Jerry Garcia Band can be heard covering “(What A) Wonderful World” as made famous by Louis Armstrong in the latest track from the upcoming GarciaLive Volume 16 release. Out on June 25th via Round Records, the live album captures JGB’s debut at Madison Square Garden on November 15th, 1991. This comes as the third single from the album, following “My Sisters And My Brothers” and “Ain’t No Bread In The Breadbox“.
Coming in as the encore, the Grateful Dead guitarist and his eponymous band opted to pump the brakes on what had been a rollicking show from the start. Instead of keeping that energy going, Jerry reflects on the passage of time with “What A Wonderful World”. JGB had debuted the cover earlier on this tour, and according to the album’s liner notes written by Relix editor-in-chief Dean Budnick, this performance carried special meaning.
A very special guest was on hand for this show: 91-year-old Mitchell Parish. The great uncle to JGB manager Steve Parrish was a storied songwriter who had composed “Stardust,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “Moonlight Serenade” and hundreds of other tunes. Longtime Grateful Dead publicist Dennis McNally recalls that Mitchell struck up a meaningful conversation with Jerry: “Parish started one sentence with, ‘When I wrote the songs for the Marx Brothers’ Coconuts in 1928,’ and you knew he wasn’t b.s.ing. And obscure as it got, Jerry was there, jamming on the rap the way he did on his axe.
So it must have been with equal measures of delight and trepidation that Garcia opted to encore with an equally iconic American composition the group had premiered earlier on the tour. Although long associated with Louis Armstrong, the Jerry Garcia Band’s warm, emotive take on this song, encapsulated the many moods and hues during an evening of transport that concluded on a sanguine note.
GarciaLive Volume 16 will be available as a three-CD set, digital download, and on select streaming platforms. In addition to an array of photos and memorabilia from the tour, the physical release will also host an in-depth liner notes essay from author Dean Budnick, as well as reflections from Melvin Seals, Jacklyn LaBranch, Dennis McNally, and John Popper, who opened the show with his band Blues Traveler.
Listen to Jerry Garcia Band perform “(What A) Wonderful World” at Madison Square Garden on 11/15/91. GarciaLive Volume 16 is available for pre-order via Garcia Family Provisions.
Jerry Garcia Band – “(What A) Wonderful World” (Bob Thiele/George David Weiss) – New York, NY – 11/15/91
[Video: Jerry Garcia]