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Old 04-24-2018, 03:40 PM   #1
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In-Depth Song Discussion #5—Sugar Will

It was requested and here it is. This one I assume will be a pretty active thread. My favorite versions of the song are clearly the ‘04 ones I don’t think any other year they really got it quite the same as it used to be. I really don’t like it now, not that it’s a bad song but it just doesn’t do much for me. The jammy improvisational part of the song is what made it do good and all that was stripped away when it became “finished”. I still think it could be a fun studio track though the change from sweet to good kills me beyond belief.

Heard it live for the first time in 2016 and was throughly disappointed how little it excites me. I think the song suffers having no keys. That being said, I’m still interested how Cavallo would have produced and tackled the song and do really hope it makes it onto this new album or at least the bonus disc. They know we want it, so if they have a finished polished version they should just let us have it.

Best versions of the song? I really love The One with Santana on LT2 GGP personally but really can’t go wrong with any ‘04 version.
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Old 04-24-2018, 03:46 PM   #2
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6/26/04 will always be my favourite version.
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Old 04-24-2018, 03:47 PM   #3
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It's in my Top 10 DMB songs.
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Old 04-24-2018, 03:52 PM   #4
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That one with Jimmy Herring is excellent.
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Old 04-24-2018, 03:56 PM   #5
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maybe not so sweet > maybe not so good
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Old 04-24-2018, 03:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by NiCK Crush View Post
It's in my Top 10 DMB songs.
Probably makes mine as well, at least the 04 versions.

I recently described the main riff as something like an ominous fog rolling in. The long intros really set a tone, and something the newer versions sorely miss.

That being said, I think the "jam" section is still pretty strong today, though not as jazzy.

There is something about the lyrics in the 04 versions that made it sound very personal and sometimes like someone who was really disturbed about something. Maybe not disturbed, but something desperate.

My favorite version lyric wise is 9.3.04. I loved these lyrics for some reason:

"I'm not buying it
You must go off with your same ol' spinning idea
well I've [?done stole you?]
we'll make mistakes
but I don't need to pay for
everyone of them for myself
do you think that you do?

Lonely as I could have been waiting
to hear something from inside of you
but I heard nothing
so I went looking for myself
and found a couple things for myself
maybe not so wholesome
still, I was searching all by myself
I wonder if you knew?"

I too hate the change from sweet to good. I also liked the "What do you think about that" Dave used to throw in before the chorus and verses.
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Old 04-24-2018, 04:00 PM   #7
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My favorite little Dave-ian weirdness in this song is how, after a few performances, he changed the part right after the chorus.

First, a small bit of background - the verse to Sugar Will is in the usual 4/4 time, but the chorus isn't, it's in 7/8 time, so the last half beat of each measure is omitted. If you don't know music theory, this is a good song to get a sense of this kind of thing from, because the riff is totally regular 8th note patterns. You can count "1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8" over top of each repeat of the riff in the verse very clearly, and if you do the same thing in the chorus you'll notice you only count "1-2-3-4-5-6-7".

Anyway. There's the last line of the chorus "not so... sweet", then the two clearly defined riffs, then there's this section where the patterning of the guitar riff becomes ambiguous. What's going on there is that the song is back in 4/4, but Dave is playing the riff in patterns of 7 like the chorus! This means that they don't line up; each repeat of the verse riff happens a half-beat earlier, until the end of that little section where he plays the first four eighth notes of the riff again to make up the difference.

This would be cool as hell anyway, but the fact that the song alternates between 7/8 and 4/4 in the two different sections means that him making this particular creative choice here basically puts the two sections of the song on top of each other, a nicely unifying touch. It's a bit like how Carter plays the verse rhythm on the ride bell during the Grey Street chorus; a subtle little thing that keeps the song feeling whole, not made of disparate parts.

(This sort of thing has been lacking in Dave's more recent songwriting; consider how jarring the break in Shake Me Like A Monkey is, for instance. But I digress.)
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Old 04-24-2018, 04:07 PM   #8
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The Santana one is very good. He gets really into his soloing in the intro, then it gets very quiet, and then they kick into the song. Beautiful.
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Old 04-24-2018, 04:09 PM   #9
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I like the jamal millner one from 04. Tasty electric solo.

