After all the posts I did on the Skull & Roses version a week ago, I spent the past week working on it anew, my yearly pilgrimage of trying to get it perfect.
The latest surprizes are that Jerry played it mostly close to open position on many of the leads. This is why it has the raw sound.
But more than that, by playing close to the nut he could get an automatic fretting of the open string note, due to the nut, which would allow the notes to come off in extremely rapid sucession with incredible power and clarity.
Great song for picking up some of his close to the nut techniques when his style of play had not evolved to the noodling of later years.
I think one of the reasons I like the song so much is that I have travelled many of the areas mentioned in the song. I've spent months in Santa Fe, actually learned to ski there, and I've driven down from Colorado, down through Durango near Silverton, and out toward Texas at other times.
Rugged terrain even to this day. The purple mountains of Colorado, the pastel sunsets of New Mexico, distant rock outcroppings, like Ship Rock, always way off in the distance because you can see it from far off, looks like a sailing ship. The Rio Grande, Continental Divide. Blowing tumbleweeds and dust in the spring, Earth so scorched dry in the summer from the sun, cracked wide open in some of the dry washes.
If you ever get the chance go drive through the southwest. Beautiful country.