Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Kelvingrove and The Dead

A few months ago at church I heard a song I have never heard before. The song sheet had it listed as "The Summons", but there was a notation that indicated it was based on a song called "Kelvingrove."

I listened to the song for a few minutes, leaned back to a friend of mine who is a fan of The Grateful Dead, and whispered a song title to him. He thought for a few seconds, and then smiled and nodded.

"Kelvingrove" is a song about a park in Scotland. The song is a bit prettier than, say, the old Hershey Park jingle ("Hershey Park happy, Hershey Park glad, So many things to see and do, good times to be had!") You can hear the song in MP3 format from an old, scratchy recording here. Please give it a listen before going any further.


The Grateful Dead song that came to mind is "Uncle John's Band." Not the whole song, just the opening guitar notes, which seem disconnected from the rest of the song. Now, because this is a Warner Music Group property, it is almost impossible to find copies of it anywhere online. If you do a Google search you will get a link to a limited-play version from, which will allow you a single complete play-through and then limited excerpts. Live performance videos may or may not contain the relevant guitar part.

Thing is, I have searched for anything suggesting a connection between "Kelvingrove" and "Uncle John's Band" and haven't found it. So this may be a simple coincidence of notes. Or it may be a new discovery of a long-forgotten inspiration for a piece of a song.

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