The original artist (AFAIK) is Gus Cannon a black banjo player from the early 20th century and he played a bluegrassey sort of blues music. The three songs are Viola Lee Blues, Big Railroad Blues, and the New Minglewood Blues. When searchlight for YouTube Grateful Dead renditions of Viola Lee Blues (there appears to be only one and that from the Monterrey Pop Festival) I came across the Gus Cannon pieces (see Wikipedia on Gus Cannon. The Grateful Dead renditions are nothing less than history in repetition.
However, there are a lot more examples of history repeating itself that result in a positive outcome. One example is (and I have the details foggy) a British commander in Palestine during WWI was maneuvering to fight an enemy force. He recalled a Biblical story of Joshua fighting a battle in the same area and how Joshua used a relatively unknown mountain pass to maneuver behind and win the battle. Sure enough, the pass was there, and the British commander repeated history.
Learn history not to learn how to avoid repeating it, learn history to learn when to repeat it.
Update: The WWI battle I describe relates to the Michmash Pass and the Biblical account of the original maneuver is documented in 1st Samuel Chapters 13 & 14.