find the best versions of grateful dead songs

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Jack Straw
May 13, 1973
Iowa State Fairgrounds

Hot, high-energy, uptempo version with some excellent drumming by Billy.
May 13, 1973
Iowa State Fairgrounds

Plenty of emotion in this one. Jerry's vocal performance, particularly at the end, is awesome.
July 29, 1988
Laguna Seca Recreation Area

Brent is a huge factor on this stellar version, particularly near the end. Love this one, and shocked it's not listed already!
Big Railroad Blues
Oct. 26, 1971
The Palestra, U. of Rochester

The whole rhythm section is locked in here. Billy and Keith sound particularly good. A good precursor to the rip-roarin' ones from the following year.
I Need A Miracle
July 3, 1988
Oxford Plains Speedway

A fun one from the Dead's final show in my home state of Maine. The crowd's loving it. Great show all around.


Scarlet Begonias -> Fire On The Mountain
May 25, 1977
The Mosque

It’s this high because people like it. Nothing more complicated than that. Even though I wouldn’t put this version in my top 10, I find this one to be SUPER enjoyable throughout, hence my upvote. You don’t need any more reason to give it a thumbs-up. I’m sure most people here would say the same. That’s the thing about taste…it’s always subjective.
Sugar Magnolia
April 20, 1984
Philadelphia Civic Center

Wrong date. This was played on the 19th, not the 20th. There's a reason it's not listed here.
Wharf Rat
April 20, 1984
Philadelphia Civic Center

Again, this song wasn't played on this date. It's from the 19th, not the 20th. Filler on Dave's 35.
The Wheel
April 20, 1984
Philadelphia Civic Center

Because this song wasn't played on this date - it was played on the 19th, and included as filler on Dave's 35.
Maybe You Know
April 21, 1986
Berkeley Community Theater

I mean…playing devil’s advocate for a second here, but I find this is the only version of this song that really stands out. It’s kind of a forgettable tune, and I could see why the raw emotion of this version would be preferable to the rather dull other versions. People would prefer to feel something than nothing at all. This one’s at the top for a morbid reason, sure, and I wouldn’t personally put it at #1, especially considering how there’s something kind of messed up about upvoting Brent’s grief. But…I see why someone would give it an upvote over an ‘83 version.