The Grateful Dead were many things in the late summer and early fall of 1969, including a band that was very enthusiastic about playing cartoon music, with Garcia on pedal steel some of the time.
This mix pulls a number of discrete “takes” out of 30 minutes of studio rehearsal recordings and stacks them into a fun sequence. It includes/compresses some fantastic band chatter. They couldn’t stop cracking up with delight and cackling over plans to mount cartoon music attacks onstage. I’ve jacked up the volume on the chatter, so it’s even with the music.
There are more themes than I could identify, and others so fleeting that they didn't make it into the titles, including Garcia poking briefly at "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
- Merrily We Roll Along (acapella)
- Merrily We Roll Along
- The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down 1
- Chase Sequence
- Cartoon Music (unidentified)
- Teddy Bear’s Picnic
- Circus Music (unidentified) > The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down 2 > Cartoon Music (unidentified)
- Mickey Mouse Club > Popeye the Sailor Man
- The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down 3
- The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down 4
Dedicated to Carl Stalling.
Thanks to @bourgwick for pointing out this recording. The full rehearsal tape contains much more, completely different material that is worth a listen, some of it tilting hard toward “Workingman’s.” As they play Mel Tillis' "Saw Mill," I can imagine Robert Hunter sitting there and thinking, "I could write a better song about a coal mine!"