Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #106512  by Walknbluez
 Wed Dec 14, 2011 3:48 pm
When listening to some 70's versions of Jack straw, it seems like the tempo remains the same after the "Keep a rolling, Just a mile to go, Keep on rolling, my old buddy You're moving much too slow" verse and into "I just jumped the watchman verse" and then goes to cut time on "Hurts my ears to listen". Or does it go to cut time on "I just jumped..."?
 #106594  by mijknahs
 Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:28 pm
Probably depends on what version. The 70's were a big era. The first versions Bob did all the parts and it was all kinda slow. I prefer the early 80's versions where it definitely speeds up on "I just jumped the watchman".
 #106596  by gr8fullfred
 Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:53 pm
Personally I like the 90-91 versions with Bruce. Actually I like the stuff with Bruce alot.

My advice on the tempos is to just go with the flow. I mean I do not even think about it. Of course it helps if you are a total dead head freak and have listened to Jackstraw 1000s of times. Then you are ready. Let the drummer figure out the tempo. The feel changes at the "jumped the watchman part". Find a few shows and jam with them for like 100 hours and you will not need to worry about the tempo.

 #106603  by JonnyBoy
 Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:21 pm
We normally hit the cut time at the "i just jumped..." but its a volume and tempo/dynamic build up that can actually increase 10-15 BPM as that section rolls on to its creshendo, "Might as well be meeeeeeee,, yhea!" ....then the magic starts balls to the wall. But, I would not be surprised to hear it done every way to saturday thru the years. FRED has a point, finding your own way is less contrived and way more interesting IMO for all involved including the listener, while still remaining very Dead-esque/authentic.
How would the Dead do it? The way they fucking want to. :D Plus, after playing it 50-60 times you may wanna have a change in ways like they did, so going your own way with the small stuff from the start won't hurt the final product, IMO.
 #106609  by mijknahs
 Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:51 pm
I'm totally bored with many versions of Jack Straw in the 70's. Too tame. No climactic jam. Just some brief noodling before "Jack Straw from Wichita".

I'm glad the Dead developed the song into an exciting set opener (or even first set barn burner closer - check out 8/30/1980)
 #106610  by JonnyBoy
 Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:17 pm
Yhea, we take it down some barn burning roads for sure, but also take advantage of the wide use of tempo it was written with. We will actually bring it down to a slow low dynamic before leaving Texas, and at the end of the song right before the last line, (which is my favorite part). Basically It crawls on verses then sprints after the "might as well be meeee" then after a 3 minute OD driven guitar tear up, it crawls back to the verse. Then after the last tear up (like above but 2nd go around keep us on the runnnn) we go for about 2 minutes kinda heavy we will drop into an E///D/// slow Dark Star/ kinda tempo thang w/ guitar solo delay then land into the ending slow and low... 8-9 minutes at least. We are talking about revamping it totally tho, it is easy to get bored doing things over and over the same way, even if its cool I guess.
 #106615  by mijknahs
 Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:36 pm
I love how it slows down at "My old buddy you're moving much to sloooow". Like hitting the brakes after a crazy ride and fits so well with the lyrics.
 #106616  by Octal
 Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:38 pm
mijknahs wrote:I'm totally bored with many versions of Jack Straw in the 70's. Too tame. No climactic jam. Just some brief noodling before "Jack Straw from Wichita".
I always just assumed that I didn't understand what was going on. The melodic genius (or lack thereof) was just going over my head. Although maybe there isn't anything there.