Sunday, October 25, 2009

Running with the Dead: Box of Rain

Running with the Dead: Box of Rain
Result: Negative
Best Line: What do you want me to do, to do for you to see you through?
Link: '72 version with some actual vocal harmony

The more I listen to the Dead, the more I appreciate Phil Lesh. The bass player was trained in both classical and jazz. His rhythms were surprising. And not only does he stick with Jerry, at times he runs circles around him. Also, I'm beginning to think that Phil was more of a menace than the rest of the band. He would often divert into a new jam, merely on a whim.

Box of Rain was Phil's most famous tune. It was one of the few numbers that he sang while touring with the Dead. I like the song (especially Hunter's lyrics), but it doesn't work well for running. Phil's voice was spare, earnest and without tone. That's fine for this song (which happened to be about Phil's dad dying from cancer), but it fails to uplift during a run (duh!). By the way, according to Hunter, a box of rain is a symbol for the earth. He considered using ball of rain, but it didn't sound right.

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