Grateful Dead live, Dick's Picks etc - S&D

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With the odd notable exception like 'American Beauty', 'Anthem of the Sun' and a few other studio albums, the Grateful Dead have always been about live performance. It's when you see/hear them live that it all makes sense. And their live albums contain some extraordinary music (as well as some dodgier moments).

But there's just so much of it out there. By my reckoning they released eight regular live albums during the life of the band, but since then the floodgates have opened. There are now 29 Dick's Picks releases, most of them triple CDs, and about a dozen other albums like One/Two From The Vaults, Ladies & Gentlemen, Hundred Year Hall, The Phil Zone etc.

So, what have you heard and what do you like? Are there particular periods (the 80s?) that are no-go areas? Is it only worth bothering with stuff from 68-71?

James Ball (James Ball), Tuesday, 1 July 2003 16:00 (nineteen years ago) link

You've obviously got to start with 'Live Dead'. I listened to it again over the weekend, and it still sounds extraordinary. There may be better versions of 'Dark Star' out there, but as the first one I heard it'll always be the definitive one for me.

James Ball (James Ball), Tuesday, 1 July 2003 16:05 (nineteen years ago) link

yes can we have some ans here. I need to know what to look out for!

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 1 July 2003 16:11 (nineteen years ago) link

I've been piling through a lot of my Dead live Cds/box sets over the last couple of weeks, but I still feel like I'm only scratching the surface. I've got several thoughts about it, but for the moment I'll just say:
1) I've not heard a version of 'Dark Star' that isn't awesome.
2) The quality of the version of a song bears no relation to how good the jamming is going to be after it (i.e. ignore the ropey vocals, there's some good stuff coming along in a minute).
3) Brent Mydland. Oh dear.
4) Donna Godchaux. Oh dear, oh dear.
5) They were something fucking special around 68-71. I feel like trying to pick up every single thing that's been released from this period.

James Ball (James Ball), Tuesday, 1 July 2003 16:14 (nineteen years ago) link

Julio, from the other GD threads you say you really like 'Live Dead'. From that era I'd definitely recommend Dick's Picks 4 (recorded at the Fillmore East in Feb 1970) and Two From The Vaults (from 1968).

James Ball (James Ball), Tuesday, 1 July 2003 16:23 (nineteen years ago) link

search: the dead from 1973-74. totally at the top of their game during this period.

chaki (chaki), Tuesday, 1 July 2003 17:20 (nineteen years ago) link

Reckoning -- The traditional "Live" album for LP release. Quiet, crisp performances. No flubs, all first rate versions, and a pleasure to listen to throughout. 9.6

Dick's Picks #4 -- Fillmore East, February 13-14, 1970 -- Better than Live Dead, but do have a chance of finding it? 9.4

Nightfall of Diamonds -- Winterland, 10/10/89 -- Great sound; a bit noodley in places, but right nice. 8.6

Dick's Picks #8 -- Harpur College, 5/02/70 -- Three-Quarters of this is impeccable; good form, nice song selection - one disc acoustic, one disc electric, and one disc rave-ups (i don't much care for their R&B covers like "Dancing in the Streets" and "It's A Man's Man's Man's World"). 8.5

Ladies & Gentleman... The Grateful Dead -- Filmore East, April 1971 -- A good listen, but it delves a bit too much into the Helter Skelter for strict listening. Works better as background -- but is noteworthy for the block of Pigpen's blues numbers. 7.8

christoff (christoff), Tuesday, 1 July 2003 17:46 (nineteen years ago) link

Harpur College

my alma mater! (aka "the liberal arts college of SUNY Binghamton")

Jody Beth Rosen (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 1 July 2003 18:04 (nineteen years ago) link

I've heard a good bit of Dead over the years, and own a fair amount of albums. I second Dick's Pick's Four... the best album I've heard from them. Live/Dead is of course essential, and I think Europe '72 is as well. It was the first Dead record I bought. It's from a bunch of shows from their Europe '72 tour which is among their very best tours (many would say there best. It's there last tour with Pigpen and their first with Keith). It contains little jamming (disk two has some) and was mainly released because the songs on there had yet to be put to vinyl. It was also a bit touched up in the studio, I believe. I know they recently released another cd from that tour, as well as an expanded Europe '72, though I don't think I've heard either, I believe they're quite good as well.


One From the Vault is strong, too. It's from '75, and was from one of two shows celebrating the release of Blues for Allah. It contains every song from that album (in a better version)--including the title track which is, unfortunately, a total dud, IMO (though I'm hardly alone). The Dead didn't tour in '75 or '76, but this is a strong performance though not essential.


I agree on 68-71 being strong. But so is the Europe '72 tour - 74.Dick's Pick's 12 features the quite famous "Mind Left Body" jam as well as the glorious return of "China Cat Sunflower" to their catalogue.


Pretty much all of '77 is great. 5-8-77 Cornell is their most frequently bootlegged show, and thus essential, though not their best performance. It shouldn't be hard to find. '78 is good too, and then they hit a lull.


I believe it's '83 that I've heard good things about, but I've never taken the time to investigate. '78 was the last time they released a studio album until '87, so I kind of avoid it. In '87 bounced back from a heroin-induced coma, and the band was strong again so I'd seek out some stuff from this era too.


