We’ve reached the end of our Unofficial 31 Days of Dead feature. Ed Martin has done a fantastic job of presenting classic tracks from the Grateful Dead’s illustrious history. It’s been an honor to be the new home of this compilation and we’re deeply indebted to Ed for all his hard work in sharing these incredible selections. Also, thanks to Brian Levine for the artwork and for turning us on to Ed’s project.
Truckin’ > The Other One > Morning Dew
12/31/72 Winterland, San Francisco, CA
Thanks Bill Graham > Sugar Magnolia
12/31/72 Winterland, San Francisco, CA
Today is the 40th Anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s amazing performance at Winterland on New Year’s Eve in 1972. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate that milestone than by selecting the “big jam” from that show to ring in 2013. I also threw in Sugar Magnolia as a bonus track. It was Bill Graham’s favorite Grateful Dead song and they usually obliged him with it on New Year’s Eve.
I’m taking the day off to pop the champagne cork. Today’s write-up comes courtesy of the Dead Essays blog. I hope you enjoyed the 2012 edition of the Unofficial 31 Days of Dead. Happy 2013 all!
Not Fade Away > Turn On Your Lovelight
9/19/70 Fillmore East, New York, NY
Here is some high-energy Grateful Dead to get us all primed for New Year’s Eve. Before Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad was introduced in the repertoire (that would happen a few weeks following this show), a Not Fade Away > Lovelight combo was somewhat common. This version is probably one of the finest performances of that pairing (5/7/70 from MIT is a strong contender but the abysmal audience recording makes it almost unlistenable).
This version of Not Fade Away is a personal favorite because Garcia slips in two dazzling thematic jams – a few China Cat licks immediately preceded by the most-developed Darkness, Darkness jam ever played (The Youngbloods). The transition back into Not Fade Away is seamless and the screaming finale led by Weir and Pigpen is exceptionally hot. Without a moment to catch your breath, the band begins the opening notes of Lovelight.
6/6/70 Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA
Coming out of the tribal rhythm of Drums, this swampy Alligator jam is cut from the same cloth as the infamous version performed a year later at the closing of the Fillmore East (4/29/71). Not surprisingly, it also contains elements of The Other One from Harpur College the month prior. While not quite reaching the same amazing heights of either, it is still some outrageously brilliant GD music that is not to be missed.
Download Link: http://www.mediafire.com/?j13y8e8g1735g63
LMA Link: http://archive.org/details/gd1970-06-06.sbd.miller.flac16
- Unofficial 31 Days of Dead: 2010 Edition, 2011 Edition, Dec. 1st, Dec. 2nd, Dec. 3, Dec. 4, Dec. 5, Dec. 6, Dec. 7, Dec. 8, Dec. 9, Dec. 10, Dec. 11, Dec. 12, Dec. 13, Dec. 14, Dec. 15, Dec. 16, Dec. 17, Dec. 18, Dec. 19, Dec. 20, Dec. 21, Dec. 22, Dec. 23, Dec. 24, Dec. 25, Dec. 26, Dec. 27 and Dec. 28
It Hurts Me Too / Beat It On Down The Line (Hidden Track) both tracks with guest performer, Duane Allman on slide guitar
4/26/71 Fillmore East, New York, NY
Inviting guest performers to play with the Grateful Dead was always a crap shoot. Once in a while the gamble paid off and on a few very rare occasions there was magic. One fine example is the Dead’s collaborations with the Allman Brothers. For a great discussion on this pairing see http://deadessays.blogspot.com/2009/08/allmans-dead.html.
Today’s selection and hidden track feature the late Duane Allman lending his soulful slide guitar to a pair of classic cover songs during the Dead’s historic final stand at the Fillmore East in New York City. These tracks are outtakes from the Grateful Dead’s official release, Ladies And Gentlemen, The Grateful Dead. I suppose the powers-that-be could not work out a suitable arrangement that would have enabled these tracks to appear on what is otherwise an outstanding document of that four-night run.
The folks over at Wolfgang’s Vault did a nice write-up of this so I will defer to them:
The next tune is a cover of Elmore James’, ‘It Hurts Me Too.’ This is a classic performance and here Duane is in his element, wailing the blues. Everything jells here and the combination of Pigpen’s bluesy vocal and harp delivery, combined with Allman and Garcia both playing slide guitar, is irresistible. Allman also adds his distinctive signature and a sense of wild abandon to “Beat It On Down The Line,” an electrified jugband tune from the Dead’s 1967 debut album. It’s a shame they didn’t get the chance to stretch out and seriously improvise while Allman was onstage, but what is here is highly enjoyable and documents this historic meeting.
