The Grateful Dead's Country/Western & Cowboy Songs

Article published at: Jan 17, 2024 Article author: Sam Phillips Article tag: bob weir
The Grateful Dead's Country/Western & Cowboy Songs
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My love for the Dead has never been a secret. Everyone I know gets tired of me talking about them constantly. The only solution is to convert more Deadheads until everyone wants to talk to me about them all the time. I figure the best way in for a lot of you is through their Country, Western and Cowboy music. After they got tired of the Hippy scene in the Haight they all moved out to ranches in NorCal and started riding horses and shooting guns. See the attached pictures for reference if you don't belive me.

Here's some top tier shit. 

Some of the sound quality on these is questionable but you'll get the point.

Me and My Uncle and Big River - Two birds with one stone , both sang by (Cowboy) Bob Weir. When they play them together that shit is lights out. Yes, its the Johnny Cash song Big River. (Here's a Big River into a Dark Star from the tour last summer...this was a very big me I was there)

Dark Hollow - Originally by Bill Browning the Dead played this shit as part of their acoustic sets for a long time and Bobby is still busting it out. He just played it with Sturgill at a festival down in Mexico

Friend of the Devil - I picked a Grisman and Garcia version. This song got played 1000 times a 1000 ways. This one is one of the best. Garcia played with David "Dawg" Grisman in a group called Old & in the Way, and on The Pizza Tapes with Tony Rice. If you dig bluegrass check that shit.

Mama Tried - Yes that one. This is from Woodstock. There's a ton a versions of this song but I like this one. They were getting electrocuted throughout it.

Katie Mae - Let's highlight Pigpen the O.G. leader of the band. A little more old school blues than country but still Americana. If you want to see/hear some wild shit check out early dead with Pig. Go listen to Turn On Your Lovelight...maybe this one if you got 40 minutes. 

Jack Straw - This is a cowboy song if I ever heard one.

Mexicali Blues - If you can't tell by now Bobby loves cowboy music. This was on his '72 "solo" album (backed by the rest of the dead...)

Big Railroad Blues - This song gets me fuckin going every time. This video is from my favorite era of the band, Europe '72. Song starts about 2:45 into the video.

You Ain't Woman Enough - This shit is controversial. People don't like Donna (singer) other people do (I do). This song is evidence they should have let her sing lead more. 

Bertha - Not exactly a cowboy song I just love to so much. I waited like 15 shows to see them open with it and on the last show I was at of the Dead and Co tour last summer they finally did. Here's them playing it in front of the Great Pyramids. 

Another '72 Show - This video is a gift. Set 1 of a show from Europe '72. If you're this far into this and got some more time. This is the band at their best.

There's others I left off, El Paso and You Win Again, etc. But, you get the picture.