The Golden Road to Lockn’ Festival – Part 1
Watch Black Crowes, Bob Weir, & Tedeschi Trucks Band Cover “Turn On Your Love Light”
The Grateful Dead in the 1960s were the “godfathers of the San-Francisco ‘thing'” in Bill Graham’s words. Yet just as often as they would go through a suite Dark Star>St. Stephen>The Eleven>Turn on Your Lovelight. Did you ever notice one of these things is not like the other?
Ron “Pigpen” McKernan loved the blues, motown, and rockabilly. He dressed like a cowboy, sang like Wilson Pickett, and played the harmonica. “Blue Ron” was also the Grateful Dead’s original frontman, and one of a committee of three throughout much of the 1960s as Jerry took control, and Bobby matured. Ron got these other guys to instantly morph into a shred-monster of a rhythm and blues band with songs like Bobby Bland’s “Lovelight,”as well as Wilson Pickett’s “Hard to Handle,” and “In the Midnight Hour.” He could also turn them into a swampy barrel-house blues band with “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” and “Smokestack Lightning.”
And though he started fading from alcoholism right as the band was peaking, his spirit continuously influenced the band and continues to move through those that emulate it, to stay within the roots of rock and roll- western, rhythm and blues, delta-rock.
Bobby in particular payed homage to Ron by singing his favorite “Lovelight” and “Good Lovin” throughout the Dead’s tenure, and does so with other fellow-travellers and lovers of the Dead presently. Witness this barn-burner with the Black Crowes, Tendeschi-Trucks, and of course Bob himself, at Lockn‘ in 2013.
* Cover Photo via Lockn’ Official