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Big River
Composer: Johnny Cash

Big River was first performed by the Grateful Dead on New Year's Eve 1971. It was then a part of the repertoire from May 1972 to July 1995, though performed with decreasing regularity through the 1980's and 1990's. In total the Grateful Dead played Big River nearly 400 times.

The original Johnny Cash recording of the song was released on Sun (Sun 283) as the flip-side of Ballad Of A Teenage Queen in December 1957. The catalyst for the writing of the song was Cash reading a magazine article with the headline 'Johnny Cash has the big river blues in his voice.'

Big River was one of the Dylan/Band Basement Tapes songs. It was also recorded by Bob Dylan with Johnny Cash during the Nashville Skyline sessions on February 18, 1969, but not released. Bob Dylan has said that when he first heard the words of Big River they seemed to him like "words turned to bone".



Grateful Dead

info Steal Your Face, 1976
info One From The Vault, 1991
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 1, 1993
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 5, 1996
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 6, 1996
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 7, 1997
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 11, 1998
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 12, 1998
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 14, 1999
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 19, 2000
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 20, 2001
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 21, 2001
info View From The Vault II, 2001
info View From The Vault II (DVD), 2001
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 23, 2001
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 24, 2002
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 25, 2002
info View From The Vault III, 2002
info View From The Vault III (DVD), 2002
info View From The Vault IV, 2003
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 28, 2003
info The Closing of Winterland, 2003
info The Closing of Winterland (DVD), 2003
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 31, 2004
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 32, 2004
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 34, 2005
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 36, 2005
info I Walk the Line: An All-Star Tribute to Johnny Cash, 2005
info Grateful Dead Download Vol. 4: 6/18/76, 2005
info Grateful Dead Download Vol. 8: 12/10/73, 2005
info Winterland 1973: The Complete Recordings, 2008
info Road Trips: Vol 2, No 3: June 1974, Wall Of Sound, 2009
info Formerly The Warlocks, 2010
info Road Trips: Vol 3, Number 4: Penn State/Cornell, 1980, 2010
info Road Trips: Vol 4, Number 3: Denver 1973, 2011
info Europe '72, The Complete Recordings, 2011
info Road Trips: Vol 4, No. 5: Boston Music Hall 6.9.76, 2011
info Europe '72: Luxembourg, 5/16/1972, 2011
info Dave's Picks Vol. 2: Hartford, CT, 7/31/74, 2012
info Dave's Picks Vol. 4: Williamsburg, VA, 9/24/76
info Dave's Picks Vol. 5: Pauley Pavilion, 17/11/73, 2013
info May 1977 (box set), 2013
info Dave's Picks Vol 7: Normal, 4/24/78, 2013
info Dave's Picks Vol. 8: Atlanta, GA 11/30/80, 2013
info Dave's Picks Vol. 9: Missoula, 5/14/74, 2014
info Dave's Picks Vol. 11: Wichita, KS, 11/17/72, 2014
info Spring 1990 (The Other One), 2014

The Dead

info Indianapolis, IN, July 25, 2004
info Charlotte, NC, August 18, 2004
info Dead '09: Buffalo, NY, April 21, 2009

Furthur

info July 8, 2010, Lewiston, NY
info September 16, 2010, Eugene, OR
info November 12, 2010, Chicago, IL
info November 16, 2010, Reading, PA
info February 11, 2011, Broomfield, CO
info March 12, 2011, New York, NY
info March 30, 2011, Pittsburgh, PA
info July 15, 2011, Masontown, WV
info July 22, 2011, Bridgeport, CT
info Sept 27, 2011, Missoula, MT
info Nov 5, 2011, Wilkes-Barre, PA
info Nov 20, 2011, St. Louis, MO
info April 7, 2012, Wallingford, CT
info September 29, 2012, Troutdale, OR
info December 30, 2012, San Francisco, CA
info January 18, 2013, Mill Valley, CA
info April 19, 2013, Port Chester, NY
info July 14, 2013, Cooperstown, NY
info Sept 28, 2013, Berkeley, CA