Hope this helped a little. I also have to highly recommend the Jerry Garcia Band (which is mostly just a cover band) release Don't Let Go from '75 with Keith on acoustic piano. It's a very tight, mellow session. With only one guitar in there, you can really hear how good of a guitarist Jerry was when he was on.

Aaron M., Tuesday, 1 July 2003 18:45 (nineteen years ago) link

The other thing about '77 is that it's when they became really, really funky. That's why it's so popular. And as usual, when they were on--which was often that year--they were really on. Many would say it's their best year, and I agree it's definitely one of them.

Aaron M., Tuesday, 1 July 2003 18:48 (nineteen years ago) link

''Julio, from the other GD threads you say you really like 'Live Dead'. From that era I'd definitely recommend Dick's Picks 4 (recorded at the Fillmore East in Feb 1970) and Two From The Vaults (from 1968).''

will do

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 1 July 2003 18:52 (nineteen years ago) link

apologies for the faulty spacing there...

Aaron M., Tuesday, 1 July 2003 19:09 (nineteen years ago) link

Dick's Picks #4 -- Fillmore East, February 13-14, 1970 -- Better than Live Dead, but do have a chance of finding it?

You can still get any of the Dick's Picks from the Dead's own site (gdstore.com). DP4 is $21 plus postage.

James Ball (James Ball), Wednesday, 2 July 2003 15:13 (nineteen years ago) link

No shit? I've been looking for a "gift" copy for years -- Thanks, JB.

christoff (christoff), Wednesday, 2 July 2003 17:16 (nineteen years ago) link

The new Dick's Picks 39 is a six-disc set of two 1977 shows.

Sam J. (samjeff), Wednesday, 2 July 2003 17:45 (nineteen years ago) link

Whoops, that's 29.

Sam J. (samjeff), Wednesday, 2 July 2003 17:46 (nineteen years ago) link

The thing with a lot of live Dead stuff is that even the better gigs have a lot of average stuff on them, but they're worth hearing for the moments where the inspiration hits and they really take off.

So I don't know why they don't release more albums that take stuff from a variety of performances (and eras), cherry-picking the really juicy tracks. 'The Phil Zone' is a good example of this - it's got a great range of stuff, even some not-bad performances from the late 80s. And it's got an absolutely monster version of 'Hard to Handle', which not only rocks like a bastard, it's from an audience tape so you can hear everybody going mental as they crank it up.

(I also wish you could hear more audience on a lot of the Dick's Picks. They capture the music well, but not always the whole occasion. OK, I know they're mostly taken from the mixing desk so maybe that's not possible.)

Aaron or chaki - could you recommend any good Dick's Picks from 73-4 or 77?

James Ball (James Ball), Friday, 4 July 2003 15:39 (nineteen years ago) link

I've been meaning to contribute to this thread, but I wanted to wait for a free moment to audition a bunch of my stuff again. One good thing this thread has done is get me to finally listen to the package of Dick's Picks I got a couple months ago but hadn't listened to yet (well, I threw them when I got them but wasn't able to listen as closely as I'd like): 22 and 26. So far, 26 sounds great! A bunch of rare live Aoxomoxoa songs!!

Mr. Diamond (diamond), Friday, 4 July 2003 15:56 (nineteen years ago) link

#4 and #8 are my favorites (though i kinda stopped paying attention after 16 or so - not for lack of interest but lack of cash)

search GRAYFOLDED - Oswald's "plundering" of over 100 versions of Dark Star from 69-95. Essential drone

Anthem of the Sun and Live/Dead are pretty much perfect legit albums btw

roger adultery (roger adultery), Saturday, 5 July 2003 06:05 (nineteen years ago) link

I was thinking of getting 26, Mr D. The track listing looks very promising, but I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

And I've just looked at the tracks for 22, that also looks tempting. I listened to Two From The Vaults over the weekend, from the same year (and with a similar set). There's something about the sound of the band/Garcia's guitar from that time (68/69). I can only describe it as having a lot more bite.

Completely agree with you roger about Live/Dead - that's the benchmark for me, both the version of Dark Star and the album as a whole.

I was surprised the first time I heard Grayfolded how 'ordinary' a lot of it sounded i.e. not ordinary as such but just like a great extended version of Dark Star, the first CD at least. The vocal 'swooshes' and 'folds' sound good though.

James Ball (James Ball), Monday, 7 July 2003 13:54 (nineteen years ago) link

bump

James Ball (James Ball), Thursday, 10 July 2003 19:43 (nineteen years ago) link

.

James Ball (James Ball), Wednesday, 16 July 2003 11:51 (nineteen years ago) link

ten months pass...
Revive, please.

Just listening to vol 12's lovely version of China Cat Sunflower, as mentioned above by Aaron M.

Any new opinions?

frankE (frankE), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 13:45 (eighteen years ago) link

I really like #16. I feel like the only Dead I ever buy is stuff from 68-70. I just saw #4 at a store and it looks great, after reading this I've decided I need it. Hundred Year Hall is a great set and I enjoy a lot more than the Europe 72 album, which I think sounds kind of neutered. There is a lot of inspired jamming and an absolutely beautiful Pigpen vocal on "Two Souls in Communion." I haven't listened to it in years, though, since my copy was stolen. I have a hard time buying Grateful Dead discs sometimes, although I have no problem listening to them.

