Posts Tagged ‘The Grateful 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.





 



   

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The Grateful Dead‘s first of two 1970 albums, Workingman’s Dead, is about to turn 50 years old this June, and in celebration of that, they’ll put out a 50th anniversary deluxe reissue that comes with a previously unreleased concert recording from Port Chester, New York’s Capitol Theatre on February 21, 1971.

“For an album as important and great as Workingman’s Dead, it seemed appropriate to double the amount of bonus material,” said Grateful Dead archivist and producer David Lemieux.

The show we’ve selected gives a definitive overview of what the band were up to six months after the release of the album and shows the Dead sound that would largely define the next couple of years. From Workingman’s Dead through Europe ’72, the Dead’s sound was Americana, and the live show included here is a workingman’s band playing authentically honest music.”

The original LP was released on June 14th, 1970, and marked a pivotal change for the Dead. Their previous three studio albums, including 1969’s predecessor Aoxomoxoa and the landmark concert LP Live/Dead, also from 1969, emphasized the six-member band’s psychedelic shadings and experimental streak. But with Workingman’s Dead, they scaled back and stripped down for a roots-digging Americana record that gave the Grateful Dead their first Top 30 album. The LP also spawned the Dead’s first Top 40 single, with “Uncle John’s Band”,

The liner notes were written by Rolling Stone‘s David Fricke, who adds, “The Capitol Theatre show was] a great night in what has long been deemed a legendary run, another turning point as the band entered a live era combining the focus of Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty with the exploratory verve of Live/Dead. Many of the classic songs spread across Dead LPs in 1971 and ’72… were introduced that week at the Capitol, and many of them are in this concert, still fresh off the griddle.”The Grateful Dead continued this folk-rock sound on the follow-up album, American Beauty which was released less than five months after.

Workingman’s Dead is a great album for a lot of reasons. From the purple mountains’ majesty of inventive steel guitar and pedal steel (“High Time,” “Dire Wolf”) to the fruited plains of goofy choogles (“New Speedway Boogie,” “Easy Wind”) and the nimble flatpicking and banjo (“Cumberland Blues”), this album is a nation of guitar. Also, I just love the sound of Jerry Garcia’s guitar through the Leslie rotating cabinet on “Casey Jones” and “High Time.”

These songs are harmonically unorthodox, with progressions both lyrical and inspired. The surprising minor key outro of “Uncle John’s Band!” The mid-phrase key change in “High Time!” The ninth chords in “Black Peter,” which feel almost like Satie moves! And, lest it all get too muso, this album plays yin to its own yang: for every wonderfully non-repeating labyrinth like the bridge of “Dire Wolf,” there’s a two-chord blues workout like “Easy Wind.”

The way the drums drop in on the second verse of “High Time” — quietly, stuffed entirely into the right channel, but full of character — feels emblematic of Kreutzmann and Hart’s approach. What a melodic and sensitive double-rhythm section team! There are so many details in the kit playing and percussion that elevate these recordings: the brushes on “Black Peter,” the guiro on “Uncle John’s Band,” the handclaps and maracas (mixed surprisingly loud!) on “New Speedway Boogie,” the beautiful snare tuned high on “Uncle John’s Band,” and elsewhere. The carefully calibrated dynamics and drum tuning throughout are really marvelous.

And let’s not forget: the singing is pretty incredible too. Jerry, taking lead duties on every song except the Pigpen-fronted “Easy Wind,” is at his most commanding and soulful. (“New Speedway Boogie,” “Casey Jones,” “Dire Wolf” and “Black Peter” are particular faves). His performances are brought into sharper relief by the blithely loose harmonies from Bob, Phil and Pigpen that pepper the record and remind me, happily, more of the Wailers than of the Dead’s smoother Californian contemporaries like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young or the Byrds.

