In search of Althea

When I first was inspired to write this it was back in June of 2019. Althea was my favorite Grateful Dead song. I began a search to listen to as many versions as I could find to find the best one.

Between now and then my favorite dead song has changed multiple times. Honestly, for me I think it’s almost impossible to choose a best or favorite song/performance from The Dead. Each performance was as different and characterized as much by the nuances of the venue, crowd, and overall environment as it was the people on stage. It’s why I’ve grown to enjoy them so much. In the auto tuned, overly produced, and micromanaged world that we live in today, the idea of giving yourself up to improvisation is a relic.

I was saddened to learn this morning that the world will not get a chance to see the latest incarnation of the Grateful Dead this summer. The Dead and Company have cancelled their 2020 tour because of this Corona business. But as always and just like The Grateful Dead their music lives on.

The Tucker Bus is where our daughters got turned onto The Dead. Driving to see family. Sitting in the car rider line waiting to pick up your sister from school. Driving to go visit your mom at work. To and from all the city and state parks. It was always the same request:

Mr. Charlie Dad

Play Mr. Charlie

Mr. Charlie! Mr. Charlie

Because of our Geri falling in love with Mr. Charlie from Europe ’72 in the summer of ’19 that’s when our family listening went to a whole “nubo lebel”. That was also the same month of our 2nd dead show as a family. The first for Geri out of the womb. Considering you were only 3 and 2 years old at the time. I’d say that was pretty good. Now a deadhead sticker on our Odyssey and the Element seem completely in place to us.

Your good for bringing them here,

Means they’ll develop a soul

Guy sitting next to us

I’ve always enjoyed The Dead. But, your mom was a much bigger fan than I was in our early years.

Then it was me. Now, I probably drive your mom crazy with it. In fact, I know I do.

Hopefully now it’s a trait we have passed on to our daughters. I hope by exposing them to it that it will be part of the soundtrack of their lives. If you ever don’t know what you want to stream, or consume musically let me make a suggestion, listen to The Grateful Dead.

For those deadheads that might stumble across this. I’m still searching for the best live Morning Dew. Unless it is ’72 which c’mon it has to be. If you came here hoping to find or hear Althea I present to you:

Althea

Best version?

honest to the point of recklessness

you maybe be a clown

you made the fate of Ophelia

c’mon.

lyrically and musically that’s pretty complete eight and-a-half minutes if you ever have the time.

Ken

Along with the woman taking the picture

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