Sean Witzman (trip maker), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 13:56 (eighteen years ago) link

Closing of Winterland looks promising.

christoff (christoff), Wednesday, 9 June 2004 15:25 (eighteen years ago) link

one month passes...
the dvd? it's fucking awesome! Possibly my favorite music DVD ever!

i'm too tired to elaborate, but if you consider that Neil Young has Candian citizenship, and if you exclude the American contingent of Fleetwood Mac at their absolute peak, The Dead are the greatest American rock and roll band of all time.

Trux and the Drive By Truckers are tied for me personally, but we're looking through history's lens here, people. The Dead. the fucking DEAD!!!!

roger adultery (roger adultery), Saturday, 24 July 2004 06:16 (eighteen years ago) link

I spent last weekend listening to Ladies and Gentlemen... the Grateful Dead, that 4cd set that Arista put out a couple years back. Fucking PRIME '71 era shit. Absolutely G=god-like. Rog, you gotta get that one if ya don't have it...

Monetizing Eyeballs (diamond), Saturday, 24 July 2004 06:23 (eighteen years ago) link

Also, I really want to see this..

http://usa.festivalexpress.com/

I do have to admit, I didn't get that excited about Closing of Winterland though. THen again, I watched it at like 3 in the morning a couple months ago when I was pretty wiped out. I'll give it another go.

Monetizing Eyeballs (diamond), Saturday, 24 July 2004 06:28 (eighteen years ago) link

I'm a ridiculous Godchaux apologist, FWIW.

haven't tracked down that Arista set - 71, eh? I'm more a 72-77 kinda guy, but will check it out - thanks!

roger adultery (roger adultery), Saturday, 24 July 2004 06:35 (eighteen years ago) link

Wow, a 72-77 guy! I'm impressed. I'm still trying to get with the Godchaux era. I think it will come to me in due time. Do you have that One From the Vault? That one's pretty good, as I recall.

Yeah, the Ladies and Gentlemen thing is '71 but it's pretty song-oriented. Sort of midway between the psychedelic blow-outs and the Europe '72 stuff. It's a nice, pleasant listen. GREAT version of "Bird Song".

Monetizing Eyeballs (diamond), Saturday, 24 July 2004 06:42 (eighteen years ago) link

im a 73 guy and yah the new dvd is great!!

Sir Chaki McBeer III (chaki), Sunday, 25 July 2004 06:23 (eighteen years ago) link

ok, fuck it, Chaki I trust you.. I will watch it again!! It just kind of seemed goofy to me. With the whole dude riding in on a joint at the beginning of the concert. Like, you almost want to shake Bill Graham and the Dead and say, "the 60's are OVER!! Didn't you guys watch 'gimme shelter'??" Plus, the Godchaux. And "Fire on the Mountain" goes on entirely too long. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Dead, don't get me wrong, but that 'FOTM' just goes on too long, sorry. But I will check it out again, as I said...

Monetizing Eyeballs (diamond), Sunday, 25 July 2004 07:20 (eighteen years ago) link

Hmm.. I just started watching it again, midway through the set. You know what? This version of "Friend of the Devil" is really kind of beautiful! Even Donna is kind of endearing right here! Mea culpa.

Monetizing Eyeballs (diamond), Sunday, 25 July 2004 07:45 (eighteen years ago) link

"Even Donna" - wtf?

Donna was probably just as proficient a musician as Phil Lesh (making her twice as proficient as Bob Weir) and an all around great, great vocalist. Her live performances were hit and miss due to lack of proper monitor support, everyone knows that.

She never gets a fair shake. It's not like she was Linda McCartney fer chrissakes.

The Godchauxes broght so much life (not to mention a a very vital jazz-informed musical eloquence) to The Dead. I love Pigpen and Mydland as much as the nxt guy, but the 70s are where it's AT because of Keith and Donna!

roger adultery (roger adultery), Sunday, 25 July 2004 17:54 (eighteen years ago) link

two months pass...
Disk one of Vol. 23 rules. I have to admit, though, that the "China Cat Sunflower" / "I Know You Rider" medley gets sooo tiresome after listening to Dick's Picks.

Rocking the Rhein is good stuff as well.

frankE (frankE), Wednesday, 29 September 2004 18:48 (seventeen years ago) link

the "Dark Star" on Rockin' the Rhein is eyeball-melting

Matos W.K. (M Matos), Wednesday, 29 September 2004 18:54 (seventeen years ago) link

I bought Dick's Picks 22 on a fleeting whim a few days ago.
I'm a little regretful of it now.
Feb '68 show at a Lake Tahoe bowling alley. Vocals are rarely audible (which I guess isn't always a bad thing, har har).
Now I'm wanting Rockin the Rhein.
I think I need a break from the Dead.

Sean Witzman (trip maker), Wednesday, 29 September 2004 19:11 (seventeen years ago) link

I just listened to Reckoning this past Friday night. Always a treat to pull that one out.

