Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Eleven (Hunter/Lesh)


The Grateful Dead's song "The Eleven" is one of those medieval, cosmic sounding primal Dead songs that takes you all the Way back. Most of us know the tune from the Live Dead album that came out in November of 1969. It is the first live Dead album (first Dead boot-leg, really) that showcases the genuine Grateful Dead concert experience. Last month, in lieu of album's release date and November being the 11th month, we focused on the beginnings of this song "The Eleven" by featuring its' debut at the Carousel Ballroom from 1/17/68 (CLICK HERE).  It may be interesting to know that the song was written by both Phil Lesh (bass player) and lyricist Robert Hunter. Apparently, it is written in a complicated and unique time signature that is 11 beats per measure for which it is named (I do not know quite understand this stuff so don't quote me). I think it is a true Dead song for it has both Bobby and Phil singing verses and then Jerry singing verses in reply to them. We featured other versions of "The Eleven" from the Carousel Ballroom, SF (CLICK HERE)  and the Avalon Ballroom, SF (CLICK HERE). At first, "The Eleven" followed "China Cat Sunflower" until it was linked to the lively and rowdy song "St Stephen" which debuted supposedly in May of 1968 and quickly was attached to The Eleven (CLICK HERE). 

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