Wednesday, December 12, 2012



When I was a little bitty baby my mama would rock me...where? It was down in Louisiana, but pretty far north south of Texarkana.  Cotton fields? I don't recall. Yet somehow, I must have been imprinted with country music. Imprinted so deeply I didn't even recognize how country the Grateful Dead were for a long, long time; that that should be their default figment.

A little bit later, I listened over and over to Harry Belafonte on a record my parents had. I think I may have been taken to hear him at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, but could be mistaken. The figment applied to classify his music was calypso.

There is a song on my parents' Belafonte album which, in my opinion, the Dead make country in this cover.

A recording of : the Belafonte interpretation, much as I remember it, is here.
Here is a link to the Grateful Dead (countrified) cover 

I don't think they sing it better. The contrast of calypso to country is pretty clear, is it not?

Note: On the "Cotton Fields Back Home" lyrics:  in fact, Texarkana is about 30 miles north of the Arkansas/Louisiana border (as the name suggests); there is no place in Louisiana "just about a mile from Texarkana." One can see that on the map provided by Who knew?

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