Roy Williams Highlight (diamond), Wednesday, 29 September 2004 19:27 (seventeen years ago) link

'Two From the Vault' is v.good...it's mastered or mixed really well for headphones. And at the end of 'Morning Dew' the house pulls the electricity from them, great moment.

57 7th (calstars), Wednesday, 29 September 2004 20:26 (seventeen years ago) link

"It's when you see/hear them live that it all makes sense."

Au contraire. Au contraire.

Hurting (Hurting), Wednesday, 29 September 2004 21:42 (seventeen years ago) link

"The Dead are the greatest American rock and roll band of all time."

i take umbrage with this comment.
and so would CCR.

me rawk.
you snow.

eedd, Wednesday, 29 September 2004 23:18 (seventeen years ago) link

Regarding my last post, in case it's not clear, I mean to say that they SUCK LIVE. I don't get it.

Hurting (Hurting), Wednesday, 29 September 2004 23:20 (seventeen years ago) link


Blues for Allah is the best thing they ever did, according to me

Help/Slip/Frank rules

Jackson, Wednesday, 29 September 2004 23:22 (seventeen years ago) link

Donna's "soulful" scream at the end of "Scarlet Begonias" on Dick's Picks 7 is the most out-of-key singing I've heard on an officially released record.

Mark (MarkR), Thursday, 30 September 2004 03:11 (seventeen years ago) link

apparently there's a letter to the editor in the new Arthur from me regarding The Dead, but i haven't seen it. i can't get it here

roger adultery (roger adultery), Thursday, 30 September 2004 04:49 (seventeen years ago) link

one month passes...
HELP - I'm visiting a well-stocked Deadhead (over 300 shows) who has kindly offered to let me borrow whatever I want from his stash - any suggestions as to what I shld look out for - keep in mind that I generally prefer Dead Stuff w/ LOTS of guitar solos, the freakier the better, and am less concerned abt 'songs' per se

Thank You

Uncle John, Saturday, 27 November 2004 21:20 (seventeen years ago) link

one month passes...
I just got this Jerry Garcia Band 3-CD Kean College set from 1980 that Rhino put out last fall. S'good! I'm just a dabbler in the Dead, but this is close to perfect -- nice sparse 4-piece, warmly recorded, the grooves don't overwhelm the songs and vice-versa -- I mean, the grooves are songlike, and the songs are groovelike. And maybe because he doesn't have to work to make himself heard, Jerry's playing is even more loose and gentle than usual. The solos are like barstool conversations. I think I'm going to be listening to this a lot.

gypsy mothra (gypsy mothra), Sunday, 9 January 2005 08:49 (seventeen years ago) link

yah that shit kicks ass

chaki in charge (chaki), Sunday, 9 January 2005 09:05 (seventeen years ago) link

two months pass...
May check out that Jerry band thing. Has anyone heard the No. 29 6CD thing from '77? Curious about that as well.

Mark (MarkR), Thursday, 31 March 2005 18:07 (seventeen years ago) link

One more chance at an answer re No. 29. I orderd the Jerry Band thing yesterday.

Mark (MarkR), Friday, 1 April 2005 14:01 (seventeen years ago) link

Not sure how good representation of sound pumped out by wall of sound was onstage.

Supposedly one of the main reasons it was designed was to better hear themselves on stage. I haven't dug into a ton of interviews or anything, but I remember Donna saying she rarely heard herself properly onstage until they brought in wedge monitors in '76.

(fun fact: wedge monitors were invented by the Who's soundman Bob Pridden)

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 2 July 2022 18:11 (one month ago) link

I remember Donna saying she rarely heard herself properly

So that was her excuse huh

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Saturday, 2 July 2022 18:30 (one month ago) link

in seriousness I will give that a chance

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Saturday, 2 July 2022 18:31 (one month ago) link

for real the dead in concert circa '77 sound _professional_ in a way that i just don't expect from them, and i'm starting to come around to it

Kate (rushomancy), Saturday, 2 July 2022 21:18 (one month ago) link

xxp the idea that she can’t hear during their wall of sound phase seems a little weak.

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Sunday, 10 July 2022 07:28 (one month ago) link

http://image.email.dead.net/lib/fe93127176650d7b77/m/2/c210f64a-6b25-4bf1-9220-c3c9cc1b53db.jpg

won't let me paste text, but it's ltd.ed. 81-82-83 shows, 2 nights each year, at Madison Square Garden---newly restored, speed correction, notes by David Fricke etc etc--announcement w links:
http://view.email.dead.net/?qs=ca58f8dc75e7affe5e21421196900c0643c26e4b96b3b068e70ac2cf5aba3044e7581b0c5934727f1a4a419d25095ee47d5293fdb18e2ac598eaf4ddfb7299bc42f8f1cce4595c1bff47fcd62271653c

dow, Thursday, 14 July 2022 01:02 (one month ago) link

Dave's Picks 43 was also announced, one of the most exciting in ages: San Francisco 11/2/69 and Dallas 12/26/69 (post-Live/Dead, pre-Workingman's). Two Dark Stars, first full acoustic set.

https://store.dead.net/dave-s-picks-vol-43.html

J. Sam, Thursday, 14 July 2022 12:28 (one month ago) link

I just checked out the "Listening Party." 60s Dead is not really my jam so take my opinion fwiw, but for as much flack as Donna often gets she was a quantum-leap improvement over the harmonies the band are attempting on "High Time." Those are really painful.