Download Link: http://www.mediafire.com/?rzlnftzx9vfplqr
LMA Link: http://archive.org/details/gd1971-04-26.113839.sbd.flac16
- Unofficial 31 Days of Dead: 2010 Edition, 2011 Edition, Dec. 1st, Dec. 2nd, Dec. 3, Dec. 4, Dec. 5, Dec. 6, Dec. 7, Dec. 8, Dec. 9, Dec. 10, Dec. 11, Dec. 12, Dec. 13, Dec. 14, Dec. 15, Dec. 16, Dec. 17, Dec. 18, Dec. 19, Dec. 20, Dec. 21, Dec. 22, Dec. 23, Dec. 24, Dec. 25, Dec. 26 and Dec. 27
10/12/68 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA
Today’s selection comes from the fabled Avalon Ballroom in 1968. Besides being comprised of absolutely crushing jams, the show is also exciting in the context of the notoriety for which it has become famous. First, it was probably the most mislabeled tape in the long history of Grateful Dead tape trading. In addition, 10/12/68 was allegedly the evening that Jimi Hendrix showed up to jam with the Dead. For a fascinating and detailed essay about those events please go to the Lost Live Dead blog.
Legendary taper Dick “Picks” Latvala is quoted on Deadlists saying that 10/12/68 is among his favorite performances, calling it “Primal Dead.” Here is how the folks over at deadlistening.com describe the term, “Primal Dead” in the great year of 1968:
As far as the Grateful Dead go, 1968 contains a collection of music that is in many ways unparalleled across the vast 30 year span of their career. Like no other year, 1968 never spares a single minute toying around with the idea of taking you on a psychedelic music journey. It doesn’t gently take your hand and lead you down a path which exposes you to some magic land. No, 1968 is more like being run over by a freight train fueled on electric Kool-Aid steam. Drop the needle down at any instance of 1968 Grateful Dead and you’re catapulted directly into the heart of a musical expression so lysergic, so steeped in cosmic adventurism, it defies any true comparison to what we might generally bring to mind as the “psychedelic scene” of the late 60’s. The Dead in ’68 go beyond.
This version of The Eleven from 10/12/68 is simply incredible! It gathers rapidly intensifying speed and energy before exploding into colossal psychedelic earthquakes of rhythm that leave lysergic aftershocks of cosmic guitar lines reverberating through your body. Yeah, it’s that good.
Download Link: http://www.mediafire.com/?kvs98cdhamgoygc
LMA Link: http://archive.org/details/gd1968-10-12.sbd.gans.miller
- Unofficial 31 Days of Dead: 2010 Edition, 2011 Edition, Dec. 1st, Dec. 2nd, Dec. 3, Dec. 4, Dec. 5, Dec. 6, Dec. 7, Dec. 8, Dec. 9, Dec. 10, Dec. 11, Dec. 12, Dec. 13, Dec. 14, Dec. 15, Dec. 16, Dec. 17, Dec. 18, Dec. 19, Dec. 20, Dec. 21, Dec. 22, Dec. 23, Dec. 24, Dec. 25 and Dec. 26
Scarlet Begonias > Fire on the Mountain
4/24/78 Horton Field House, Normal, IL
This version of Scarlet>Fire from the Horton Field House at Univ. of Illinois is often compared to the versions from 2/5/78 and 5/8/77. The band is ON from the start. A controlling presence right from the beginning, Phil slides his bass into Scarlet. The whole group is in complete sync interacting with each other at what seems to be a higher level. Garcia solos long and fluently before handing the introduction of the transition jam over to Donna. Stepping back in, with Phil hot on his heels, he fashions a lengthy dreamy jam that gradually and effortlessly transmutes into Fire.
