll leave it at that, along with apologizing for whiplash programming!
Here are the Royal Guardsmen in a strange live performance of “Snoopy Vs The Red Baron”
Now for the great Bob Weir (October 16, 1947). He’s an incredible singer, songwriter, and guitarist, most recognized as a founding member of the Grateful Dead. When he and Dead Shaman Jerry Garcia met as teenagers in Palo Alto, the sound of music began to change for many millions in our world.
I was somewhat of a Deadhead back beginning in the early 70s, not as rabid as some but definitely more than most, and even got to hang backstage and with the band in their trailer in the early 80s. I saw them a lot of times, and there were shows where they played for 4 hours and then another hour after the hall cut the electricity and turned on the lights! Even got thrown out of one show in 1973 because I wouldn't stop dancing, and afterwards I found out thousands more began to dance when they saw me thrown out and it shut the show down! Everyone adjourned to the Armadillo World Headquarters and had an all night party!
Rather than try to describe the joy of the music of the Grateful Dead, I’ll just post some great live concerts I found on the web. They really did make some very happy music that sets feet to dancing!! I found enough concerts between 1966 and 1994 that you should have a greatful time enjoying how the set list evolved over the years.
We’ll begin with a great live audio-only performance by the Dead at the Fillmore in July 1966 of “Cream Puff War”
Here’s a live audio-only recording set to stills made at the Fillmore in San Francisco in November 1966! 1 hour 19 minutes of the early Grateful Dead! The Grateful Dead at the Fillmore 1966.
Here's a very early live performance from the Fillmore East in February 1970, when PigPen was still singing! Though the video quality isn't great, it's still 56 minutes of pure gold, including "Dark Star." The Grateful Dead Live at the Fillmore East 1970
From a few months later in May 1970, also at the Fillmore East, a full 4 hour + audio-only performance! the Grateful Dead Live at the Fillmore East 1970
Here’s a live recording from the KQED studios in San Francisco in August 1970, also with PigPen singing! Here’s 29 very psychedelic minutes of the early Grateful Dead!
From France in June 1971, 59 minutes of an early set list of the Grateful Dead!
From Denmark in April 1972, 1 hours and 18 minutes of the Grateful Dead!
From Winterland in San Francisco 1974, 1 hour 38 minutes of the Grateful Dead!
From the Orpheum Theater in San Francisco 1976, 1 hour of the Grateful Dead!
Also from Winterland on New Years’ Eve 1977, 2 hours 34 minutes of the Grateful Dead!
From Oakland in 1979, 3 hours and 19 minutes of the Grateful Dead!
Here’s one I was at! From Manor Downs in Austin in September 1983, 2 hours and 32 minutes of the Grateful Dead!
From Orchard Park, New York in July 1986, 57 minutes of the Grateful Dead!
From Shoreland Ampitheater in August 1989, 3 hours and 18 minutes of the Grateful Dead!
From UNLV in April 1991, 2 hours and 56 minutes of the Grateful Dead!
From Madison Square Garden in October 1994, 2 hours and 38 minutes of the Grateful Dead!
From the sublime to the ridiculous, from Dion to the Dead, it’s time for reflection, and time to dance! Happy, Merry, and thanks for the tunes!!
© Copyright 2013 Robert Wilkinson