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Just A Hand To Hold
Composer: Mark Spoelstra

He Was A Friend Of Mine
Composer: Traditional ?

This song, which was performed less than 20 times by the Grateful Dead between July 1966 and March 1970, is given the title He Was A Friend Of Mine on Grateful Dead releases and related reference material, set lists and tapes. It is however the first few verses of the Mark Spoelstra song Just A Hand To Hold. The Spoelstra song is partly influenced by the traditional song He Was A Friend Of Mine.

He Was A Friend Of Mine was performed regularly on the New York folk scene of the early 1960's. It was recorded by, among others, Eric Von Schmidt, Dave Van Ronk and Bob Dylan, though the Dylan version (recorded in November 1961) was not released in 1991. Dylan has said that he adapted it from a song he learnt from Blind Arvella Gray, a Chicago street singer. Roger McGuinn used the Bob Dylan arrangement but rewrote the lyrics for the Byrds version.

Thanks to Alex Allan for information about both songs. For further information and the lyrics of various versions of the songs see the He Was A Friend Of Mine page of his Grateful Dead Lyric And Song Finder site.


Just A Hand To Hold

Grateful Dead recordings

info The Golden Road (1965-1973), 2001
info The Birth Of The Dead, 2003
info Fillmore West 1969 Bonus Disc, 2005
info Road Trips: Vol 4, No 1: Big Rock Pow Wow 69, 2010
info Birth Of The Dead, Vol. 2 (The Live Sides), 2014
info Dave's Picks Vol 10: Los Angeles, 12/12/69, 2014

Other recordings

info Five & Twenty Questions, Mark Spoelstra, 1965
info Kathy & Carol, Kathy & Carol, 1965

 
He Was A Friend Of Mine

info Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt, Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt, 1961
info The Folk Blues Of Eric Von Schmidt, Eric Von Schmidt, 1963
info Ain't Nothing But the Blues, Judy Roderick, 1964
info Wanderin', The Baytown Singers, 1964
no info This Land Is Your Land: Songs of Social Justice, Various Artists (Baytown Singers), 1964
no info Single (He Was A Friend Of Mine / When I'm Gone), Bobby Bare, 1964
info The Goldebriars, The Goldebriars, 1964
info Turn! Turn! Turn!, The Byrds, 1965
info Newport Folk Festival 1964: Evening Concerts, Vol. 3, Various Artists (Judy Roderick), 1965
info The Best of Bobby Bare, Bobby Bare, 1966
info Hey Joe, Leaves, 1966
info Dave Van Ronk, Folksinger, Dave Van Ronk, 1967
info Alive!, The Mitchell Trio, 1967
no info Fred Pike, Bill Rawlings and the Twin River Boys, 1967
info Play It Like It Is, The Country Gentlemen, 1969
no info Breakout!, The Moonshiners, 196?
no info Smokey John Bull, Smokey John Bull, 1971
info Van Ronk, Dave Van Ronk, 1972
info Best of the Byrds: Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, The Byrds, 1972
no info Return Of, The Byrds, 1976
info The Washington Squares, The Washington Squares, 1987
no info Blues In The Bottle, Various Artists (Eric Von Schmidt), 1988
info Inside Dave Van Ronk (comp), Dave Van Ronk, 1989
info The Byrds Box Set, The Byrds, 1990
no info 20 Essential Tracks from the Boxed Set: 1965-90, The Byrds, 1991
info Bootleg Series Vols. 1-3, Bob Dylan, 1991
no info 20 Essential Tracks from the Byrds Box Set (1965-1990), The Byrds, 1992
info Monterey International Pop Festival Box Set: 25th Anniversary, Various Artists (Byrds), 1992
info Songs of Peacemakers, Protesters & Potheads, Various Artists (Byrds), 1993
info Friend Of Mine, Bill Morrisey, 1993
info All American Boy, Bobby Bare, 1994
info From...Another Time & Place, Dave Van Ronk, 1995
no info Scamp, Jerry Jeff Walker, 1996
info Monterey International Pop Festival Box Set: 30th Anniversary, Various Artists (Byrds), 1997
info What A Way to Come Down, Various Artists (The Collection), 1997
info From Greenwich Village: The Complete Washington Squares, The Washington Squares, 1997
info Friends of Mine, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, 1998
info The Early Rebel Recordings 1962-1971, The Country Gentlemen, 1998
info Other Voices, Too (A Trip Back to Bountiful), Nanci Griffith, 1998
info Opus 40 CD single, Mercury Rev, 1998
no info Super Hits, The Byrds, 1998
no info Ultimate Byrds, The Byrds, 1998
no info Flyte (1967-1968), The Flowerz, 1998
no info All-American Boy: 21 Greatest Hits, Bobby Bare, 1999
no info It's About Time, Kit Kats, 1999
info Live at the Fillmore West February 1969, The Byrds, 2000
info The Leaves Are Happening!: The Best Of The Leaves, The Leaves, 2000
no info Acoustic Eclectic, Live Bait, 2000
info Washington Square Memoirs: The Great Urban Folk Boom, 1950-1970, Various Artists (Dave Van Ronk), 2001
no info Private Radio, Billy Bob Thornton, 2001
info The Essential Byrds, The Byrds, 2003
no info Real Folk, Various Artists (Bobby Bare), 2003
no info Live, Josh White Jr., 2003
no info Byrds Won't Fly Today, Various Artists (Dave & The Customs), 2003
no info Down This Road, Gary Wright & Leah Weiss, 2003
no info Watch Your Step: The Complete Recordings 1964-1966, Tony Jackson, 2004
no info Songs from the Southland, Hans Theessink, 2004
info Blood On The Multitracks: Doctor X Does Dylan, Doctor X, 2004
info Real Folk, Various Artists (Bobby Bare), 2004
no info Brokeback Mountain, Gustavo Santaolalla/Various Artists (Willie Nelson), 2005
info Forever Changing: The Golden Age of Elektra 1963-1973, Various Artists (Greenbriar Boys), 2006
info Sweetheart of the Rodeo / Live at the Fillmore West February 1969, The Byrds, 2006
info There Is a Season, The Byrds, 2006
info Essential Mercury Rev: Stillness Breathes 1991-2006, Mercury Rev, 2006
info The Village: A Celebration of the Music of Greenwich Village, Various Artists (John Oates), 2009

  Just A Hand To Hold

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He Was A Friend Of Mine

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