Three Rings for the Elven Bishop (Dan Peterson), Thursday, 14 July 2022 15:12 (one month ago) link

After a recent post of a Terminal Island prison concert bootleg feat. proactive jailbird Flora Purim & cool visitors, some more have surfaced--- this 'un extra points for reviving thee classic vision of Owsley and Jerry:

Not sure how many Terminal Island bootlegs there, are but there is this one, too ... https://t.co/9YbTi9vplO

— Tyler Wilcox (@tywilc) July 12, 2022

dow, Saturday, 16 July 2022 01:49 (one month ago) link

‘77 Kreutzmann/Hart just had it together during “Peggy-O”

Western® with Bacon Flavor, Monday, 25 July 2022 03:14 (three weeks ago) link

i stan late '69 dark star. for as much as people think of 1970 dark stars as happening in, well, 1970, a _lot_ of the things that make the 1970-02-13 dark star exceptional are elements that were developed throughout late 69 - space, soulful strut, feelin' groovy, all come out of the period between late august and december of '69.

my fave mind you are still the aud dark stars from '70...

Kate (rushomancy), Monday, 25 July 2022 18:02 (three weeks ago) link

my pick for most slept-on '69 dark star: 1969-07-07 piedmont park

Kate (rushomancy), Monday, 25 July 2022 18:05 (three weeks ago) link

A Closer Look At Lyceum '72: The Complete Recordings

Suspicions confirmed. That was what Phil Lesh thought when he stood outside of Stonehenge. It was April 1972, right after the Dead had played their first two concerts of the historic Europe ’72 tour, and Lesh, Jerry Garcia, and Alan Trist were taking in the sight of that storied landscape and monumental mystery. Scholars still debate its purpose, but for Lesh, the awe-inspiring arrangement of mammoth stones was proof that the kind of archaic wisdom that inspired the Dead was rooted in something deep, powerful, and very real, however mysterious and ineffable. Years later, Lesh recalled the experience as truly life-changing, one he still considered transformative. Salisbury Plain was impressive, an ancient landscape where the legendary Avalon was reputed to house King Arthur’s final resting place, but Stonehenge was myth made real, a site where “the whole concept of places of power” came to life, he told band historian Dennis McNally, with “so much consciousness poured into it that it still vibrates.” The lesson was personal, too: looking at those massive stones “clarified my whole idea of trying to put our music into a place, how it would change,” he explained. “How it could be different.”
It was a lesson that the rest of the tour reinforced, with every stop adding new insights, offering new ways to affirm Lesh’s epiphany. By the time they returned to London at the end of the tour, they were indeed changed, different—and they were eager to show that. The four concerts they played at the Lyceum gave proof of that transformation, something the band recognized when they chose a majority of the tracks for the album documenting the tour from those shows.
Fans could hear the full context of that for the first time with the 2011 release of the groundbreaking boxed set documenting the entire tour, but vinyl offers an analog warmth and presence that speaks to the sumptuous Old World elegance of the Lyceum, and that conveys all of the nuances and dynamics of the music they performed and the ambience that informed those four final nights of the band’s first sustained foreign tour. This set lets us hear that, in a format that harks back to that time, letting us revisit what those shows meant, at the end of a historic tour and a remarkable point in the band’s history. - Nicholas G. Meriwether

"Have a good time. And don't take anything too seriously, least of all music!" - Jerry, Book of The Dead
"Sam's done an incredible job co-ordinating this whole thing. All the musicians really have to do is play. We don't have to worry about technicalities, we just go where we're pointed and hope we're pointed right. We're told there's a bus at two, be on it. People can get that together by now. It's a matter of necessity. If you miss it - too bad. If you're on the bus, you're on the bus." - Pigpen, Book of The Dead


More info etc.
http://view.email.dead.net/?qs=6e87b5378d97f08cd5c2c0d368ab55ca3a609b4dcf973886cee8a163f6aee2fecdfe939375fabb4b24861c8fd416615f794f52df0ec4a88496e5442ce73ed3fe1b3fd22c4ec0ad9a972aa697e0baf2c6

dow, Friday, 29 July 2022 22:30 (two weeks ago) link

Happy birthday to Jerry Garcia, AND to the greatest "Dark Star" this band ever played:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QsoDMEXFXM

J. Sam, Tuesday, 2 August 2022 00:44 (two weeks ago) link

Well that depends. Just how far in do you wanta go?

