Rangers Enter Dead Covers Project

Song Originates from 1928! – Watch Video

Image634659324781770000The Steep Canyon Rangers have been honoring the Grateful Dead for some time with a very authentic yet still very bluegrass version of “Don’t Ease Me In”  

Now they’ve created a video of the tune for entry into a contest sponsored by the website Dead.net called the Dead Covers Project.  

The rules are simple - all video submissions must contain a song either written by or recorded by the Dead. How that song is interpreted, however, is entirely up to the performing artist.

While browsing through some of the project entries we happened to notice a few viewer comments critical of anyone attempting to do “Dead” material. 

Apparently the reasoning behind the criticism is that no one can replace the Grateful Dead so why bother with what they were terming “Poor Imitations”.   

It occurred to us that even the Dead borrowed material from other groups and arranged it to suit their own style and the times.   

Even the song the Rangers have chosen is not a Grateful Dead original.   “Don’t Ease Me In” was first recorded by black blues musician Henry Thomas who enjoyed a brief but notable recording career in the late 1920s.  The Tune was covered by the Grateful Dead on their album Go to Heaven; and Thomas's vintage recording of "Don't Ease Me In" is included on the compilation album The Music Never Stopped: Roots of the Grateful Dead.

We’ve played the Rangers’ version on the radio program several times and even once included a snippet of the Henry Thomas original. 

Now that the Rangers have brought the tune out once again for this project, we thought we’d post three versions of the song here for comparison.  

First the Rangers with their project version, then the Grateful Dead from the 1970 “Festival Express” Tour in Toronto, Canada and finally, the 1928 version by Henry Thomas.

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