Posts Tagged ‘Live Dead’

    

In some ways, the Grateful Dead are in fact two separate bands. There’s the studio band, with a robust catalogue of studio albums ranging from psych-rock freakouts to mellow folk rock. They started as a studio band long after they developed the other version of the Dead: the live version, which played shows at Acid Tests and, eventually, football stadiums. Because the central premise of the live Dead was a never-ending quest for some version of perfect — the perfect transition from “China Cat Sunflower” to “I Know You Rider” is possible, if you believe in it — they encouraged fans to tape their shows, and even taped many of their own, meaning their live catalogue is, in some ways, positively endless. It makes the Dead a difficult band to completely grasp, and since 2020 marks their 55th anniversary as a band — and a year where they arguably might be as popular as ever — we partnered with the band and the label to curate eight albums we think give a gateway into the Dead as they were, and opens up different alleyways for listeners to explore.

We start our box with the studio Dead, since the two albums we start with — Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty, both out in 1970 — are the most well-known and accessible albums in the band’s catalogue. In some ways, they made everything that happened after possible, as the albums were big hits, and set the Dead up on legendary tours that gained word-of-mouth reverence around the world.

The next two albums are Live/Dead and Europe ’72, the first being their first release as a live band, and the one that convinced Warner Brothers to let them stay on the label long enough to make the first two albums in our box, and the latter of which is often considered the best commercially released live Dead album, captured on the band’s legendary European tour.

The next four titles are what we consider continuing studies: We have 1973’s Wake of the Flood and 1977’s Terrapin Station in studio Dead, and 1981’s Reckoning and 1990’s Without a Net in live Dead, all four albums giving different snapshots of the Dead as they rolled along their winding road of a career.

As we do with VMP Anthology, picking eight incredible titles isn’t enough: We spared no expense in making these the best sounding albums they can be. We were granted access to the original analogue tapes of seven of the eight albums, and for Without a Net we were granted original digital tapes, since it was recorded digitally. We then sent the tapes to Bernie Grundman mastering, where Chris Bellman cut new lacquers for this project, attempting to preserve the original sound and intent of the Dead as much as possible.

All eight albums come on color 180-gram vinyl, and most of them (Live/Dead, Europe ’72, Wake of the Flood, Terrapin Station, Reckoning, andWithout a Net) are on colour vinyl for the first time as part of this box. Without a Net has never been reissued on vinyl at all until this box set. An original copy of that one in great shape will set you back a pretty penny by itself. We think this box will be filled with definitive editions of these albums that the beginner Dead Head will enjoy, but also will allow the experienced Dead Head to have updated copies of their well-worn editions.

This edition of Anthology will be limited to 7,500, and each set comes in a deluxe box designed by Jeremy Dean, who is known in the Dead community for his work with the Dead iconography. Instead of asking a historian or journalist to write the liner notes for this Anthology, we went to nine artists to give you their personal stories and the history of the albums

The first 3,000 purchasers will also receive an exclusive animated Tetzoscope slipmat. Everyone who purchases will also receive a trial of nugs.net, a site that has exclusive shows from multiple Dead offshoots and much more. And like with all past Anthologies, this one comes with an exclusive podcast series, where two VMP staff members — one who loves studio Dead and hasn’t dived into the live stuff, and one who has never listened to the Dead — grapple with these albums and the Grateful Dead.





 



   

Dead

Live/Dead may not have been the first instance of a band refinancing their studio bills with a relatively inexpensive live release, but it may have been the most successful. The Grateful Dead were $180,000 in debt to Warner Bros. — jacked into the first 16-track mobile facility in early 1969 Recorded over a series of concerts in early 1969 and released later the same year, it was rocks first 16-track live album.. “We were after a serious, long composition, musically and then a recording of it,” said Jerry Garcia. They were also interested in releasing an album more representative of their live performances and actual musicianship, as opposed to the in-studio experimentation of previous albums.

The double-vinyl Live/Dead opens with a side-long “Dark Star,” explores the cosmos further in “St. Stephen” and “The Eleven,” continues with Ron “Pigpen” McKernan’s lascivious side-long take on Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Turn on Your Love Light,” and brings it all back home with a Rev. Gary Davis blues followed by “Feedback” and an a cappella “And We Bid You Goodnight.” On the greatest advertisement for a band’s in-concert capabilities recorded to date, the Dead proved themselves both serious avant-gardists and impeccable roots revisionists — and spent the rest of their career reaffirming it onstage.

The tracks “Dark Star“, “St. Stephen”, “Death Don’t Have No Mercy”, “Feedback” and “We Bid You Goodnight” were later released (with their entire concerts) on the respective February 27th, 1969 and March 2nd, 1969 discs of the “Fillmore West 1969 The Complete Recordings” box set

Grateful Dead