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Friday, September 9

For Today's Fry-day Jam, Shall We Go to One of Pigpen's Greatest Shows? 4-17-71 Dillon Gym Princeton Uni, NJ

Since yesterday was Mr. Pen's birthday, I thought I'd release one of the greatest Pigpen shows of all-time.
This show at Dillon Gym is all about Pig. This is the show where he sells the Brooklyn Bridge for "a dolla an a quarta" among many other Pig-isms. Pigpen was the true frontman of the Grateful Dead. He convinced the band to go electric and is completely responsible for the acid-blues conglomeration that became the Dead's m├ętier. Now don't be fooled by all the Pigpen talk. This show has many great moments including an amazing "Bird Song" and a wonderful "Loser" and an excellent "GDRTFB>Jam> Lovelight" but the Pig is why we are here today. His singular voice and soulful harp are all over this show. It's the show that he got Bob and Betty Matthews from the GD crew to hook up at. His "Good Lovin'" rap is hilarious, raunchy, and full of Grateful goodness that pushes each member forward a little bit farther out.  He spends "Lovelight" hooking up couples and getting people together. He hooked up four random people than went back into the song! The man was a master of the blues and the heart of the Grateful Dead.

Pigpen could get left behind during some of the Dark Star's and "Primal Dead" stuff because he didn't dose and the one time he did, it was a tremendous bummer. But when Pig pulled out his blues, whether it be "Hard to Handle" or "King Bee", he shined. His heart-wrenching performance of " The Stranger (Two Souls in Communion)" during the 5-11-72 show could tear your heart out.  This show is well-known for his raps. His "Good Lovin'" and "Lovelight" turns are both Pigpen's heart and soul and what limited his time in the band. There wouldn't be a "Weather Report Suite" or a "Help>Slip>Frank" with Pigpen in the band. He was limited musically but he was just what the band needed in the early days. It's a shame he was the Grateful Dead's contribution to the "27 club" but he lived his way and no one was going to tell him what to do. A life lived on one's own terms is a life well-lived.

 Happy Birthday Ron"Pigpen"McKernan, RIP

From his, "Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl" to his "Turn on your Lovelight" he always stepped up to make the band behind him stronger and when he wasn't there, the backing band became the band we all know and love and spawned the cult of personality around Jerry Garcia. So much history, so little time.  Have a drink for Ron today or pour on out for him.

Heard at the show: "Play something we know!" (heckler)
                                "Know something they play!" (taper)

Greg Heffelfinger

Dillon Gym
Princeton University

Set One
Big Railroad Blues 
Big Boss Man 
Bird Song 
Playing In The Band 
Hard To Handle 
Mama Tried 
Casey Jones 
Sugar Magnolia 

Set Two
Good Lovin' >Drums >
Good Lovin' [27:22] ;
Me And Bobby McGee
Beat It On Down The Line
I'm A King Bee
Sing Me Back Home
Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad>
Jam >
Turn On Your Love Light [16:#16]

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