Ratdog

info Wilkes-Barre PA: October 21, 2003
info Toronto ON: October 29, 2003
info Chicago IL: November 3, 2003
info Columbus OH: November 8, 2003
info Columbia MO: November 17, 2003
info Anaheim CA, February 23, 2004
info Portland OR, March 5, 2004
info Ridgefield CT, April 25, 2005
info Baltimore, MD, August 10, 2005
info Cleveland, OH, November 1, 2005
info Tucson, AZ, December 6, 2005
info Reno, NV, December 14, 2005
info North Charleston, SC, March 16, 2006
info Hampton Beach, NH, March 31, 2006
info Alpine, CA, June 26, 2006
info Baltimore, MD, August 26, 2006
info Chicago IL, October 20, 2006
info Westbury NY, November 1, 2006
info Atlanta GA, November 13, 2006
info Concord NH, March 12, 2007
info Jim Thorpe PA, March 16, 2007
info Lincoln RI, July 11, 2007
info Council Bluffs IA, July 20, 2007
info Lebanon, NH, October 28, 2007
info Baltimore, MD, April 8, 2008
info San Diego, CA, July 1, 2008
info Hershey, PA, August 25, 2008
info Munhall, PA, November 1, 2008
info Upper Darby, PA, November 14, 2008
info Rochester, NY, July 12, 2009
info Santa Margarita, CA, September 6, 2009
info New York, NY, October 22, 2009
info Montclair, NJ, February 20, 2014
info Port Chester, NY, March 1, 2014
info St. Louis, MO, March 10, 2014

Phil Lesh & Friends

info Instant Live:June 18, 2006: Bonnaroo Music Festival, 2006
info Instant Live: June 24, 2006, Orlando, FL, 2006
info Instant Live: July 1, 2006, Holmdel, NJ, 2006
info Instant Live: July 7, 2006, Wantagh, NY, 2006
info Instant Live: July 15, 2006, Indianapolis, IN, 2006
info April 4, 2014, Port Chester, NY, 2014
info April 20, 2014, Las Vegas, NV, 2014

Dark Star Orchestra

info DSO Live: Dec 26, 2003, Chicago, IL, 2004
info DSO Live: Jan 23, 2004, Columbus, OH, 2004
info DSO Live: Jan 25, 2004, Charlottesville, VA, 2004
info DSO Live: Jan 28, 2004, Wilmington, NC, 2004
info DSO Live: Feb 9, 2004, Birmingham, AL, 2004
info DSO Live: Feb 10, 2004, Auburn, AL, 2004
info DSO Live: Mar 8, 2004, Baltimore, MD, 2004
info DSO Live: Mar 18, 2004, Teaneck, NJ, 2004

 
Johnny Cash

This list is not intended to be comprehensive.

