Talk:Keith Godchaux

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Requested move[edit]

Support[edit]

  • Support. He is the only Keith Godchaux I could find of any notability. youngamerican (talk) 23:12, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Done... plus Donna Jean Godchaux and Donna Jean Godchaux (musician) have been moved to Donna Godchaux --rogerd 02:32, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Oppose[edit]

New Riders?[edit]

Don't think Keith Godchaux was ever with The New Riders of the Purple Sage. If he was, the NRPS page needs to show it. 98.210.102.208 (talk) 22:08, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

I've removed the sentence, which said "Godchaux also appeared with the New Riders of the Purple Sage." He actually did "appear with" them for at least one concert, which ended up being released as the album Worcester, MA, 4/4/73, but the sentence made it sound like he was a member of NRPS, which he wasn't. Mudwater (Talk) 22:53, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Musical style[edit]

Recently there have been a few edits about Godchaux's musical style. At the moment the article reads, "Godchaux never played jazz but incorporated an excellent rudimentary and boogie-influenced piano during his tenure with the Dead, complimenting the band's improvisational approach to rock music." It would be nice to reach a consensus about this. I certainly think Godchaux's playing was not "rudimentary" in any way. It also might be more neutral and encyclopedic, and therefore better, not to say that it was "excellent". As for his actual style, I guess it was boogie-influenced, but it was also jazz- and other genres- influenced. Ideally a reliable reference could be found and quoted. I'm looking at page 411 of A Long Strange Trip by Dennis McNally, and, describing a studio session where Godchaux was trying out for the band, it says, "Even though he'd never practiced Dead tunes, Keith was instantly right. They'd throw him musical curves, Kreutzmann said, and he never missed — he was just a great jazz and free music player." In conclusion, I would tend to favor the previous version of this part of the article, which said, "Godchaux played jazz- and boogie-influenced piano during his tenure with the Dead, complimenting the band's improvisational approach to rock music," but I'd be quite interested to hear other editors' opinions. Mudwater (Talk) 14:51, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Those edits have been made by me based on the fact that I can and will cite every single example of his playing from 1971 - 1974. Never once in his entire career with the Grateful Dead did he play an inversion of a chord, never once did he play a single bebop line in his career with the Grateful Dead. Rudimentary is his style and he played boogie as his variant theme depending on the tune. There's no guessing or mystery to his style. He was an excellent addition to the Grateful Dead and the needed bridge to get them from the Fire Breathing Dragon sound to the Working Quintet sound. Jazz is a measurable sound. It's quantified by set rhythms (primarily swing) and set use of modal and structural harmonies. By any definition you couldn't even call his playing jazzy. He was strictly to the bone, very practical, using triads and block chords and when the band got hot he moved into a easily definable sound of boogie. However, jazz was his not idiom or his palette. Perhaps we can agree based on his actual playing not Billy the K's misunderstood quote - that he played blues.
Who cares what he never played? That was an admittedly horrible addition by me. I will would like to cite Bertha October 23, 1971 as definitive boogie playing. I would like to cite June 26, 1974 I Know You Rider as rudimentary. Rudimentary doesn't mean bad! It's the exact definition his approach. But any show, any jam, any tune, you will not be able to cite anything that constitutes as jazz in his playing.
Keith was a great listener, very solid player and played an integral part in their most imaginative period which was 1971 - 1974. I would say 68 - 70 was their most innovative and bombastic years. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Musicsole (talkcontribs) 21:35, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
I can see that you're serious about the Grateful Dead's music, and that you've given a lot of thought to this. That's good. Another thing to be aware of is that, as a very general rule of thumb for Wikipedia articles, opinions as well as facts should have reliable references. Ideally any article should cite secondary sources. For detailed explanations of this, see, among other guidelines, Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources and Wikipedia:No original research. Because of this it would be better to avoid saying that Godchaux's playing is "excellent" or "rudimentary", unless you're quoting a published source. Also in my view there's room to debate whether or not his playing was jazz-influenced, as shown by the quote from the McNally book (where I think McNally and not Kreutzmann was talking about jazz and free music, although either way it's a published reference). As far as unreferenced opinion goes, I think most people would say that, for example, his electric piano playing on "King Solomon's Marbles" on Blues for Allah is more jazz than boogie influenced. At any rate, I'm certainly open to further discussion on this question, with you and any other interested editors. "P.S." The usual protocol is to sign your discussion page posts by putting four tildes at the end, i.e. put "~~~~" (without the quotes) at the very end. Mudwater (Talk) 22:11, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia is the death of reliable sources and the beginning of plagiarism and nonsense as normal behavior. (But that's another story.) There is no documented source in publication history as Grateful Dead as a jazz band. They took aspects of jazz but never once did they play jazz. They played improvisation which ultimately is immediate composition. I agree adjectives are absolutely useless and should be killed on the spot. There is no debate about his playing as jazz. I completely disagree on that point. Dennis McNally was the Grateful Dead's publicist. He got Garcia reservations at a restaurant. He is not a reliable source to define free music or jazz but I will be, McNally could tell the difference. Kreutzmann approach his drum playing in swing time and use many elements of what defines as jazz drumming. However, Phil Lesh never EVER walked a bass line. He, like Weir were the unique aspects of their playing. Garcia in his prime was excellence but he never played jazz. His closest approach was Eyes of the World using an major 7th chord but the chorus is rudimentary folk! However, Keith never played an inversion over that. Jazz is about inversion and substitutions of chords. I just listened to King Solomon both on record and live. Nope. Not jazz. Just that incredibly wholly original mesh of rock and elements of middle eastern rhythms and tones. Crazy Fingers is a great example of Garcia choosing JAZZ VOICINGS but putting it in a rock context.

