Jerry Garcia Week 2012 Day 2: Something Like A Bird…
When Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia wrote the lilting tune BIRD SONG, it was a heartfelt ode to Janis Joplin. It grew into one of the most beloved and experimental of all Grateful Dead songs and it remained in their repertoire until the end.
Now, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir’s extraordinary band, Furthur, plays the tune, but with a twist: after the extended jam, Phil changes the words from “All I know is something like a bird within her sang” to “All I know is something like a bird within HIM sang. All I know HE sang a little while and then flew on.” Garcia’s ode to another has become Phil’s ode to Jerry. Yes, Phil’s deep voice doesn’t capture the delicate qualities of Garcia’s, but there’s still purpose behind the song and it still takes us on quite a journey, albeit a rather different one than Garcia and the Grateful Dead took us on.
And just to compare, here’s a BIRD SONG from the Grateful Dead in Veneta, Oregon, 1972 (widely considered one of the best BIRD SONGs ever played), and another by Furthur at the (rainy) Wanee Festival in Live Oak, Florida earlier this year (plus a couple extra tunes just in case you wanna stay in the groove!).