no info Single (Ballad Of A Teenage Queen / Big River), 1957
info Songs That Made Him Famous, 1958
no info EP (Home Of The Blues / You're The Nearest Thing To Heaven / I Can't Help It / Big River), 1961
info I Walk The Line, 1964
info Original Sun Sound, 1965
no info Big River, 1966
info Story Songs of Trains and Rivers, 1969
info Original Golden Hits, Volume II, 1969
info Showtime, 1969
no info The Legend, 1970
no info Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, 1971
no info Single (Big River / Come In Stranger), 1971
info Sunday Morning Coming Down, 1972
no info Songbook, 1972
info Starportrait, 1972
no info Old Golden Throat, 1975
no info Strawberry Cake, 1976
no info Superbilly, 1977
no info Single (Big River / Ballad Of A Teenage Queen), 1979
no info Country & Western Classics, 1982
no info The Sun Years, 1984
no info The Highwayman, The Highwaymen, 1985
no info Up Through The Years 1955-1957, 1986
no info Country Boy, 1986
no info His Top Hits, 1988
info The Man in Black: 1954-1958, Johnny Cash, 1990
no info The Sun Years, 1990
no info Live!, The Highwaymen, 1991
no info The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983, 1992
no info The Collection, 1992
no info Super Hits, 1994
no info Deep in the Heart of Country, Various Artists, 1994
no info Folsom Prison Blues: The Original Sun Hits, 1995
no info Legendary Country Singers, 1995
no info Kings of Country, Various Artists, 1995
info Nashville at Newport, Various Artists, 1995
no info Rockabilly Portrait, Various Artists, 1995
info The Man in Black: 1963-1969, Johnny Cash, 1996
no info Complete Sun Singles, Vol. 3, Various Artists, 1996
info Vanguard Newport Folk Festival Sampler, Various Artists, 1996
no info In the Country of Country, People And Places In American Music, Various Artists, 1997
no info Sun Kings, Various Artists, 1998
no info I Walk the Line: The Very Best of Johnny Cash, 1999
no info Man in Black: His Greatest Hits, 1999
no info The Very Best of Johnny Cash, 1999
no info Sings the Greatest Hits/The Blue Train, 1999
no info Showtime/Original Golden Hits, Vol. 3, 1999
no info Get Rhythm/Story Songs of the Trains and Rivers, 1999
no info Sings I Walk the Line/Sings Folsom Prison Blues, 1999
no info The Complete Original Sun Singles, 1999
no info The Essential Sun Collection, 1999
no info Super Hits, The Highwaymen, 1999
no info Classic Country: '50s Treasures, Various Artists, 1999
no info Classic Country: The '50s Treasures, Various Artists, 1999
no info The Highwayman Collection, Cash/Jennings/Kristofferson/Nelson, 2000
no info The Sun Years, Vol. 1, 2000
no info Very Best of Johnny Cash, Vol. 2, 2000
no info At San Quentin (Expanded CD), 2000
no info The EP Collection, 2000
no info Greatest Hits of Johnny Cash, Vol. 2, 2000
no info The Very Best of the Sun Years, 2001
no info His Sun Years, 2001
info The Sun Records Story, Various Artists, 2001
no info At Folsom Prison/At San Quentin/America, 2002
no info At Town Hall Party 1958-1959, 2002
info The Essential Johnny Cash, 2002
info At Madison Square Garden, 2002
no info The Legend of Johnny Cash: The First Original Hits, 2002
no info The Essential Sun Singles, 2002
no info I Walk the Line and Other Hits, 2003
no info Cash Sings Cash, 2004
no info Johnny Cash Collection, 2004
no info The Highwayman, The Highwayman, 2004
no info The Core of Rockabilly, Various Artists, 2004
info The Legend, Johnny Cash, 2005
no info Ring of Fire: The Legend of Johnny Cash, 2005
no info Best of Sun Records, Vol. 2, Various Artists, 2005
no info The Original Sun Albums: Complete Collection, 2005
no info The Legend of Johnny Cash, 2005
no info Live from Austin TX, 2005
no info Traveling Cash: An Imaginary Journey, 2006
no info With His Hot and Blue Guitar/Sings The Songs That Made Him Famous, 2006
no info Johnny Cash in Ireland 1993, 2006
no info At Folsom Prison/At San Quentin: The 2 Classic Prison Concerts, 2006
no info Forever Johnny Cash, 2006
no info Country Hit Parade: Country Legends, Various Artists, 2006
no info Classic Country: Killer B Side, Various Artists, 2006
no info The Man in Black, 2007
no info Best of the Sun Years, 2007
no info All Aboard the Blue Train/Original Sun Sound of Johnny Cash/Sings Hank Williams, 2007
no info Classic Country: Killer B-Sides, Various Artists, 2007
no info At San Quentin/Orange Blossom Special, 2008
no info Complete Sun Masters, 2008
no info Wanted Man: The Johnny Cash Collection, 2008
no info Johnny Cash's America, 2008
no info Complete Live at San Quentin/Orange Blossom Special, 2008
no info At Madison Square Garden/Man in Black: Live in Denmark 1971, 2008
no info It's All Country, Various Artists, 2008
no info Johnny Cash & the Music That Inspired Walk the Line, Various Artists, 2008
info The Roots of the Grateful Dead, Various Artists, 2008
no info Johnny Cash Remixed, 2009
no info Original Sun Singles '55-'58, 2009
info Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Live (DVD), Various Artists, 2009

