Tighten Up Jam

Lyrics: [none]
Music: Grateful Dead

This is the common name for a jam that the Grateful Dead played from around 1969-1971, normally as a part of Dark Star or Dancing In The Street. It is so named because it sounds somewhat like the Archie Bell & The Drells tune "Tighten Up". Some, however, think it sounds more like "Soulful Strut", recorded by Young-Holt Inlimited. See the essay on The Dead's Early Thematic Jams in the Grateful Dead Guide for more information. And see also this Guide To The Tighten Up Jam.

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
      2 Jan 1970 Dave's Picks Vol 30 (note 1)
      2 May 1970 Dick's Picks Vol 8 (note 2)
      5 Oct 1970 Download Series: A Night At The Family Dog (note 3)
     18 Feb 1971 So Many Roads (1965-1995) (note 4)
     31 Oct 1971 Dick's Picks Vol 2 (note 5)
(1) part of Dark Star, starting at about 19.45 and most clear at 23.40. (Thanks to Christian Thwaites for pointing this out)
(2) part of Dancing In The Streets, starting at about 6:00 - one of the faster versions
(3) part of Dancing In The Streets, starting at about 8:30.
(4) part of "Beautiful Jam", starting from the beginning of that jam
(5) part of Dark Star, starting at about 13:25. One of the most clearly-recognisable versions

The Archie Bell & The Drells recording of "Tighten Up" is available on many soul compilations. It was a hit in 1968, which would square with the Dead introducing the theme (consciously or unconsciously) soon after that.

James Brown also played it around that time (it's on his album "Say It Loud And Live: Live In Dallas 1968," though I don't think that track was released until rather later). (Thanks to Christian Thwaites for this info)

Soulful Strut was an instrumental version of the song "Am I The Same Girl". It was released in 1968 (as a single and as the title track on an album), so that timing would also fit in with when the Dead introduced the jam not long after.

Further Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography


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