Have you ever heard of “Desert Island Discs”? Basically, it’s a game or radio program where you, hypothetically, get stranded on an island, but get to choose a handful songs to take with you. In other words, which songs will you never get sick of hearing day in and day out. If you’re a music fan, it is a TOUGH question to ponder. Today, I’m officially choosing the Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter composition called “Sugaree.“
How do I love thee, Sugaree? Let me count the ways. This song has a mellow, matter-of-fact vibe to it, but it isn’t boring to my ears. You can hear Jerry Garcia’s guitar from the beginning of the song, but it’s very subtle. The feel of the song changes around the 40 second mark, but it’s not overpowering. It’s just enough to keep it interesting. According to Wikipedia, Garcia played all of the instruments on this track except for drums. Credit there goes to Bill Kreutzmann.
If the original version is too mellow for you, check out this one by Phosphorescent along with Jenny Lewis & Friends.
Their take on “Sugaree” is a little more upbeat and organ intensive, but I really enjoy it. I also found a wailing guitar version by Jorma Kaukonen (Hot Tuna, Jefferson Airplane).
There are other versions out there including John, Mayer, The Persuasions, Nick Barker, Chris Robinson, and Tedeschi Trucks Band. As you might expect, there are zillions of live versions by The Grateful Dead. For me, I will stick with Jerry Garcia’s original studio version as one of my Desert Island Discs.
Till next time, keep your Mojo on the Horizon!