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What’s Grateful? – Ragtag Daily Prompt

May 8, 2019

From Ragtag Daily Prompt the Wednesday word is: Grateful

As I try and live a more mindful life I look for and focus on little things that I never paid attention to in the past and I remind myself how grateful I am for those things. I’m not sure if that makes me feel better, but I think it makes me feel grounded and more in synch with the world around me while reminding me to be grateful for what I have in life as well as what I don’t have in life. But when I hear/see the word “grateful” the first thing that comes to mind is the Grateful Dead.

I listen to the Grateful Dead. I collect audio copies of their shows and I watch videos of their shows. I wear their t-shirts. I’m a Deadhead. And no, that doesn’t mean that I have hair down to my ass and drop acid. I’ve never had hair down to my ass and I’ve never dropped acid.

I love music. I love the power of music and how it can make me feel and how it can affect my mood and how it, in some (many?) ways, defines me. I like how music can change your mood and make you want to dance. I like how music can challenge you both emotionally and physically. I love how music can bring us together.

Unfortunately, music can also pull us apart and that happens when someone judges someone else simply by the music they listen to. Like the acid-dropping hippie. I believe a lot of people carry a prejudice about other people based on their musical preferences and the bands they follow and that’s not only true of the Grateful Dead, but of rap and punk and folk and trance and probably some others that I’m not thinking of. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this joke after I’ve told someone I’m a fan of the GD.

Question: What did the Deadhead say when he sobered up?
Answer: What’s this shit I’m listening to?

Sorry, not funny. My music isn’t your music and your music isn’t my music and that’s cool. Music is subjective and Jerry said it perfectly.

“We’re like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but the people who like licorice really like licorice.” – Jerry Garcia

I’m getting off the track here, sorry.

I could write an essay about the GD and their roots in folk, jazz, rock, Americana and Bluegrass and their modern influence in those genres and I could argue that Jerry Garcia is a better guitar player than Jimi Hendrix. I could talk about how they revolutionized live performances and concert audio as well as their influence on ‘social networking’ in terms of linking fans around the world through a fanzine and tape trading and I could say that when it comes to good old rock and roll, no band rocks better.

The guy who turned me on to the Grateful Dead was named Sparky. I don’t remember what his real name was and I don’t know if he ever told anyone what his real name was. It was the fall of 1975 and we worked together at Musicland on an assembly line packing orders for the company’s retail stores. It was a pretty crappy job. I gave Sparky a ride home one afternoon and he invited me in to unwind and he put on the Europe ’72 album. If you’re wondering, no, we didn’t drop acid. By the time the first album ended and China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider had finished, I was hooked. I won’t add the video but if you want to listen to it you can find it here. There are version of these two songs that might be considered “better”: faster, longer, more emotional, but I guess you always remember the first.

So that’s it. Being grateful also takes less energy than being ungrateful.

I won’t share a video of the Grateful Dead here but Billy Strings is a guy I’ve been listening to a lot lately and here’s a video of him and his band. Maybe you’ll like him as well.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2019 12:12 pm

    Music is, indeed, powerful. I love your embrace of a huge world of music. So many musical languages. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael B. Fishman permalink*
      May 10, 2019 4:54 am

      Thank you! There’s not really a genre that I don’t appreciate on some level and I never thought of them as ‘languages’ before. I like that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. May 8, 2019 3:26 pm

    I personally do not enjoy their music but know people who do. It is always good to be passionate about the music you love to listen to. Me? I am grateful that there is a wide variety of choice in music so that everyone can find what they enjoy to listen to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael B. Fishman permalink*
      May 10, 2019 4:58 am

      Whenever you’re ready just let me know and I’ll suggest a song or two you can listen to! 🙂 Thanks for reading and for commenting.


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