The Austin Chronicle

Watch This: Remembering Doug Sahm and the Grateful Dead’s Impromptu 1972 Thanksgiving Day Jam

By Rachel Rascoe, November 24, 2022, 10:00am, Earache!

On one fateful Thanksgiving Day in 1972, lightning struck at Austin’s hallowed Armadillo World Headquarters concert hall.

That is, Jerry Garcia and Grateful Dead bandmate Phil Lesh shared a stage with Austin’s cosmic groove originator Doug Sahm for a hastily-publicized, totally-free slapdash assembly. A new video from the Society for the Preservation of Texas Music, premiering here, breaks down the Turkey Day insanity. In collaboration with the Austin Museum of Popular Culture and Arts+Labor, the mini-doc features archival footage and narration by Armadillo owner Eddie Wilson.

With the Dead in town for a performance at Austin's Municipal Auditorium the night before, Leon Russell – plus members of the 13th Floor Elevators, Shiva’s Headband, and Greezy Wheels – also joined the one-time jam. The legendary setlist, spanning Bob Dylan to Merle Haggard to Little Richard, is certainly worth a revisit 50 years later.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, and see the video below.

Produced by the Society for the Preservation of Texas Music with the Austin Museum of Popular Culture and Arts+Labor

Jeremy Steinberger / Director, Editor
Vicky Andres / Art Director
Cody Ground / Creative Director
Alan Berg, Leea Mechling / Producers
Special thanks to Burton Wilson, Van Brooks, and Steve Salibo

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