Grateful Dead – “Jack Straw” Live
Keep On Rollin’!
“Jack Straw” was written by Bob Weir and Robert Hunter. It was constantly included in Grateful Dead’s repertoire and became part of their live triple album “Europe ’72” which was released on November 5, 1972. The first time they performed this was in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 19, 1971.
Over the years, the vocals shifted between Weir and Jerry Garcia though in the song’s earliest performances (circa 1971–72), Weir sang all of the vocals. The song also became much faster in tempo over the years, less concentrated on vocal harmony and more of a high-energy rock jam.
This is widely considered as their most enigmatic track EVER and there was even an evolution of the characters in the lyrics. It used to be sung solely by Bob Weir but when Jerry Garcia stepped in during a live performance on May 3, 1972 in Paris, it eventually had two distinct voices. The dramatic telling also featured a narrator.
Bob Weir: “It was patterned on Of Mice and Men, but we tried to put a twist or two on it. Same story, different context.”
No matter HOW others perceived this song, it’s always up to YOU to interpret it. What’s your interpretation?