Grateful Dead – “Cumberland Blues” Live

Grateful Dead – “Cumberland Blues” Live | Society Of Rock Videos

Powerful Back Story For A Timeless Classic!

“Cumberland Blues” was written by Robert Hunter, Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh. It was constantly part of Grateful Dead’s repertoire from 1969 to 1974 and was absent for some time. However, it reappeared in their song list in 1981 and has been played quite a few times from then on. It was included in their fifth album, “Workingman’s Dead.”

The essential question posed by “Cumberland Blues” is one of work / life balance…. The mine is life, in this song. Without the mine, no job: no food. “That’s where I mainly spend my time.”

“Workingman’s Dead” was released on June 14, 1970 and ranked at number 262 in “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” by the Rolling Stone magazine. It was rated five out of five stars by Allmusic, Rolling Stone and American Songwriter. Rock critic Robert Christgau gave it an “A.”

Hunter, in his A Box of Rain anthology, adds a footnote to the song: “The best compliment I ever had on a lyric was from an old guy who’d worked at the Cumberland mine. He said, ‘I wonder what the guy who wrote this song would’ve thought if he’d ever known something like the Grateful Dead was gonna do it.’ “

You can’t help but love this ballad about life and its complexity!

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