A jam band concert worth of work
June 6, 2013 3:26 PM   Subscribe

Locating the scene from The Grateful Dead's Workingman's Dead album cover required an insane amount of research, painstakingly detailed by Bob Egan. He's done this for other famous locations (previously).
posted by mathowie (26 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Very cool. I did something similar to this once, and it was a lot of digging and research and a hell of a lot of fun. I doubt I'd have the gumption do it again, so my hat's off to this fellow for pulling off this trick 30 (!!!) times.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 3:55 PM on June 6, 2013

This is really cool. And, for me, it is impossible to overstate the impact that this album had for me when it came out. I had Live/Dead and sorta worked on appreciating it (even hitched from LA to SF to see them, without my parents knowing), because people in my niche of society were into it, or so they said.

But then they put out Workingman's Dead and it all fell into place. . .
posted by Danf at 4:24 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Incredible, what this guy's done. Wow, he must have a lot of time on his hands to do something tlike this!

I always liked that jacket.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:35 PM on June 6, 2013

*does cocaine*
*commandeers train*
posted by jonmc at 5:02 PM on June 6, 2013 [7 favorites]

I liked "(To read more about it cut and paste this: http://ameliamarshall.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/the-workingmans-stores/ )". If only there were some way to make URLs clickable!
posted by rodii at 5:03 PM on June 6, 2013

Never commandeer a train while high without a monkey to help you.
posted by uosuaq at 5:09 PM on June 6, 2013 [3 favorites]

*watches speed*
posted by jonmc at 5:10 PM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

I admire his enthusiasm and dedication to finding these locations, and it's very cool to know that this one has been nailed down. I always wondered where that cover shot was taken.

::sigh:: The former English teacher in me wishes he had spent a little more time proofreading before he published this particular blog, but w/e...
posted by mosk at 5:13 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thanks much for this; I love this kind of dogged research involving maps and historical archives, and I love that album.
posted by languagehat at 5:23 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

That was fascinating to read, and I'm not even a Dead fan. You have to really appreciate that level of dedication.
posted by ralan at 5:30 PM on June 6, 2013

Nice. Too bad it's all gone.
posted by freakazoid at 5:30 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Let me join the others who have thanked you for this post. Grate stuff!
posted by friendlyjuan at 6:11 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

rodii, the San Jose Working Mans Store is still open (it's about 4 blocks from me), but does not have the cool signage. It does have a nice logo, although it's much more restrained than the album cover. It also has a big Ben Davis logo in the window (a childhood favorite), and they carry the FULL line of Carhardt work clothes, all sizes.
posted by doctor_negative at 6:17 PM on June 6, 2013

Funny, I was just listening to this now...
posted by ovvl at 6:32 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh man, this was fun to read. I love this kind of detective work, on any subject - it just scratches some unknown itch to follow along on this kind of logical progression. Great stuff.
posted by ZaphodB at 7:19 PM on June 6, 2013

God, I miss Pigpen.
posted by koeselitz at 7:44 PM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Very cool. I'm a Dead fan and a big nut for that kind of urban archeology so this hits a sweet spot.
posted by octothorpe at 7:46 PM on June 6, 2013

Wow, this is absolutely what the internet is for. Not only the quirky project & its results, but also the fact that the research itself would have been close to impossible in years gone by.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:04 PM on June 6, 2013

Oh very cool. I saw references to this from some of the local history/map geeks on twitter a while back. Glad to see it got resolved!
posted by gingerbeer at 9:52 PM on June 6, 2013

This is terrific. It's funny, because the guy obviously knows nothing about what he's doing -- he doesn't know what "Queen Anne" is, he's never seen a city directory. But he has something more important than knowledge: doggedness. And he finds out who knows, and asks them. That's actually more impressive that way. He did a beautiful, beautiful job, that's all I can say.

It's a good album, too -- and that's coming from someone who wishes he liked the Dead more than he does. It's their second-best, I think, after "American Beauty".
posted by Fnarf at 10:31 PM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Man, the Nighthawks entry is so good, it is just ... definitive.
posted by vacapinta at 2:49 AM on June 7, 2013

Billy Joel - "52nd Street" must have been pretty easy. Seriously though, I love this sort of obsessive geekiness.

The London ones are great. I was in London when "Morning Glory" came out, and the Selectadisc on the cover (the black fronted shop on the near left side) had the album in the window with stickers pointing to the shop saying "we are here" etc. Someone I worked with came up to me really excited and told me had was wandering round central London and had found the street. Three of us went and they re-enacted the photo.
posted by marienbad at 5:05 AM on June 7, 2013

I was in the photo club in high school, the darkroom had a stereo with turntable and two LPs, Neil Young's "After The Gold Rush" and "Workingman's Dead". I've heard both more times than I can count.

I hope to never hear either of them again. But this was an interesting post.
posted by tommasz at 5:20 AM on June 7, 2013

I hope to never hear either of them again.

OK, dude. S'cool. Lemme put American Beauty on for you, then.

if my words did glow...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:19 AM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

I read along in fascination, but was disappointed he didn't find the location, it was someone else who ultimately found and then told him about it. But his journey of discovery was fun.
posted by stbalbach at 8:49 AM on June 7, 2013

Anybody got $45,000 handy?
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:22 AM on June 12, 2013

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