[Artwork by Brian Levine]
The drummers get locked in and the groove gets thick as Garcia turns the Mutron waaaaay up to a rude and obscenely high level (in a good way). Not to be outdone, Bobby showcases his recently learned slide guitar skills. I’ve heard some people say that Bobby’s slide work here sounds like seagulls being strangled but this is actually some of my favorite guitar work from Bobby! Garcia is so into it that before the final ascent in Fire, he ad libs “Let it burn, let it burn, let it burn.” It may be the only time that he ever did that. Hearing such inspired music from this band sends chills up and down your spine.
- Unofficial 31 Days of Dead: 2010 Edition, 2011 Edition, Dec. 1st, Dec. 2nd, Dec. 3, Dec. 4, Dec. 5, Dec. 6, Dec. 7, Dec. 8, Dec. 9, Dec. 10, Dec. 11, Dec. 12, Dec. 13, Dec. 14, Dec. 15, Dec. 16, Dec. 17, Dec. 18, Dec. 19, Dec. 20, Dec. 21, Dec. 22, Dec. 23, Dec. 24 and Dec. 25
Lazy Lightning > Supplication
11/9/79 Buffalo Auditorium, Buffalo, NY
The very prolific reviewer on LMA who goes by the moniker ‘capn doubledose’ says this version of Lazy Lightning > Supplication is “easily one of the best ever done.” A guy with a name like that would never steer you wrong about the Grateful Dead, right? Alas, this highly charged version was left off Road Trips, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Fall ’79). Huh?
Jerry’s rapid runs over the rhythmic 7/7 time signature in Supplication sound like electrical sparks dancing up and down the neck of his guitar. The ending is simply explosive. I’ll take a double dose, capn!
Download Link: http://www.mediafire.com/?u37445seu7m1cuc
LMA Link: http://archive.org/details/gd1979-11-09.sbd.stern.flac16
- Unofficial 31 Days of Dead: 2010 Edition, 2011 Edition, Dec. 1st, Dec. 2nd, Dec. 3, Dec. 4, Dec. 5, Dec. 6, Dec. 7, Dec. 8, Dec. 9, Dec. 10, Dec. 11, Dec. 12, Dec. 13, Dec. 14, Dec. 15, Dec. 16, Dec. 17, Dec. 18, Dec. 19, Dec. 20, Dec. 21, Dec. 22, Dec. 23 and Dec. 24
Crazy Fingers > Stella Blue
6/26/76 Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL
Performing two ballads in a row to a live audience is risky. But when did the Grateful Dead ever follow the rules of mainstream rock and roll anyway?
[Artwork by Brian Levine]
This Crazy Fingers > Stella Blue sequence is absolutely stunning. Both are played at a slow, soulful pace. Jerry’s delicate vocal delivery is extremely passionate and Team Godchaux brings their A-game. Donna’s sweet vocal harmonies and Keith’s twinkling piano contributions up in the high register are things of pure beauty. The Middle-Eastern jam that floats out of Crazy Fingers has just the right amount of spaciness before dropping into Stella Blue.
Download Link: http://www.mediafire.com/?qpc88v2oep49uyr
LMA Link: http://archive.org/details/gd1976-06-26.mtx.flac16
- Unofficial 31 Days of Dead: 2010 Edition, 2011 Edition, Dec. 1st, Dec. 2nd, Dec. 3, Dec. 4, Dec. 5, Dec. 6, Dec. 7, Dec. 8, Dec. 9, Dec. 10, Dec. 11, Dec. 12, Dec. 13, Dec. 14, Dec. 15, Dec. 16, Dec. 17, Dec. 18, Dec. 19, Dec. 20, Dec. 21, Dec. 22 and Dec. 23
Eyes of the World
6/10/73 R.F.K. Stadium, Washington D.C.
I reviewed the Here Comes Sunshine from this incredible three-set show at RFK Stadium in my 2010 edition of the Unofficial 31 Days of Dead. Just as deserving of serious attention is the gorgeous, ethereal Eyes of the World that kicks off the second set. Clocking in at over 20 minutes, this standout version of Eyes in its prime is probably one of the longest ever.
The jazzy interplay between all band members is sublime. Billy in particular is at his all-time best, making great use of splashing and bell-ringing cymbals. Bob’s sharp rhythm guitar complements the percussion madness creating a dance-like atmosphere. Keith also rises to the occasion adding some tasty piano flourishes. The rapid hallucinatory flight of Garcia’s notes blossom into colors and fractal images and the “Stronger Than Dirt” jam is extremely tight and played very confidently. For this Eyes, the energy ranks right up there with the versions from 8/6/74 and 10/19/74. Eventually things become looser and the music drifts off into a blues-like dirge.