🌹After a yearslong development process, we're ecstatic to be able to share a project we've been keeping under wraps: AFTER ALL IS SAID AND DONE, a gorgeous dedication to the art, history, and vast community of Grateful Dead tapers.
Folks, it was well worth the wait. pic.twitter.com/CpcCH7hYxt

— Anthology (@Anthology_Recs) August 9, 2022

dow, Tuesday, 9 August 2022 19:05 (one week ago) link

this actually interests me as a historian because what gets lost, i think, from a lot of taping history is what tapes people could _hear_ and when they could _hear_ them. people weren't trading '77 betty boards in '78. like there's a canon of dead tapes, a canon that started out as a tape trader canon and was later revised and reified by the official live releases, and i want to know the history of that canon, how it developed. it fascinates me that all of the early dead boots were '71 boots, that early dead fans were apparently _really_ into '71 shit. i mean i'm not into '71 shit mostly, haha.

Kate (rushomancy), Tuesday, 9 August 2022 20:13 (one week ago) link

rushomancy otm. I’ve always been curious about when Dead tape trading really became semi-established. Like you said, I don’t think the whole Betty Boards thing (and Cornell in particular) was a thing at the time, and maybe didn’t become one until the mid-‘80s.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 9 August 2022 21:57 (one week ago) link

my understanding of the betty boards... i think there's something about it that jesse jarnow has talked about, at least, and my understanding is that there were three batches, and the batch that contained cornell got into circulation around '77? there's a long and convoluted story that iirc basically comes back to the dead family not taking care of their own (not terribly surprising there).

Kate (rushomancy), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 02:18 (six days ago) link

'77, god, i mean '87, the cornell show got into circulation around '87, is my fallible memory.

Kate (rushomancy), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 02:19 (six days ago) link

yeah, that book could be good---I read about one taper, who taught himself and built or hacked his own equipment, with posted results being a circa-'69 Dead show outdoors, in the Bronx: quality very good-to-excellent, I thought. Seems like the band came to some kind of understanding with him, about taping East Coast performances whenever feasible---but when Pig was gone, so was he, forever! I've known several heads like that, but they didn't have his abilities. Hopefully he went on to other bands, beyond the purview of Dead chronicles.

dow, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 03:41 (six days ago) link

(I don't know why some people have always blamed the Dead for his drinking himself past being able to perform, and then to death---according to Rolling Stone's obit, he was hitting the bottle pretty hard when he was 13. But maybe they didn't try to help him, or try as hard as they could.)

dow, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 03:46 (six days ago) link

Sorry to sidetrack, carry on please.

dow, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 03:51 (six days ago) link

(I don't know why some people have always blamed the Dead for his drinking himself past being able to perform, and then to death---according to Rolling Stone's obit, he was hitting the bottle pretty hard when he was 13. But maybe they didn't try to help him, or try as hard as they could.)

― dow

i'm deeply personally interested in the praxis of radical communities of the 1960s and their failures - i do see them as forerunners of a lot of the communities i'm involved in today. so when i talk about the failure of the dead family, it's not coming from a place of dismissal, but an appreciation for what they did, and a desire to take what was good from them and improve on what was bad.

my main feeling is that radical outsider communities such as the dead family have a _duty of care_ to one another. normative institutions hate us, despise us, do not care for us as people _within_ societal norms are cared for, and even though we are not _adequately resourced_ when it comes to caring for each other, even though we can and will fail, this does not mean that we do not have a duty of care - to ourselves above all, most of all, but part of self-care, for me, is caring for community, is being there for others in the hope, not the expectation, that they will be there for us.

my outsider observation is that the dead family failed to _strive towards_ caring for each other. they were, at the same time, inappropriately libertarian when it came to things like pig's drinking, and inappropriately coercive when it came to things like dosing people without their consent. they created toxic situations and refused to take accountability for the results of those toxic situations. big fucking example: altamont. jerry wasn't _to blame_ for what happened, but you know, as much as i hate to lapse into corporate speak a root cause analysis of what happened would have really fucking helped instead of what happened, which was everybody running away and living out fucking outer space fantasies where all the white people get to fly off on wooden spaceships loaded to the gills with cocaine, and everybody else? fuck 'em. the only way crosby was different from the other fucking boomer cishet dudes was that he spoke out loud the things the others put into practice while pretending they weren't. fuccccck, their great idea for a concert was to have an outlaw biker gang riddled with white supremacists be security for a free concert in a Black neighborhood because you can't fucking trust cops, maaaaaaan, so let's get the fucking proud boys to do security instead, and then everybody acts fucking shocked when they murder a Black man on camera. bullshit!

Kate (rushomancy), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 05:51 (six days ago) link

a root cause analysis of what happened would have really fucking helped instead of what happened, which was everybody running away and living out fucking outer space fantasies where all the white people get to fly off on wooden spaceships loaded to the gills with cocaine, and everybody else? fuck 'em.

And this led to the whole, "Oh man, let me get my head together out in the country, man" phenomenon (that was, from a musical standpoint, inspired by Music From Big Pink, but the Band shouldn't be blamed for the shitty, self-centered lifestyle choices that sometimes accompanied that back-to-the-land movement). So the Dead moved out to the country essentially to run away from the damage they were at least partly responsible for causing, but couched it in blameless "wow, man, things are getting heavy out there...we just need to remove ourselves from the situation and groove for a while." It's all laid out (with a complete lack of self-awareness) in Jefferson Airplane's "The Farm" (on which Jerry plays, appropriately enough).

