Grateful Dead - Hard To Handle - Festival Express ‘70
Notes From The 27 Club - Episode 1
Happy Birthday Ron “Pigpen” McKernan!
What better way to begin a series about life, death, and music than with a happy birthday to the original lead presence of the Grateful Dead, the originators of the modern day concert experience that we take for granted. Pigpen wasn’t as interested in psychedelics as his fellow bandmates and stuck mainly to SoCo, just like his great friend Janis Joplin who also died an untimely death at 27. His health wained towards the end of his life, as did his presence in the Dead, but from his momentum the Grateful Dead was able to continue to expand musical horizons for decades to come. His nitty-gritty and soulful vocals characterize the early Grateful Dead sound which remains unlike anything else the Dead has ever recorded. Pigpen had the gift of hot & steamy gab, and 20 minute long versions “Lovelight” were the norm with Pigpen breaking it down to turn on the crowd. Be sure to check out the Grateful Dead’s 40minute version of “Lovelight” at Woodstock if you can handle it. This man was put on earth to make us shake our hips and get laid, and he has done just that for me and countless others. For that we thank you, Pigpen. Happy fucking birthday!