The Decemberists Cover The Grateful Dead “Row Jimmy”

If the increasingly prog bend the Decemberists material has taken makes that a surprising headline to you, forget the increasingly prog bend the Decemberists material has taken. Instead, consider the band as a lyrical folk outfit unafraid to shift and expand its instrumentation in pursuit of (occasionally mercilessly bloated, occasionally interesting) extended, ornate passages. So, that’s the band that is documenting its appreciation for the Grateful Dead, an storied institution that knows from lyrics, shifting instrumentation, bloat, and being extended, ornate, and interesting. “Row Jimmy” gives the Decemberists a chance to prove their comfort with a loose groove and a lack of pretense, something they greatly need to remind people of after this last run of LPs, and thereby a fitting and effective public service announcement for a band on the eve of releasing the new and reportedly stripped-back album The King Is Dead. The Dead cover is the b-side on the 7″ for “January Hymn,” an original King cut they released yesterday on vinyl. Hear ‘em both:

The Decemberists – Row Jimmy (Grateful Dead cover) by jp917

Missing those inimitable Jerry guitar lines snaking and segueing between the verse bits, but otherwise, more than fair to the Dead. Here’s the a-side, the new Decemberists cut “January Hymn”:

The Decemberists – January Hymn by jp917

The Dead are one band for whom posting up a live YouTube version in lieu of the original is preferable:

(via COS)

For reference: The original appeared on the 1973 studio album Wake Of The Flood. As for the Decemberists, their 2011 studio effort The King Is Dead is due 1/18. In addition to “January Hymn,” you can hear its lead single “Down By The Water.”

[Photo by Autumn de Wilde]