Download Link: http://www.mediafire.com/?6344rdk3z723k41
LMA Link: http://archive.org/details/gd1973-06-10.sbd.flac16
- Unofficial 31 Days of Dead: 2010 Edition, 2011 Edition, Dec. 1st, Dec. 2nd, Dec. 3, Dec. 4, Dec. 5, Dec. 6, Dec. 7, Dec. 8, Dec. 9, Dec. 10, Dec. 11, Dec. 12, Dec. 13, Dec. 14, Dec. 15, Dec. 16, Dec. 17, Dec. 18, Dec. 19, Dec. 20, Dec. 21 and Dec. 22
Weather Report Suite > Let It Grow > Spanish Jam
7/19/74 Selland Arena, Fresno, CA
I first heard this version of Weather Report Suite on the Grateful Dead Hour radio program sometime in the late 1980′s. It was not a show that circulated at the time so it was very exciting to hear a pristine soundboard of something “new” from the great year of 1974. I recorded it on a Maxell XL-IIS cassette and it quickly became the go-to tape that I played for everybody.
The composed portion of the song is performed superbly. It’s not at the same level as 6/18/74 which is the high water mark in my opinion (See Road Trips, Vol. 2, No. 3; Wall of Sound) but it is still exceptional. The sprightly Let It Grow that follows feels like warm sunshine. However, towards the end of the jam the tone of the music quickly takes a wicked left turn becoming more dark and menacing.
Help On The Way > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower
5/9/77 Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, NY
On the day after Cornell there was still musical brilliance in the Grateful Dead. Last week we enjoyed a selection from the night before Cornell. Therefore, I thought it might be nice to bookend Cornell with a selection from the next evening in Buffalo to prove that there was life after Cornell.
[Image via Fuck Yes Grateful Dead]
From the moment the band slams into the first note of Help on the Way it is abundantly clear that they mean business. The ensuing Slipknot! is my all-time favorite. The composed piece is tight and focused while the jam is powerful yet spacey at the same time. Bobby’s guitar work is fantastic and Jerry is in shred mode. I especially love their interaction together during the 6:47-6:56 minute mark. There is no doubt that most of you are familiar with this masterpiece so I will let you just listen to the music play.
Download Link: http://www.mediafire.com/?tm3zvv9x2v7bz3s
LMA Link: http://archive.org/details/gd1977-05-09.sbd.shnf
- Unofficial 31 Days of Dead: 2010 Edition, 2011 Edition, Dec. 1st, Dec. 2nd, Dec. 3, Dec. 4, Dec. 5, Dec. 6, Dec. 7, Dec. 8, Dec. 9, Dec. 10, Dec. 11, Dec. 12, Dec. 13, Dec. 14, Dec. 15, Dec. 16, Dec. 17, Dec. 18, Dec. 19 and Dec. 20
If you are in the New York City area tonight and don’t have plans then you are invited to come check out my GD tribute band, Bear’s Choice. We are playing at Hill Country Barbecue (30 West 26th St). No cover. Music starts at 9:30 PM. Check out our Soundcloud page here.
2/21/95 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, UT
Being a Deadhead in the 1990′s was similar in many ways to being a New York Mets fan. Since I am a fan of both I feel uniquely qualified to comment. Needless to say, a great deal of time is spent hoping and praying for any small kind of miracle to happen but more often than not your band/team disappoints you. Despite all of the repeated heartbreaks, you try to remain strong and loyal but deep down your spirit is slowly breaking with each let down. And just when you think you can’t take it any longer – BAM – your heroes surprise you with other-worldly magic that keeps your dreams alive.
In 1995, Deadheads witnessed a precipitous and alarming decline in Jerry’s appearance and musical performance. He often seemed lost onstage and both his singing and guitar playing was frustratingly inaudible. Despite these problems there were also moments of greatness that gave us hope. These precious moments included the debut of Unbroken Chain (3/19), the raging double-time finish in Iko Iko in Philly (3/18) and this towering version of Black-Throated Wind in Salt Lake City (2/21).
