Pearl Jam’s Yellow Ledbetter, For You Santella

Check the recent Deschutes post. Was fortunate enough to be on the river with Chris Santella who is a great writer, a fine musician, and a man who entertains galore. So we were at camp, trying to keep our eyes open, and debating songs, bands, whatever came to mind. I asked Chris, “What about Yellow Ledbetter? What do you think of that song?” And you know what? Chris didn’t know it. Surprised the living shindig out of me. He doesn’t know the song as I pen this right now. I am telling you, he’s in for a treat. This song practically brings tears to the eyes, and I have no idea what I’m hearing lyric-wise. There’s power in this song. A lot of it. Knock your teeth out power. Music. Love it. Chris is going to love this one and I wanted to share it with you, too. Take a minute. If you haven’t heard this previously you are in for an experience. If you’ve heard it I’m sure you won’t say, “No time to listen.” In my opinion this is one of music’s greatest gifts to humanity. And this video doesn’t even showcase the song as well as it could. Mid-1990s would have been the time to record it. Enjoy and let me know what you think. Oh yea, there’s a little Hendrix nugget in here, too. If this isn’t your favorite song, or one of your favorites, let me know why and let me know which ones are your favs. gt


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19 Responses to Pearl Jam’s Yellow Ledbetter, For You Santella

  1. Mat Trevors says:

    Love. This. Tune.

    I used to end last call in the Vodka Lounge with it when I was slinging booze a couple years back.

    • Greg Thomas says:

      Where’s the Vodka Lounge? Sounds like a good place to frequent. Thanks a lot for the comment. gt

      • Mat Trevors says:

        Lava Vodka Lounge, Fredericton, New Brunswick. We had over 50 brands & flavours of vodka in a small, 35-person capacity room. No outside advertising, no signs, unmarked door, etc. Just word of mouth. Mostly filled with other server staff, musicians (a few of them fish bums), a couple politicians & an off-duty cop or two. Very laid-back, strong personality code enforced (i.e., “be chill, have fun”).

        Was/is awesome & the most fun job I’ve ever had. Was cool learning the different brands, mixing different things up depending on the mood/crowd, etc. Music was my ipod: Tragically Hip, Screaming Trees, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, plus some reggae & dirty, rocking, whiskey-chuggin’ blues, so on. Occasionally we’d clear the furniture, hire a DJ & jam 50-60 bodies in there, to keep people on their toes.

        Often I’d shut down, do my cashout, meet up with a couple other ‘bar star’ anglers for dawn patrol fishing until noon, sleep the afternoon, and repeat…being in my early/mid-30s, this ended up taking a toll after a while & I hung up the bar towel to focus on fishing. I miss it though!

        If you’re ever in the area, we have Atlantic salmon, sea-run brookies, muskie, smallies, stripers, pickerel…all within an hour’s drive.

        (wow, this reply ended up being too long. sorry!)

        • Greg Thomas says:

          Sorry? That was an awesome reply. I’m headed to Gaspe a week from Saturday. Hitting the Bonneventer and the Grand Cascapedia for Atlantics. Wish I could swing coming by and meeting up with you and your friends. Maybe New Brunswick next year. If you’re ever in Montana …
          Thanks a lot, really, for the comments. Love to hear people’s great stories. gt

          • Mat Trevors says:

            GaspĂ© is awesome. Sight-casting to salmon when conditions are right. Guys at the shop in F’ton head up at least once a year. I usually go south; Belize next Saturday for me.

            Maybe we’ll do a NB/Montana swap someday!

  2. Greg Thomas says:

    Rip them up in Belize. Are you going to Turneffe Flats or with Huesner on the mainland? Either location, have a blast. You should see some big tarpon. gt

  3. Laura Munson says:

    Perhaps I’m dating myself, but who cares– I thought I was 44 all last year and turns out I was 45. We used to crank this song (Mat– seperated at birth?) at the Still Life Coffeehouse in Seattle (Fremont) while we were closing, mopping up, drinking micro-brew during the heyday of that and also, duh, Grunge. Cobain was still alive. Microsoft was a glimmer in its father’s eye. Email was a foreign entity. Answering machines were new and we hated them. In men’s XXL flannel plaid shirts and Doc Martins. (oh the figures we were hiding…) We rode bikes up and down those hills jacked on excellent coffee, were awesomely fit, felt a little tragic and entitled and blithe, and mostly CREATIVE. Thanks, Greg, for the reminder.

    • Mat Trevors says:

      Greg – Doing the mothership thing for a week with Dylan from FlyWater Travel (the blogger/guide formerly known as Skate The Fly) & a couple other dudes. Super-pumped.

      Laura – I’ll date myself: was in my last year of high school when Cobain went away. I miss wearing combat pants & plaid flannel shirts. Carhartt’s are reasonable substitute, but 16y.o. me would be pissed at current me about the $65 Patagonia plaid flannel I own.

  4. Mike says:

    Yep, great song. The link above is one of my favorite performances ever. Neil Young and Pearl Jam doing “Rockin’ in the Free World”. It makes me smile and brings tears to my eyes simultaneously. Neil was about 50 when they performed this in 1993 and Pearl Jam were in their youthful glory. The joy on Pearl Jam’s faces as they play with their hero makes it for me. As much as I love Crazy Horse, this is the definitive version of this song.
    And as far as dating yourself goes….I was a senior in high school when Neil released “After the Gold Rush”. You’re never too old to rock.

  5. David Moskowitz says:

    Very good song – had not really listened to it before. Great version. As a Neil Young fan, I would have to pick any number of his songs as my favorite but would never cotton to picking just one. Could not do it. Perhaps one for each day of the week. Here is a nod to Neil and to Eddie Vedder:

  6. Geoff says:

    Thanks for the song GT – Anytime that somebody shares a pearl with you is a gift. The Little Wing riff whisked me to a quick Hendrix fix immediately followed by a whiff of SRV and finally SRV’s “Life by the Drop” sufaced. I’ll leave you with that song in mind for you to dig out, dust off and cast into the riffle with the intention of seducing a player up ato take take a sip on this fine Friday.

  7. Deidre Santella says:

    Chris and I are smitten and misty-eyed with awe, choked up and grinning, after viewing together these musical gems, or rather, “pearls”. Man, this is true music, what incredible vibe! We’re having a bromance with these fellas. Chris departs for Kanektok tomorrow, I’ll play these tunes every day at dusk, and he’ll hum them, thinking of each other and our incredible tribe of fish and friends.

  8. Greg Thomas says:

    Dee, Thanks so much for being part of it and your generosity in sharing a gem. You’ve got a real winner and I love the reasons why he’s going to the Chosen River again. Hey, what the hell, I’ll hum the lyrics, too. It will be a Yellow Ledbetter free for all.
    Thank you, again, for letting my tribe grow a little by being with David and Chris on the Deschutes. Great time. Great conversations. Lots of family knowledge shared. And fishing stories, too. Look forward to meeting you. gt

  9. It seems like you’d almost have to go out of your way to avoid hearing that song.

    Also, I’m still rocking the Angler’s Tonic T-Shirt and Buff I won for the Finland photo contest awhile back, so thanks again.


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