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 13:52 (six days ago) link

Just here to say '71 dead shit is awesome. The 2/18/71 show on the 50th anniversary Workingman's Dead is really interesting:

doomposting is the new composting (PBKR), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 14:31 (six days ago) link

Ooops, meant to say:

First "Bertha" - First "Greatest" - First "Loser" - First "Playin" - First "Wharf Rat" - Mickey's last show until 10-20-74 - E.S.P. show - also: NRPS - this run was recorded for "Skull Fuck"; none of it was used.

You can hear all these songs that became staples in 71-74 being tentatively worked on - all the later possibilities are there but hadn't yet occurred.

doomposting is the new composting (PBKR), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 14:33 (six days ago) link

Maybe a better way to say it is they hadn't figured everything out yet so you can sort of hear other possible roads they could have taken.

Also 71 is really interesting to me because it's the last year of the OG Dead - by 1972 things have changed and they lost some of the early roughness (gaining a lot obv). You still have the faint remnants of pre-1969 acid test Dead, the folky stuff from the 1970 studio albums is still fresh, and you have the beginnings of a lot of live staples from 72-74.

doomposting is the new composting (PBKR), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 14:48 (six days ago) link

It's all laid out (with a complete lack of self-awareness) in Jefferson Airplane's "The Farm"

??
Disagree

Disarm u with a SMiLE (morrisp), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 15:55 (six days ago) link

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but "The Farm" always struck me as the perfect expression of the hippies who had the means and privilege to live out the stoner fantasy of, "What if, like, we could just not have to deal with the hassles and responsibilities of the world, man, and just lay back and groove out in the country?" That said, I actually like the song (and that album) a lot, having only discovered it relatively recently.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 16:37 (six days ago) link

I mean yeah, the song's "about" that, but I don't think it lacks self-awareness -- I think of it as a gentle (good-natured?) nose-tweak of that particular slice of the counterculture.

Disarm u with a SMiLE (morrisp), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 17:03 (six days ago) link

(fwiw, I think the same is also true of, say, the song that pairs "up against the wall, motherfuckers!" with "we are very proud of ourselves...". I think the Airplane were steeped in straight-faced irony)

Disarm u with a SMiLE (morrisp), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 17:07 (six days ago) link

Speaking of 60s etc. communities in San Francisco, Jay Babcock has created a Wordpress about the Diggers, with lots of research, incl. interviews he conducted---here's a deep 'n' wide one with a couple about life before, during, after Diggers (they are not happy to report that Emmett Grogan, one of the relatively best-known Diggers, called them up, looking for volunteers to work security at Altamont, but they already had dibs on a big work party for a house raising, so that was one reason Grogan or somebody got the Angels to do it)
https://diggersdocs.home.blog/2022/03/05/we-had-a-far-more-profound-effect/

(also: Christopher Hill's The World Turned Upside Down is a great read on the original (17th century) Diggers (and Levellers and Ranters and etc.)― papal hotwife (milo z))

And here's the article about Pigpen I mentioned, which doesn't say he was drinking at 13, specifically, but his buddy from way back does remember them hitting it pretty hard from then on, in Pig's case---also shows some attitudes, and mention of "the orphan of the Haight"---quite a time lens, possibly triggering for some, re alcohol abuse:
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/pigpen-mckernan-dead-at-27-46215/

dow, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 17:22 (six days ago) link

I wonder if the tape of his songs mentioned in that article has surfaced, is posted somewhere---?

dow, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 17:25 (six days ago) link

I mean yeah, the song's "about" that, but I don't think it lacks self-awareness -- I think of it as a gentle (good-natured?) nose-tweak of that particular slice of the counterculture.

― Disarm u with a SMiLE (morrisp), Wednesday, August 10, 2022 1:03 PM (twenty-four minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

(fwiw, I think the same is also true of, say, the song that pairs "up against the wall, motherfuckers!" with "we are very proud of ourselves...". I think the Airplane were steeped in straight-faced irony)

― Disarm u with a SMiLE (morrisp), Wednesday, August 10, 2022 1:07 PM (twenty-one minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

Yeah, I can almost see that (the irony, that is). I rarely associate '60s SF bands with irony, straight-faced or otherwise, and Ian MacDonald's assertion that '60s US bands lacked irony entirely is often stuck in the back of my head. I don't think he's completely correct, but I think there's more examples that prove his point than refute it.

And "we are forces of chaos and anarchy, everything they say we are we are, and we are very proud of ourselves" feels less like slight tweaking of their contemporaries/audience, and more like "this is what the establishment is saying about us, so fuck 'em, we'll embrace those labels, true or not."

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 17:31 (six days ago) link

Here's a thing about Pigpen as songwriter:
https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/the-only-self-penned-pigpen-track-on-a-grateful-dead-album/ (title is misleading, since it mentions several things, incl. on the expanded Europe '72

dow, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 17:32 (six days ago) link

xp Hmm, yeah... good read on that line.

Disarm u with a SMiLE (morrisp), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 17:34 (six days ago) link

Btw (completely tangential) - the lyrics of "The Farm" were written by this dude Gary Blackman, who I don't know much about... he was some kind of "associate" of the band (part of their management team?) who has a few songwriting credits here and there on their stuff.

