The Dead and the 2 Charlies: Mister v Cosmic

Posted On: Saturday - June 3rd 2023 7:00PM MST
In Topics: 
  Music  The Dead  Books

I picked up a book* on the lyrics of Grateful Dead songs with annotations by one David Dodd. A large majority of the words were written by the great lyricist Robert Hunter, who never played with in the band onstage. (He died about 4 years back.) John Perry Barlow wrote lyrics for some of the other songs, as did various band members a few times here and there. Then, The Dead did a number of cover songs of various styles and a decent number of their songs are "traditional", as in some old-timey writers, either known or lost to history.

Other than as a compendium of the lyrics, this book is not that good. Mr. Dodd, goes on about some obscure origins of a phrase of 3 in a song but takes not even a guess at some of the meanings. In particular, I really wanted to read more about the brilliant lyrics of the long series of tales on the 2nd side of the 1977 album Terrapin Station. Mr. Dodd's annotation did not satisfy my curiousity.

However, all the lyrics are there (barring many cover songs, which is fair enough). I noted the 2 songs from a bit over half a century ago - yep, you read that right - with the name "Charlie" in the titles. They are very different.

Mr. Charlie, first performed live in July of '71 at the Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut is said by Mr. Dodd to be based on old Negro-slave chants. Mr. Charlie is said to be an oppressive White man - no, not the local sheriff at the stadium who keeps stopping Jerry's kids from somersaulting down the hill at the end zone - this goes way back.

In this one, there is the back-and-forth repeating of lyrics, first the singer, which is (pretty unusually) Pigpen McKernan, then the harmonizers - Jerry and Bob, like "Chuba, chuba (chuba, chuba), wooley bulley (wooley bulley), lookin' higher (lookin' higher), lookin' lower (lookin' lower)" It's very rhythmic. Well, The old-time Black! folks were very rhythmic and did like to dance, as do the current ones too!

Even for the nearly White Deadhead set, if you can't dance to this one, you must be on something really, really strong!

(Audio only, unfortunately.)

Cosmic Charlie, first performed 3 years earlier, in October of '68 at The Matrix in San Francisco is a much, much different style song. To me, this is about as trippy as that band could get. Now, normally, The Dead are much better represented in live recordings, but this song is so deeply trippy that the trippiness could not be captured live. (Just my opinion, based really on what "trippy" is supposed to mean. I can't say - were this a SCROTUS case, I'd have to conclude that I know it when I hear it, or maybe even see it.) Cosmic Charlie is whomever your mind conjures up - he may have a lightning bolt cracking across his skull, I dunno.

If you CAN dance to this one, you must be on something really, really strong!

Well, that's that. If you don't know The Dead well, Cosmic Charlie may not be appreciable by you, but you can probably get into Mister Charlie. He told me so.

Next week we'll have that other movie review, with 2 thumbs up this time. then finish up on the ruination of S. Africa, post that humorous one promised on some D.I.E. madness, discuss modern hotel Tower-of-Babeley stupidity, and much, much more! Have a good Sunday. Thanks for reading and writing in!

* I had to link to amazon this time because the goodreads page was pretty confusing as to which book this is. (It didn't have anything about David Dodd, the author of the book, on the page.) BTW, the book has a nice long forward by Robert Hunter.

Tuesday - June 6th 2023 10:10AM MST

The two shows deal was more common back in the early 70s I think. There are stories that night that people were hiding in all the nooks ( not to be confused with The Nook bar and grill in St. Paul) and crannies of the building in order to sneak into the second show. The Guthrie was a small venue, which housed a prestige repertory theater. They raised money by having concerts there on Sunday nights- the Who played there; Bonnie Raitt many times, Steve Goodman, etc. They built a new Guthrie downtown Minneapolis a few years ago. Dunno if they have concerts there. Sailer’s regular Reg Caesar could tell us, as his makes my knowledge of Twin Cities arcania look puny.

After the next year at Northrop, at that time home of the Minnesota Orchestra, the Dead only played hockey rink sized venues in the Twin Cities. As I previously mentioned, that show was notable for having been Godchaux’s first, as well as the first "Tennessee Jed" - first "Jack Straw" - first "Mexicali Blues - first "Comes A Time" - first "One More Saturday Night" - first "Ramble On Rose”. And I was there!

In addition the New Riders of the Purple Sage opened, with Garcia on pedal steel- he played about six hours that night. Also it was a school night. Arnie and Elmira were not happy with me when I got home after 1 AM on a Tuesday! (Actually I guess it was Wednesday by then…)
Adam Smith
Tuesday - June 6th 2023 8:08AM MST
PS: Good morning, Mr. Moderator,

Bill Mitchell's interview with Ken Cuccinelli...

