Jerry Garcia, “They Love Each Other” from GarciaLive Volume Five (2014): One Track Mind

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It’s such a joy to hear this song again, as it once was.

“They Love Each Other,” written by Jerry Garcia with Robert Hunter, appeared on Garcia’s 1978 solo album Reflections, of course. But by then it had been a Grateful Dead concert staple for years, having debuted on February 9, 1973 at Stanford University. Reflections, in fact, featured Garcia’s Grateful Dead bandmates on five cuts, and “They Love Each Other” (perhaps living up to its title) remained as part of the group’s setlists through the year before Garcia’s death, taking its final bow on September 27, 1994 at the Boston Garden.

On one level, it’s easy to see why: After all, “They Loved Each Other” traces many of the Dead’s most familiar themes — merry go rounds and trains being ever-popular motifs. But on another, and this makes a new version from the forthcoming GarciaLive Volume Five: December 31st, 1975 Keystone Berkeley all the more welcome, “They Love Each Other” is quite unlike anything Jerry Garcia had done. This song, to my ear, pulls no punches in its thunderstruck passions. These are, until the end, two heels-over-head lovers, with none of the regrets or parodist’s twists that typically accompany such ruminations from the Dead.

That was perfectly echoed by the original, reggae-inflected arrangement, heard again here in all of its wonder and joy. The very sound of a flirtatious wink, over time “They Loved Each Other” somehow evolved into a slower, all together different, far more introspective approach. Reverting back makes for a superlative take on “They Love Each Other,” which advances this two-disc live set.

Due October 21, 2014, GarciaLive Volume Five focuses on Jerry Garcia’s only New Year Eve show, odd in retrospect because the Grateful Dead played so very many of them. He was joined on this mid-1970s night by pianist Nicky Hopkins, who adds these tip-toeing asides even as Garcia explores outward on his guitar; as well as regular bassist John Kahn and drummer Greg Errico, whose funky little accents give away his tenure with Sly and the Family Stone. Dead confederates Mickey Hart and Bob Weir also sat in that night.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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