With an acoustic guitar strapped on his shoulder, Bobby charged into one of the very best versions of BT Wind since its comeback. The finale is one for the ages as he throws himself into the microphone, growling the lyrics while Jerry triumphantly wails away with his trademark licks. Hearing this kind of magic is incredibly uplifting and makes all of that pain and misery worth it…well, almost!
In the immortal words of Tug McGraw, “Ya Gotta Believe.”
Download Link: http://www.mediafire.com/?hwzbzdg4k4bd37t
LMA Link: http://archive.org/details/gd1995-02-21.sbd.flac16
- Unofficial 31 Days of Dead: 2010 Edition, 2011 Edition, Dec. 1st, Dec. 2nd, Dec. 3, Dec. 4, Dec. 5, Dec. 6, Dec. 7, Dec. 8, Dec. 9, Dec. 10, Dec. 11, Dec. 12, Dec. 13, Dec. 14, Dec. 15, Dec. 16, Dec. 17, Dec. 18 and Dec. 19
Jam > Jack-A-Roe
11/20/78 Cleveland Music Hall, Cleveland, OH
Here is something different – a second set that begins with a JAM! Sadly, this rare deviation from the norm was attempted only a handful times and in each instance greatness resulted. Two shows immediately come to mind: 6/23/74 Miami (Jam > Ship of Fools) and 6/26/74 Providence (Jam > China > Rider).
Much like those instances the band begins this jam from Cleveland Music Hall with some noodling that gradually develops like growing tendrils. The drummers are relentless the way they drive the jamming. Garcia makes several attempts to slow things down but the drummers must press on with important tribal work. Jerry offsets the heavy percussion with a spacey wah-wah toned solo that is dark, drippy and manic. Over the course of the jam he trills, bends and throws notes all over the place. Eventually this drops into Jack-A-Roe of all things. The reason we love the Grateful Dead is for moments like this when anything can happen. Jerry’s vocal delivery is beautiful. Especially notable is the subtle way he sings, “your cheeks too red and rosy…” Who could have predicted that Garcia’s voice would be completely shot four days later at the Capitol Theater?
Download Link: http://www.mediafire.com/?wpv4dn55nwqkto4
LMA Link: http://archive.org/details/gd1978-11-20.sbd.fix.flac16
- Unofficial 31 Days of Dead: 2010 Edition, 2011 Edition, Dec. 1st, Dec. 2nd, Dec. 3, Dec. 4, Dec. 5, Dec. 6, Dec. 7, Dec. 8, Dec. 9, Dec. 10, Dec. 11, Dec. 12, Dec. 13, Dec. 14, Dec. 15, Dec. 16, Dec. 17 and Dec. 18
Dark Star > Comes A Time
7/18/72 Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, NJ
Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City was not a pretty place to see a concert but the Grateful Dead sure seemed to thrive there. Go figure. In fact, some of their most epic shows were played at Roosevelt Stadium – the birthday show from 8/1/73, the “hydroponic Eyes” show from 8/6/74 (Dick’s Picks, Vol. 31) and the Dark Star from 7/18/72 which is the focus of today’s selection.
[Roosevelt Stadium - Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, NJ,9-JERCI,16-22]
Instead of transitioning from Truckin’ into The Other One as was common at the time, the Dead switch things up and ease into Dark Star. This is the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of Dark Stars. The pre-verse jam stays close to the main theme and is an exploration of melodious beauty and nirvana while the post-verse segment is avant-garde, atonal, terrifying weirdness.
Similar to the Star from 11/11/73 (Winterland), the band starts off with a very relaxed introduction indicating that they are taking their time and want to stretch this one out. The message is the musical equivalent to Harpur College where Jerry tells the audience to “Relax, we’ve got you all night.”
Viola Lee Blues > Feedback
4/12/70 Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA
One of Bill Graham’s most legendary bookings was pairing the Grateful Dead with Miles Davis for a four-night stand in April 1970 at the Fillmore West in San Francisco. Did I mention that Miles Davis was the opening act (gasp!). If that surprises you then rest assured, you are not alone. In his autobiography, “Searching for the Sound,’’ Phil Lesh recalls his anxiety about the unenviable task of following Miles Davis:
“As I listened, leaning over the amps with my jaw hanging agape, trying to comprehend the forces that Miles was unleashing onstage, I was thinking ‘What’s the use. How can we possibly play after this? We should just go home and try to digest this unbelievable shit.’ ”