Ironically the Dead took the improv approach not from Jazz. They took it from The Paul Butterfield Blues Band album East meets West. The Dead were wholly original and imaginative. Here are two things that I figured out. A) You don't own a piano. B) If you did you would realize how incredibly rudimentary Keith was. I don't mean that as a snide remark on his playing. It's the truth about his playing. There is a show the Dead did and for whatever reason he was up in the mix. December 6, 1973. That is PRIME KEITH. He is killing it start to finish. Check out Loser and you'll hear him play the riff that Garcia used later for Terrapin.

The big picture is we can compose an accurate and respectful entry for Keith Godchaux and his valuable contributions to the Grateful Dead. but jazz is about those flat5 notes and i don't hear any in his playing. Check out Thelonious Monk or Bill Evans, Duke Ellington, Keith Jarrett to sharpen your eyes to how Keith's greatest influence was Little Richard or Jerry Lee Lewis, he copped a ton of Nicky Hopkins style licks too. THIS IS MUSICSOLE! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Musicsole (talkcontribs) 02:40, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

I don't recall anyone suggesting that the Grateful Dead was a jazz band, or that they played jazz. But certainly they were influenced by jazz. I believe I've read that both Garcia and Lesh listened to a lot of jazz, and that that strongly affected the band's approach to musical improvisation, more so I suspect than a Butterfield Blues Band album. At any rate, if you agree that adjectives are best avoided, what do you think about taking out the phrase "excellent rudimentary"? The sentence in question would then read, "Godchaux incorporated a boogie-influenced piano during his tenure with the Dead, complimenting the band's improvisational approach to rock music." Mudwater (Talk) 03:14, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Of course they listened to jazz. Lesh more classical and avant garde and Garcia more bluegrass. First,before I begin to go on a tangent, I like the line. I still say rudimentary was his primary style. Interestingly enough the Dead themselves hardly ever, if at all, talked about their musical idioms. Garcia absolutely was inspired to play the way he did by listening to Mike Bloomfield in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band based on that one album. Garcia's supreme talent besides songwriting was finding the right note and the right time very consistently. I could explain all his measurable talents on his page. But I assure you that Garcia was a Mike Bloomfield clone up until late 1969. Once Weir got his approach evolving that's when Garcia had a better foil and palette to play over. He also at that time was investing alot of time into looking at modal approaches instead of scales. But believe me, that one album East Meets West is where they got their idea to "jam". Listening to jazz as a paradigm is simple. The head is played, then one soloist at a time. The Dead had everyone improvising at once. East Meets West is the origin of that concept.

Wait, you don't recall anyone saying they played jazz? Then how did Keith play jazz influence? That was my main concern. Jazz is a discernible sound. You can tell who is black and asian but you couldn't tell me if there were chinese or haitian without further investigation. Is the haitian guy - black influenced? If you are influenced by something it would show up in your playing. It never showed in Keith's playing. That's what I was trying to get at.

The GD were the greatest american rock and roll band that ever was or will be. In fact, strictly american bands, you actually, ironically, have to reference jazz bands that were in their league. There's nothing like them in recorded history but East Meets West was a direct influence and so was Court & SPark by Joni Mitchell which influenced their 75 material. But Joni actually used all the actual elements of jazz on that album. Chord choices, inversions, swing time, and jazz nuances such as bebop and modes.

Still can't figure how to sign off! Musicsole! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Musicsole (talkcontribs) 19:36, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for the thoughtful and interesting discussion. I'm planning on checking out that album when I get a chance, I'm pretty sure I've never heard it. To sign your posts on talk pages (but not articles), put four tildes (i.e. "~~~~", without the quotation marks) at the very end of your post. I also recommend that you check out the editing tutorial, it's very helpful and has good links to more info. Mudwater (Talk) 00:34, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

East-West is not earth shattering. Their first album is fantastic Chicago blues. It's a true artifact of that time and place. The second album was a stretch. Check out 10.21.1971 Keith's 3rd show 10-21-1971 Dark Star > Sitting On Top Of The World > Dark Star > Me & Bobby McGee - an incredible sequence and a what proves to be a glimpse into their most important phase of March 1972 - October 1974. Personally I think they gave up the ghost by June 1978. Garcia himself had some incredible moments post '78 when he was in the band Reconstruction. It's as if he hated playing in the Dead because he tears it apart in that band. Musicsole (Talk) 00:34, 23 February 2011 (UTC)