Tuesday - June 6th 2023 7:47AM MST
PS: "I figure I’m required by law to comment on this post." Absolutely, you are, Mr. Ganderson. ;-}

Two shows in a night! Wow. Are any modern musicians that hard-working?
Tuesday - June 6th 2023 6:41AM MST
PS I figure I’m required by law to comment on this post…

I’m one of a steadily diminishing number of people who can claim to have seen Pigpen live (Tyrone Guthrie Theater, 10/18/70). Neither of “the Charlies “ were played that night, although they closed the show (the first of two that night; sadly I didn’t know enough to buy tix for both performances - besides it was a school night) with a Pig-led rollicking version of “Good Lovin”.

By the next October when they came to play at Northrop Auditorium on the campus of the U of Minnesota, Pigpen was ill, his place taken by Keith Godchaux, playing live with the lads for the first time. As they say in the sports pages, Mr. McKernan was in and out of the lineup until the booze got him in 1973. Godchaux remained with the group until heroin got the best of him in 1979.

My favorite Pigpen number is Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle” . This version was recorded at the Fillmore in April of 1971:
Dance and Other Creative Highs in Walldorf etc.
Monday - June 5th 2023 12:24PM MST
You never knew where these street drugs came from, Alarmist - - - did they come from HD university labs? Could be! We had a few GI-connections and went in and out Patrick Henry Village at the European Headuarter of the US Armed Forces  - - always with a friendly nod a thte barrier - but it was usually an "eX-dreamly" cool scene, especially in HD. I remember not a single hassle.

Ikea and SAP came decades after the See-Studio scene in Walldorf.

Ahh - years later, in the late eighties a friend, Rainer, now an electrical engineer, explained to me why his car had quite some scratches on it then - - - the bridge between Walldorf and Reilingen seemed to be too narrow to him, driving home from theSee-Studio and so he decided it would be safer to drive oh so tenderly from the guide-barrier of one side to the other in order to secure - - a safe crossing of this highway-bridge - and - wonders over wonders: His plan worked just fine. It felt a bit creepy, with the scratching/screeeching metal and all, but nevertheless: He kept truckin' - and he DID got through and/or over, that is!

The See-Studio was also a great live-place. Alexis Corner and Snape, Chicken-Shack, half of Colosseum in smaller bands, Hardin & York (Pete York - one of the best rock-drummers I ever saw), Atomic Rooster, Exception, HD/Odenwald super-avantgarde-Kraut-Rock-troopers Guru-Guru (!!!) - I just now remeber a foto-shooting I did in a children playground right in front of the See-Studio in the oh so mild Rhine-Valley autumn light - the bass player had light blue cowboy-boots on and fried-egg like sunglasses, Ax Genrich, the guitarist, green boots and Mani (!) Neumayer, the hippie-heart of the band, was an avangardist Swiss drummer, who had been on the experimental music scene decades before rock arrived - - - and he was just - - - super friendly, hip - - - it was a gas! - For me, being fifteen, working for a hip Swiss mag from a village near Heidelberg - too, of course. I still have my trusty Asahi Pentax Spotmatic used then - - with the 28 mm wide angle (white angel - - ) lens I could approach my subjects very very closely and get tack sharp pictures, which earned me litte fortunes. I dealt the pictures and articles from the phone booth at my school during the big break at ten, what brought with it lots of funny/astonishing moments too with the secretaries, teachers - - who didn't quite get how a kid can produce these for those days enormous bills of 50 Marks and more for calls to a foreign country - - - - what was that? I'd rather not tell them. But it was great to see the others in the breaks - reading my articles and being blown away by my pics - - those were the Delta****-days - - -
***The delta - The Rhine-Neckar region, an industrial/intellectual hot spot with about 1,2 million inhbitants - - Mannheim, Heidelberg Ludwigshafen (BASF headquarters) etc. pp.our - - - sphere - - -
The Alarmist
Monday - June 5th 2023 12:07PM MST

Exactly, Mr. Smith. They use the terms ‘Adults’ and ‘Theater goers.’

When I watch the Orlando news, they show pictures of perps of various crimes that day, so it’s pretty easier to get the gist when they say ‘An Orlando man’ or ‘a Daytona Beach woman.’ A bit more complicated with ‘teens’ if they don’t show pics.

Monday - June 5th 2023 10:39AM MST
PS: That little ditty came out of Mr. Alarmist's comment about the Devil Mouse, of course...

Mr. Smith, I could really use your help. I want to discuss a 21 min. video interview that had been embedded in the latest "Federale" post (about Ron DeSantis) on VDare. It no longer appears there, but the one I"m talking about - an interview by a salesman-looking guy named Bill Mitchell of former Trump Immigration official Ken Cuccinelli - is on twitter here:

I mean, I searched youtube, bitchute, and rumble, then used 3 different search engines, no joy on this. I'd like to embed it, because:

1) It's very good!
2) I want to comment on about 5 different things that Mr. Cuccenelli said.

