One of the great virtues (and there are many) of the Grateful Dead's archiving projects is that research regularly unearths 'lost' recordings about which little or nothing may be known but that, when brought to the light of day, fill in crucial links in this iconic group's history that further illuminate their evolution. Dave's Picks Volume 10, like the so-called 'Houseboat Tapes' that comprise Dick's Picks #35 (Grateful Dead, 2005), is just such a title, with its first reel in place (from, as essayist Gary Lambert recounts, an LA venue of otherwise hazy distinction) now capturing a complete ...read more
With the Grateful Dead's impending 50th anniversary in 2015, the legacy of the iconic band continues to grow. The surviving four members continue to play regularly (with the exception of drummer Bill Kreutzmann) in their respective bands (Phil Lesh & Friends, Bob Weir & Ratdog, Mickey Hart in varying ensembles) with the former two having collaborated extensively over the past few years (in Furthur). Meanwhile, the current archiving of the Dead's vault yields treasures like Sunshine Daydream (Rhino, 2013) as well as the contemporary concert series 'Dave (Lemieux)'s Picks.' In 2011, Real Gone Music began the regular reissue of the ...read more
Jazz, like the Grateful Dead, has never been particularly easy to define. It seems jazz, in its most simply defined meaning, is improvised music. The Grateful Dead have been called a thousand different things since its official formation in 1965, but has rarely been called a jazz band. There have always been and will always be heated debates about which years were the best, which tone of Jerry Garcia's was the best, which keyboardist was the best. I've heard it all: endless interpretations and conversations that go on for hours at college parties and crowded parking lots of Phish and ...read more
Dave's Picks Volume 6 represents an important entry in this Grateful Dead archive series, on its own terms and as a crucial reminder of how this iconic band evolved around the cusp of the 1960's and the 1970's. Plus which, the sound quality of the recordings, originally administered by the famous Owsley Bear" Stanley, is as notable as the evolving style of the group itself.As keyboardist Tom Constanten notes so vividly from a performer's perspective in his abbreviated essay (his last appearance with the Dead is preserved for posterity here), the group was well into the process of ...read more
The plethora of available live Grateful Dead material might be a completist's delight, but it can make for a nightmare for the consumer who just wants a few really good discs. This was a truly multifaceted band, with every facet documented to the point of exhaustion (or even tedium, depending who you ask). At their rootsy best, they could claim kinship with both The Band and The Allman Brothers, and as a longform improvising unit, they could be on par with any, whether it be the Mothers Of Invention or Sun Ra. Different periods brought forth different strengths. Despite a ...read more
Each successive Grateful Dead archive release illuminates a new perspective on the history of a band whose career may be the most colorful in the history of rock and roll. Dave's Picks Volume 5 catches the iconic group on the cusp of two crucial junctures in one of the most prolific stages of its time together.Recorded at UCLA in November 1973, the Dead plays with uncommon poise and good humor, whether skipping lightly through succinct performances such as Me & My Uncle" or allowing itself to flow in and out of an extremely elongated circular passage including segues ...read more
Grateful DeadGrateful Dead: Dave's Picks Volume 3 Grateful Dead/Rhino2012Previous entries in Grateful Dead archive series have documented the quietly courageous, not to mention authoritative, fashion, by which keyboardist Keith Godchaux made a place of himself in the iconic band's lineup late in 1971, having been enlisted when charter member Ron Pigpen" McKernan became too ill to tour regularly. But neitherDick's Picks #35 Grateful Dead/Rhino, 2005) nor Road Trips Volume 1 Number 3: Summer '71 (Grateful Dead/Rhino, 2009) made the case so vividly as does this latest entry in Dave's Pick's ...read more
Though it's graphic design and packaging is markedly different than its immediate predecessor of Grateful Dead archive releases, the initial release in Dave's Picks follows proudly in the tradition of the recently concluded Road Trips (as well as the original series to which this one's title refers, Dick's Picks). Overseen by David Lemieux, chief archivist and co-producer of the previous line, as well as the most recent one-off Grateful Dead titles such as Europe '72 Vol. 2 (Warner Bros., 2011), the legacy of this iconic band is in the most capable of hands. Dave's Pick's Vol. 1 (in ...read more
Set to be supplanted in 2012 by a new sequence of concert recordings dubbed Dave's Picks (overseen by chief archivist David Lemieux), The Grateful Dead's Road Trips archive series ends in stellar fashion with a complete show (plus), capturing the iconic band at one of the highest performing plateaus of its career in one of its favorite cities. Volume 4 Number 5 is a beautifully played and precisely recorded triple-disc set from The Boston Music Hall. The third show of the Dead's first lengthy jaunt since returning from its 1975 hiatus, there's a down-to-earth but nonetheless playful quality ...read more
Throughout the entirety of the Grateful Dead's archival series, Road Trips, the graphics have accurately mirrored the music enclosed and Vol.4 No. 4 is no exception. Lacking the plethora of detail in the cover art as well as the usual array of action photos, the plainness of the packaging reflects what's inside. Five years removed from its hiatus, and having already recognized its fifteenth anniversary two years prior with acoustic/electric runs in its San Francisco birthplace and its adopted hometown of New York, the group was essentially marking time. As the Grateful Dead was rediscovering its roots, its ...read more
Adorned with some of the most colorful packaging in the Grateful Dead's Road Trips archive series, Vol. 4 No. 2: April Fools' '88Jerry Garcia's survival of a near fatal coma in 1986 and the Dead's penetration into mainstream culture in 1987 following its hit, Touch of Grey." This was also a year after the group collaborated with Bob Dylan, so it's not surprising four covers of his songs appear on these three discs. The convoluted lyrics of Ballad of a Thin Man" allows Bob Weir to channel the relish he brings to his singing that sometimes, as on ...read more
Recorded in May, 1969 at a Seminole Reservation in Florida, Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 1 hearkens back to the first golden age of the Grateful Dead. The previous twelve months found the group solidify its personnel lineup with the addition of drummer Mickey Hart, nurture a prolific songwriting relationship with lyricist Robert Hunter and hone a collective and individual improvisational sense, the chemistry of which allowed for what was to be the comparatively short-lived, but nonetheless significant inclusion of keyboardist Tom Constanten. All the while, Owsley Stanley's industrious nature took many forms, most productively in the context ...read more
Taken from two college stops on the Grateful Dead's spring tour of 1980, the latest edition of Road Trips is a three-disc set that, like the very first entry in the series, features the band's lineup with Brent Mydland. At this point a year into his decade-long tenure with the iconic group, the keyboardist's presence helped in various ways to consolidate a new chemistry within the Dead. Neither scintillating nor celebratory, Vol. 3 Number 4 is nonetheless worth hearing as a document of the band, close to its fifteenth anniversary, eminently comfortable in its own collective skin.read more
Grateful DeadFormerly The WarlocksRhino2010 Formerly The Warlocks is an ingeniously packaged set of six CDs and assorted memorabilia that documents two stealth" shows by the Grateful Dead in the autumn of 1989 at the Hampton Coliseum in Virginia. Due to the increasing difficulty in managing the group's live appearances in the wake of its 1987 entry into the mainstream with Touch Of Grey"--from In the Dark (Arista, 1987)--the Dead had been banned from appearing at the Virginia venue. Hence the tongue-in-cheek rebranding." The billing, however, did not indicate any ...read more
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