There are the occasional hokey old-time tropes about miners and trains and gin — which, hey, Jerry almost pulls off — but many of these images and rhymes have a kind of legitimately out-of-time uncanniness. “Come on along or go alone, he’s come to take his children home” sounds like a lost couplet from a 300-year-old nursery rhyme. These songs feel like stories, but often the particulars aren’t quite clear — like old tales that have shed so many details in retelling that they’ve lost literal sense, but acquired a kind of sculptural presence.

And that’s what Workingman’s Dead is to me: a totem — of America, of a band.

The fiery rendition of “Casey Jones” from that show is streaming now, and you can listen to it and check out the full track list below. The reissue comes out July 10th.

Workingman’s Dead 50th Anniversary Reissue CD Tracklist
Disc One — Original Album Remastered
1. “Uncle John’s Band”
2. “High Time”
3. “Dire Wolf”
4. “New Speedway Boogie”
5. “Cumberland Blues”
6. “Black Peter”
7. “Easy Wind”
8. “Casey Jones”

Disc Two — Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY (2/21/71)
1. “Cold Rain And Snow”
2. “Me and Bobby McGee”
3. “Loser”
4. “Easy Wind”
5. “Playing in the Band”
6. “Bertha”
7. “Me and My Uncle”
8. “Ripple” (False Start)
9. “Ripple”
10. “Next Time You See Me”
11. “Sugar Magnolia”
12. “Greatest Story Ever Told”
13. “Johnny B. Goode”

Disc Three — Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY (2/21/71)
1. “China Cat Sunflower”>
2. “I Know You Rider”>
3. “Bird Song”
4. “Cumberland Blues”
5. “I’m a King Bee”
6. “Beat It on Down The Line”
7. “Wharf Rat”
8. “Truckin’”
9. “Casey Jones”
10. “Good Lovin’”
11. “Uncle John’s Band”

Meanwhile, Bob Weir continues his ‘Weir Wednesdays’ streaming series tonight (5/6) at 8 PM ET with his Wolf Bros show from 11/5/2018 in Nashville. Tune in for free at Facebook.

Rhino isn’t holding back this Record Store Day, planning more than 30 special vinyl releases for Saturday, April 21st, to be sold at all participating retailers. Interestingly, several releases are companion pieces to recent general reissues, offering bonus content from different re-releases and box sets as standalone vinyl. Several singles and oddities are in the mix, from a 12″ of The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy,” to a rare “short version” of Prince’s 1999, featuring only seven tracks from the album on one LP. Picture discs from Yes, Whitesnake, and Cheech & Chong are part of the line-up, and outtakes will be used to create alternate versions of Van Morrison’s Moondance and Fleetwood Mac’s Tango In The Night.

Most interesting for collectors are not one but two reproductions of rare Madonna vinyl releases outside the U.S., the vinyl debut of a promo collection by British hip-hop artist The Streets, unreleased mid-’80s masters from Miles Davis and a pair of vinyl sets covering new and old remixes by The Cure.

Among these titles, announced on Tuesday, now stand alongside previously announced RSD exclusives for Led Zeppelin (their first) and David Bowie. More RSD info is at the organization’s official site, while breakdowns of all Rhino’s new titles are below.

Air, Sexy Boy (12″ Picture Disc) (Parlophone)
Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the French synth duo’s debut, Moon Safari, with this shaped picture disc of the band’s first single. It features art from the original 12″ sleeve. (6000 copies)

Cheech & ChongUp In Smoke (40th Anniversary Picture Disc) (Rhino)
This marijuana leaf-shaped disc features the title track to the comedy duo’s first film (the soundtrack of which is being reissued by Rhino the same week) plus an unreleased version with an extra Spanish verse from Cheech Marin as well as a scratch ‘n’ sniff sticker! (4500 copies)

John Coltrane, My Favorite Things, Part I & II (Atlantic)
This U.S.-only single reissue was first included in a Coltrane mono box set. (1000 copies)