(Yes, he was a candidate for Governor of Virginia too. Same guy.)
Monday - June 5th 2023 10:23AM MST
PS: Haha, Mr. Smith, some of us don't need no steenking ctrl-f! I think the DailyMail writers figured we could tell from the profile view. I sure could! (Didn't get any sound though... but I'm not sure I need that right now.)

"There was a mouse in New Or... lando,
they call the rising son...
He's been the ruin of many a poor boy,
and Lord, I now know Xi'm one..."
Adam Smith
Monday - June 5th 2023 9:50AM MST
PS: Good afternoon, everyone,

So, I did a Ctrl-F for the word 𝐁𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐤! on Mr. Alarmist's link...

Zero hits in the article. Hmmm?

The Alarmist
Monday - June 5th 2023 7:48AM MST

Jumping back to The Little Mermaid, I didn’t see this one coming...

The Devil Mouse House, bringing out the best in people....
The Alarmist
Monday - June 5th 2023 6:45AM MST

Did the “Highdelburg” students have access to medical-grade psychadelics from the Uni Med Centre, or was it strictly a street-drug affair? The only things I temember from Walldorf are SAP and a big Ikea just off the A5, and no drugs were involved in that lack of memories.
Monday - June 5th 2023 4:08AM MST
PS: True, Mr. Blanc. I'm talking about the dancing that entails slim hippy women twirling around so fast that even their granny dresses fly up to their waists, and underwear is optional... was, I should say ...

Dieter, stories of 1970s Highdelberg, haha! Thanks.

Heidi in the coolest Black Bikini
Monday - June 5th 2023 12:36AM MST
PS: Cheers To Your Health, Dieter!

Happy Sunday Evening...
or should I say Monday?



Rooftopstone-Mountain Range Music Shepherd
Monday - June 5th 2023 12:25AM MST
Cosmic Charlie is in taddily unsafe territory, SafeNow, so - - - as a part-time-novice, you better follow the guide, alright. Shrinks must get the patient - - that's true, hehe, but what some of them forget is, that they are not alone in this task (it is rather common - I'd even say universal, that to connect is - - the result of efforts - - -).

- MBlanc46 there's dancing and dancing - I agree, hehe. I Guess you (I- hm?) could even waltz to that one. Dancing - no problem, as long as the company is right - - - I have a little vision now of the scene in our fave disco Sea-Studio in Walldorf - - - late sunday night - - -the regulars all - Goin' Home - heheh, just the core there - I see faces now - -of three girls especially, Babs' foremost (she - still - looks a lot like Jane Birkin) - we had the spacy dancefloor for ourselves - maybe a dozen of us, where usually maybe two hundred were dancing - - - and around that time, DJ Harald would play nothting but - - - far out stuff. So - a 4/4 song like Cosmic Charly was no match for us at all. The most striking thing about these disco times was how all in all low on drugs it was for quite some of us (Babs, Willy, Traudel, Heidi (kid you not!- that is her name - she had the coolest black bikini that I ever saw - I learned with such experiences, how much it is the attitude, with which things are done, that makes them shine), this was not least astonishing, because we were in the middle of the Highdelberg drug crace. - Many of us did learn back then, that drugs are no necessity at all: Neither to look nor to act/do nor to feel good. Paradoxically enough, drugs .d.i.d. play a role for us to figure that out.
Sunday - June 4th 2023 10:07AM MST
PS Well, there’s dancing, then there’s dancing.
The Alarmist
Sunday - June 4th 2023 9:57AM MST

Rush didn't know me. As for Letterman, he ignored me and hit on my girlfriend of the time.
Sunday - June 4th 2023 6:45AM MST
PS: Yes, SafeNow, for me to, there was a "learning curve". The first Dead song I remember ever hearing was "Alabama Getway", which is not that representative.

Alarmist, do you think he knew you better than that though, just in that you were there in the audience? You've been everywhere, man! I wish I'd done something like that - gone into the studio for a Dave Letterman show or whatever.
The Alarmist
Sunday - June 4th 2023 2:17AM MST

Tangentially related, back in the mid ‘90s, Jerry Garcia and Rush Limbaugh had signature lines of mens’ neck ties. I went to a taping of the Rush Limbaugh TV show, and decided to sport a Garcia tie (the one I chose was actually far nicer looking than Limbaugh’s stuff, though not all were).

So Limbaugh comes out to greet the crowd before the tape rolled, and within seconds locks eyes on my tie, gets a big grin, and says, “Ladies and gentlemen, I have spotted a liberal in the audience.”

Sunday - June 4th 2023 12:29AM MST
“If you don't know The Dead well, Cosmic Charlie may not be appreciable by you, but you can probably get into Mister Charlie.”

Yes, that was me, exactly, as an ancient pre-Dead guy. As shrinks with good intuition say, you’ve got the patient.
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