That Gorge one from 04 on the SU bonus disc remains the pinnacle of the song.

Change the lyric back to "sweet."
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Old 04-24-2018, 04:10 PM   #10
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Also, I prefer the 04 pacing, but Tim is great on this. Not so much so Rashawn.
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Old 04-24-2018, 04:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roshea999 View Post
I like the jamal millner one from 04. Tasty electric solo.

That Gorge one from 04 on the SU bonus disc remains the pinnacle of the song.

Change the lyric back to "sweet."
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Also, I prefer the 04 pacing, but Tim is great on this. Not so much so Rashawn.
I agree completely.
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Old 04-24-2018, 04:20 PM   #12
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What could have been.

I didn't mind when they tightened it up in 2008/2010. The WH version we have from 2010 is excellent.

They went wayyyyy too far in 2016. It's barely cracking six minutes. A shell of its former self.

Fully expecting a 4 minute version on the new album.
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Old 04-24-2018, 04:26 PM   #13
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A legit version that doesn't get talked about enough: 8/30/2008

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Old 04-24-2018, 05:43 PM   #14
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Not a top 10 dmb song for me, but it's a song that I listen to offten. I mostly listen to 2004 versions of this tune because it's a shell of its former self.

This tune is still fun to hear at a show though
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Old 04-24-2018, 06:22 PM   #15
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I think the lyrics from June 2004 are the best, but the jam was better at the end of the tour. I also think the long intro makes a big difference in setting the ominous tone, at least in relation to the 2004 lyrical theme.

I thought they did a nice job bringing it back in 2008, esp. Dave changing up the lyrics after roi passed. I was pretty surprised it didn't make the cut for BW because of that.

The 2016 performances were disappointing with the jam cut. Sort of like they did to #41.

In terms of favorites, 7.23.04 (Millner) and 9.03.04 (gorge bonus). I really don't like GGP (Santana).
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Old 04-25-2018, 07:01 AM   #16
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From the other thread:

I have a lot to say about Sugar Will (my go-to being 9.3.04).

It is brilliant and unassuming: everyone’s parts are important, subtle, nonchalant, and perfect.

The guitar riff is an awesome simply Dave thing to do and really fun. Trumped only by his ability to improv those lyrics over it NBD.

Fonz is obviously bringing it and so groovy.

Carter is the fucking man for being able to be such a badass without bashing or toe-stepping. I could write an entire post about what he’s doing here.

Boyd’s plucking/strumming prior to the jam is walking toward and away from the progression in a way that brings the whole cohesive sound of it to another level (while not stomping and ruining the fucking thing)

Roi. I think I’ve said enough there. Fucking ROI! That solo plays note for note in my head sometimes.

Butch brings EXACTLY what the tune needs to blend the rest of these elements together. Pair that with what Fenton and the video guys are doing and you’ve got yourself one hell of a fucking awesome DMB performance. This is legitimately one of my favorite DMB concert moments.

There are some newer ones ('08 mostly) that are ok, especially with the addition of Tim. But I don't care for:
-canned horns, ruining the ominous intro
-Sweet to Good - what a dumbass idea
-lack of improv/jazzy jam
-Carter doing away with the shaker for straight hat hits

I totally get that this tune isn't for everyone, but there is some really cool time sig stuff going on here, a really neat strum/guitar pattern, and some really solid improv lyrics in 04 (not to mention Roi). I feel like they basically killed the song after 2004, but at least we have that glimmer of genius to go back to.
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Old 04-25-2018, 08:08 AM   #17
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04 Sugar Will is a classic DMB song IMO. I will still take the song in it's current form, but to me it's really not the same song as it was in 04.

Great song and a real fun one to listen to in 04. This was a song that had a lot of great things that each member of the band added to it.
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Old 04-25-2018, 08:28 AM   #18
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Carter is the fucking man for being able to be such a badass without bashing or toe-stepping. I could write an entire post about what he’s doing here.
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Old 04-25-2018, 05:10 PM   #19
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I only like the 2004 performances of this song, to be honest.
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Old 04-25-2018, 05:33 PM   #20
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A legit version that doesn't get talked about enough: 8/30/2008

Love this one. So good.
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