Other recordings

info Mr. Bluegrass, Bill Monroe, 1960
no info You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet Until You've Heard the Shacklefords, Shacklefords, 1963
info Lovin' Sound, Ian & Sylvia, 1967
no info Johnny's Cash And Charley's Pride, Mac Wiseman, 1970
no info The Great Hits Of Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr, 1970
info Family Album, Stoneground, 1971
info High Country, High Country, 1971, Raccoon 7
no info Family Album, Stoneground, 1972
no info Barrel Of Fun, Country Cooking, 1974
no info This Side of the Big River, Chip Taylor, 1975
no info Bluegrass Spring, Shenandoah Cut-Ups, 1976
no info Alive And Well, Bob Luman, 1977
no info Good Rockin' Tonite, Memphis Bend, 1977
no info Second Wind, Delbert McClinton, 1978
info Right Or Wrong, Rosanne Cash, 1979
no info Sweet Southern Girl, Dan Crary, 1979
no info Pursuit of Happiness, Beat Farmers, 1987
no info The Boys Are Back In Town, Nashville Bluegrass Band, 1990
info Bluegrass Suspects, Various Artists, 1990
info Bluegrass 1959-1969, Bill Monroe, 1991
no info In This Life, Collin Raye, 1992
no info Single (That Was A River / Big River), Collin Raye, 1993
no info The Boys Are Back in Town, The Nashville Bluegrass Band, 1993
no info Thanks for Giving Me What I Didn't Want, MDC, 1993
info Long Long Time, Ian & Sylvia, 1994
no info Misery Loves Company: Songs of Johnny Cash, Jonboy Langford & The Pine Valley Cosmonauts, 1995
no info Standing at the Crossroads, Dave Kelly, 1995
no info Rockabilly Stars, Vol. 2, Various Artists (Bob Luman), 1995
no info Country Side, Rosanne Cash, 1996
no info Cowboy in Flames, The Waco Brothers, 1997
no info Bright Lights, Wade Curtiss & the Rhythm Rockers, 1997
no info The Memphis Sun Recordings, Johnny Rivers, 1998
no info Get Rhythm: A Tribute to the Man in Black, Various Artists (Union Avenue), 1998
no info Daddy's Rockin', Vernon Taylor, 1999
no info Travelin' Lite, The Settlers, 1999
info Movin' On 1967-1968, Ian & Sylvia, 1999
no info Cash on Delivery: Tribute to Johnny Cash, Various Artists (Brantley Kearns), 1999
no info 10 Years: 1968-1977, Bob Luman, 2000
no info Rusty Evans & Ring of Fire, Rusty Evans, 2000
no info Rock and Roll Forever, Lemmy & Friends, 2000
no info Dressed in Black: A Tribute to Johnny Cash, Various Artists (Rosie Flores), 2000
no info Americana: Tribute to Johnny Cash, Various Artists (The Penningtones), 2000
no info Ace of Spades, Union Avenue, 2001
info Right Or Wrong / Seven Year Ache, Rosanne Cash, 2001
info Backwards Bluegrass, Cletus and the Burners, 2001
no info Another Day Of Lonesome, The Platte Valley Boys, 2001
no info Songs, Tunes and Riddles, Flying Mules, 2001
no info Trick Pony, Trick Pony, 2001
no info Ritual Rock-A-Billies, Various Artists (Little Boy Arnold), 2001
no info Second Wind/Keeper of the Flame, Delbert McClinton, 2002
no info One Night In America, Charlie Musselwhite, 2002
info Kindred Spirits: A Tribute to the Songs of Johnny Cash, Various Artists (Hank Williams Jr.), 2002
no info Johnny's Blues: A Tribute to Johnny Cash, Various Artists (Colin Lindin), 2002
no info Live at the Spring Valley Inn, 1983, Beat Farmers, 2003
no info Rollin' and Tumblin', Roger Chapman, 2003
no info Riff Burglars, Roger Chapman, 2003
no info Now This Is What We Call Blues, Vol. 420, Various Artists (Charlie Musselwhite), 2003
no info Live from Somewhere Unknown, Willie Heath Neal, 2004
no info We're Gonna Rock, Don Wilson, 2004
no info All Over the Map, American Ambulance, 2004
no info Roots and Branches, Michael Patrick & The Suburban Hillbillies, 2004
no info Today We Kill...Tomorrow We Die, The Hellbenders, 2004
no info Rockin' My Way Around, Art Adams, 2005
no info Rockets Roll, Neva River Rockets, 2005
no info 99 Years, Skinny McGee & His Mayhem Makers, 2005
info Guitarjitsu, Don Trenner, 2005
info I Walk the Line: An All-Star Tribute to Johnny Cash, Various Artists (Collin Raye), 2005
no info Train of Love: A Tribute to Johnny Cash, Various Artists (Brantley Kearns), 2005
info I Don't Miss Trains, The Orchard Boys, 2006
info Secret Agent Man: The Ultimate Johnny Rivers Anthology, Johnny Rivers, 2006
no info I Walk the Line: Tribute to Johnny Cash, J.C.P. featuring Gordon Griffin, 2006
no info Frozen Ground, Bill Chambers, 2006
no info Blue Moon in Your Eye, The Nighthawks, 2006
no info I've Been Known to Cry, Patuxent Partners, 2006
no info Pickin' on Johnny Cash: The Ultimate Bluegrass Tribute, 2006
no info Damage Case: Lemmy Anthology, Lemmy, 2006
no info Fool's Paradise, The Head Cat, 2006
no info A Tribute to Johnny Cash, Floyd Red Crow Westerman, 2006
no info Don't Move, Shannah, 2006
no info Chappo: The Loft Tapes, Vol. 4: Live at Unca Po's Hamburg, 05/03/82, Roger Chapman & The Riffburglars, 2006
info Lovin' Sound / Full Circle, Ian & Sylvia, 2007
no info Live from the Ruhr Triennale, Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez, 2007
no info Psychobilly Box: Rockabilly Roots & Hoots, Various Artists (The Head Cat), 2007
no info Desperado Hits, Various Artists(Shannah), 2007
no info Paid in Black, Various Artists (The Aggro-Nuts), 2007
no info The Early Years 1967-1970, Commander Cody, 2008
no info Playlist: The Very Best of Willie Nelson, Willie Nelson, 2008
no info Live! In Aspen, The Williams Brothers Band, 2008
no info Ring of Fire: The Musical, Original Cast, 2008
no info Angels & Gamblers: Best of 1971-1979, Chip Taylor, 2008
no info Hushabye Baby: Lullaby Renditions of Johnny Cash, Various Artists, 2008

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