Disarm u with a SMiLE (morrisp), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 17:36 (six days ago) link

(I don't know who gets credit for the farm-animal SFX, lol)

Disarm u with a SMiLE (morrisp), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 17:37 (six days ago) link

The Farm was released on the pre-altamont Volunteers album though. The post-altamont spaceship fantasy cocaine album that Kate hints at was paul kantner's Blows Against the Empire in 1970. And the Dead had already moved away from Haight Ashbury by 1968 so the SF hippie "back to the land" movement wasn't really a reaction to Altamont, it continued to grow after Altamont for sure, but it i think it started more as a reaction to the overcrowding & commercialization of hippies in the Haight.

BrianB, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 17:41 (six days ago) link

Btw (completely tangential) - the lyrics of "The Farm" were written by this dude Gary Blackman, who I don't know much about... he was some kind of "associate" of the band (part of their management team?) who has a few songwriting credits here and there on their stuff.

― Disarm u with a SMiLE (morrisp), Wednesday, August 10, 2022 1:36 PM (ten minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

Oh weird, didn't know that about "The Farm" lyrics!

And looking up the lyrics to "We Can Be Together," I see they were written by Kantner. Maybe this is an unfair comparison, but since he also wrote the following, I don't believe he had an ironic bone in his body:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxnsmRl8x14

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 17:47 (six days ago) link

Well he wrote a memoir titled Paul Kantner's Nicaragua Diary: How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Or, I Was a Commie Dupe for the Sandinistas... that's kinda ironic!

Disarm u with a SMiLE (morrisp), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 18:00 (six days ago) link

Ha! Good point

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 18:05 (six days ago) link

I also have to believe for myself that whoever wrote the lyrics to "Come Up the Years" (Balin or Kantner) was being at least a little ironic, or I'd feel guilty loving the song so much.

Disarm u with a SMiLE (morrisp), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 18:12 (six days ago) link

Worth mentioning that Blows Against the Empire contains a follow up to "We Can Be Together" called "Let's Go Together" also by Kantner and also devoid of irony:

Pre-Altamont Kantner wants to fight America:
We are all outlaws in the eyes of America
In order to survive we steal cheat lie forge fred hide and deal
We are obscene lawless hideous dangerous dirty violent and young
But we should be together
Come on all you people standing around
Our life's too fine to let it die
We can be together
All your private property is target for your enemy
And your enemy
Is we
Da da da da da da da da da
Da da da da da da da da da
We are forces of chaos and anarchy
Everything they say we are we are
And we are very
Proud of ourselves

Post-Altamont Kantner wants to escape Amerika:
Shall I go off and away to bright Andromeda?
Shall I sail my wooden ships to the sea?
Or stay in a cage of those in Amerika??
Or shall I be on the knee?
Wave goodbye to Amerika
Say hello to the garden
So I see - I see the way you feel
And I know that your life is real
Pioneer searcher refugee
I follow you and you follow me
Let's go together
Let's go together
Let's go together right now

BrianB, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 18:17 (six days ago) link

Yeah, by hijacking a fuckin starship!

(that KBC Band "America" song is such a jam, btw... never heard it before)

Disarm u with a SMiLE (morrisp), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 18:23 (six days ago) link

well, he did hijack the word "Starship" for the name for the band going forward from there so it's not as ironic as it sounds.

BrianB, Wednesday, 10 August 2022 18:40 (six days ago) link

the thing you have to understand about kantner's airplane lyrics is that he unrepentently stole half of them. "we can be together", a lot of that stuff _isn't_ him but is cribbed from the pamphlets of the radical group Up Against The Wall Motherfucker (associates of Valerie Solanas) - they called themselves a "street gang with analysis". UAW/MF are specifically a group that has a huge influence on the way i look at how to live in the world, which means that i'm very specifically interested in their failures as an organization. i linked this before but here's a piece i wrote a couple weeks ago where i talk a little bit about UAW/MF and call Bob Dylan a sellout for going electric:

https://www.alanauch.org/wtob/2022/07/26/being-there/

Kate (rushomancy), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 19:08 (six days ago) link

since i know people don't often click on links in message thread posts, i will call out specifically that "we are very proud of ourselves" is an _important_ statement to me. it has a certain resonance and meaning for me, resonance and meaning that the radical hippies of the '60s by and large didn't understand the _significance_ of, i'd argue.

Kate (rushomancy), Wednesday, 10 August 2022 19:10 (six days ago) link

Some trivia to tie this discussion back to the thread topic: both “We Can Be Together” and “Volunteers” are reportedly based on an old banjo lick that David Crosby played for Kantner, which is also the foundation of the Dead’s “St. Stephen.”

Panda bear, my gentle friend (morrisp), Thursday, 11 August 2022 01:14 (five days ago) link

Just finished Long Strange Trip, which I really enjoyed. It made me finally break the 1980 barrier - I listened to Go to Nassau for the first time in its entirety and it's mostly awesome. I was surprised how good the vocals are and how energized they sound. My main complaint about post-74 Dead is how the energy/pace flags, but this was fine.

doomposting is the new composting (PBKR), Friday, 12 August 2022 13:13 (four days ago) link


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