The Cure, Mixed Up and Torn Down: Mixed Up Extras 2018 (Elektra)
Long desired by fans of The Cure, the group’s 1990 remix album will be released as a 2LP picture disc set alongside another double picture disc featuring 16 new remixes of Cure tracks by frontman Robert Smith. The band is celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, so hopefully this is the first in a wave of commemorative titles! (7750 copies each)

Miles Davis, Rubberband EP (Warner Bros.)
This four-track 12″ disc features the title song to an unreleased 1985 album, intended to be Miles’ first for Warner Bros. Records after a lengthy tenure on Columbia. It features a new remix featuring Ledisi, a completed version of the track finished by Randy Hall and Zane Giles, and cover art painted by Davis. (6000 copies)

The Doors, Live At The Matrix Part 2: Let’s Feed Ice Cream To The Rats, San Francisco, CA – March 7 & 10, 1967 (Elektra)
This 180-gram, individually numbered sequel to last year’s RSD release features a set from the band at San Francisco’s The Matrix, which was last heard on a 50th anniversary edition of The Doors’ self-titled debut. (13,000 copies)

Fleetwood Mac, The Alternate Tango In The Night (Warner Bros.)
As is becoming tradition for Record Store Day, this album brings together demos and outtakes from last year’s box set version of Fleetwood Mac’s hit 1987 album. (8500 copies)

The Grateful Dead, Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA 2/27/69 (Grateful Dead/Rhino)
A 4LP box set edition (with fourth side etching) of a beloved Dead show, which has been out of print since its release in The Complete Fillmore West 1969 CD box set in 2005. (9000 copies)

Hawkwind, Dark Matter: The Alternative Liberty/U.A. Years 1970-1974 (Parlophone)
A 2LP collection in a gatefold jacket featuring rare tracks from the 2011 compilation Parallel Universe. (5000 copies)

Jethro Tull, Moths (Parlophone)
This six-track 10″ EP is tied to the 40th anniversary of Heavy Horses, recently reissued by Rhino. (6500 copies)

Madonna, The First Album and You Can Dance (Sire)
Two exciting Madonna titles are due for Record Store Day: first, a picture disc version of Madonna’s 1983 debut, reissued in 1985 after the success of Like a Virgin. This set replicates the original Japanese packaging, down to the sticker. Then there’s a red vinyl reissue of her 1987 remix album, featuring the poster and obi from the European vinyl release. (14,000 copies and 12,000 copies)

Van Morrison, The Alternative Moondance (Warner Bros.)
Constructed from alternates and outtakes from the deluxe edition of Van’s 1970 album, this LP features unreleased mixes of “And It Stoned Me” and “Crazy Love.” (10,000 copies)

The Notorious B.I.G., Juicy 12″ (Bad Boy)
A clear/black marble swirl vinyl reissue of Biggie’s defining single. (9000 copies)

Prince, 1999 (Warner Bros.)
A quirky reissue of an ex-U.S. single-LP, seven-track cutdown of Prince’s breakthrough 1982 double album, with a different cover, even. (13,000 copies)

Ramones, Sundragon Sessions (Sire)
These early mixes of tracks from Leave Home were first heard in the 40th anniversary box set of the album and appear on vinyl for the first time. (10,000 copies)

Lou Reed, Animal Serenade (Sire)
A 3LP edition of Lou’s 2003 live album, its first appearance on vinyl. (7500 copies)

The Stooges, The Stooges (Detroit Edition) (Elektra)
This 2LP set was first made available only at Third Man Record shops (it was compiled by the label’s own Ben Blackwell), but now this collection, featuring the band’s 1969 debut album and handpicked rarities from Rhino’s 2010 deluxe edition, is available at all indie stores. (8000 copies)

Various Artists, Twin Peaks: Music From The Limited Event Series and Twin Peaks: Limited Event Series Soundtrack (Rhino)
These two picture discs feature soundtrack and score, respectively, from the acclaimed 2017 revival of David Lynch’s television series, including Roadhouse band performances and original compositions by Angelo Badadamenti. (11,000 copies and 10,000 copies)

Whitesnake, 1987 (30th Anniversary Edition) (Parlophone)
A picture disc version of the rock group’s recently reissued hit LP, featuring “Here I Go Again.” (6500 copies)

Wilco, Live At The Troubadour 11/12/96 (Reprise)
The premiere 2LP edition of a live set included in the deluxe edition of the alt-country act’s Being There, reissued last year. (8500 copies)

Yes (Atlantic)
The legendary prog-rock’s ninth album, released in 1978, gets a picture disc release. (5400 copies)

Day Of The Dead

The National’s massive triple-disc Grateful Dead tribute album “Day Of The Dead” still keeps throwing out some classic covers. It’s took me an age to get through this album and still I keep discovering some beautiful gems. Already we’ve heard a whole pile of songs from it. the people behind the album have shared most of the tracks, and there are some heavyweights on them. For our purposes, the biggest of these is probably the version of “To Lay Me Down,” done as a funeral duet from Perfume Genius and Sharon Van Etten. Also we get to hear My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James doing “Candyman,”

‘Candyman’ by Jim James & Friends, from ‘Day of the Dead’, is a tribute album to the Grateful Dead curated by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, with all profits going to Red Hot Organization. ‘Day of the Dead’ was released on 20th May via 4AD Records. Featuring an incredible cast list, the compilation is a wide-ranging tribute to the songwriting and experimentalism of The Grateful Dead which took four years to record and features over 60 artists from varied musical backgrounds, with 59 tracks and a duration of almost six hours. The limited edition 10xLP ‘Day of the Dead’ LP boxed set is released today via 4Ad Records, on individually coloured vinyl.

GRATEFUL-DEAD-Various-Day-of-the-Dead-2016-BOX-SET-10-LP-COLOUR-VINYL-Sealed

Among others are Unknown Mortal Orchestra covering “Shakedown Street,” Bonnie “Prince” Billy singing “Rubin & Cherise,” and old-school soul howler Charles Bradley teaming up with soul/funk revivalists the Menahan Street Band for “Cumberland Blues.”

The tracks curated from Bryce & Aaron Dessner ,The compilation was produced by Aaron Dessner and co-produced by Bryce Dessner and Josh Kaufman. Grateful Dead tribute album were released a year ago. Considering the album has 59 tracks, this is just a small sampling. Last March, a whole bumch of covers from the record were released, including takes from the National, Courtney Barnett, the War on Drugs, Bruce Hornsby with Justin Vernon’s band DeYarmond Edison, and Phosphorescent with Jenny Lewis., the National and Grizzly Bear members also performed a’ 17-minute cover of “Terrapin Station Suite” .

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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

The Grateful Dead: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition presents the original 1967 album on Disc 1 and an unreleased concert from July 29th, 1966 in Vancouver, Canada on Disc 2. The first disc has been remastered from the original tapes by David Glasser and restored via Plangent Processes (a tape transfer technique which has been used on other Dead projects). The second disc has been mastered by Jeffrey Norman. Exact packaging has not been revealed, but the reissue will feature new liner notes by Jesse Jarnow. Also being released on the same day is 12-inch picture disc LP limited to 10,000 copies featuring the remastered version of the original album. These releases kick off a series for the Dead which will see similar reissues for every one of the band’s studio albums tied in to the 50th anniversary of each album – which should take the series through 2039

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Grateful Dead‘s debut album, the band will launch a special album reissue series in January that will include two-disc deluxe editions and limited edition vinyl picture disc versions of all the group’s studio and live albums.

Grateful Dead Jerry Garcia — lead guitar, vocals, arrangement Bill Kreutzmann — drums Phil Lesh — bass guitar, vocals Ron “Pigpen” McKernan — keyboards, harmonica, vocals Bob Weir — guitar, vocals

Proceedings kick off on January 20th with the release of a deluxe edition of their self-titled debut. To coincide with this momentous event,