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Grateful Dead: From the Archives '74, '76, & '79

Doug Collette By

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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 group's original series of live titles overseen by the late Dick Latvala. It might be fair to say that, notwithstanding the profound absence of the band itself touring since the 1995 death of titular leader, guitarist/vocalist/composer Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead community has never seen more activity than right now.

Grateful Dead
Dick's Picks Volume Twenty
Real Gone
2014

Recorded by Dan Healy in the autumn of the year after the Grateful Dead's self- imposed hiatus, this four cd set captures the better part of two shows with scarcely an overlapping of the setlists. Yet the (last ever) inclusion of "Cosmic Charlie," and a lovely "Peggy-O" balance the duplication of "Cassidy" and "Dancing in the Streets," the latter appearing as the denouement of a massive segue, comprising virtually all of disc four, including the free-form "Orange Tango jam," (so titled for its appearance within a performance in Syracuse, New York). While at this point it was becoming common for Grateful Dead tour stops to represent more than just concerts, both these shows illustrate how crucial it can be to listen closely to the band as they play: ever unpredictable even as their repertoire was increasingly familiar, instrumental interludes, like that on "Sugaree," could be as evocative as the autumn foliage imagery on the cover.

Grateful Dead
Dick's Picks Volume Ten
Real Gone
2014

Reproduction of a fan letter extolling the virtues of a live concert series of Grateful Dead shows is understatement to a fault compared to the headily enthusiastic essay written by Michael Nash twenty years after the show itself. Perhaps it's the very site of the concert on home turf or the cumulative effect of the Dead's renewed sense of purpose in the year of release of Terrapin Station (Arista, 1977). More probably, it's the combination of those two factors plus the dates on the calendar that turned transcendent the music and, by extension, the overall experience itself. Having achieved hallowed status within the band's lore (like the 'Dick's Picks' series at large), the recording of this show demonstrates how the Grateful Dead's playing could become absolutely charged by the audience response and vice-versa.

Grateful Dead
Dave's Pick's Volume 9
Grateful Dead/Rhino
2014

Once considered as the inaugural title of this archive series, this latest edition of 'Dave's Picks' makes (or reiterates) the case for 1974 representing the absolute pinnacle of the Grateful Dead's performing history. The sound quality emanating from the 'Wall of Sound,' here in its third instance of usage, puts the listener right in the midst of the band (a sextet with single drummer Bill Kreutzmann) within a stereo spectrum marked by bassist Phil Lesh on one side and keyboardist Keith Godchaux on the other. It'd seem those impeccable sonics allow the band to deeply immerse itself in the sound of its own playing, thus greatly furthering their exploratory inclinations. Epochal segues such as the linkage of "Weather Report Suite" and "Dark Star" connect the band's history over time and, in doing so, propel them so far outside the structure of the compositions-and away from set pieces such as "Row Jimmy" and Chuck Berry's "The Promised Land"-the improvisations become orchestral pieces in and of themselves. The recording of this complete show is all the more remarkable in how it how it depicts the space the Grateful Dead traverse in (slightly) less than three hours total playing time.


Tracks and Personnel

Dick's Picks Volume Twenty

Tracks: Capital Centre Landover, MD 9/25/76 CD 1: Bertha; New Minglewood Blues; Ramble On Rose; Cassidy; Brown-Eyed Woman; Mama Tried; Peggy- O; Loser; Let It Grow; Sugaree; Lazy Lightnin'; Supplication. CD 2: Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo; Dancing in the Streets; Cosmic Charlie; Scarlet Begonias; St. Stephen; Not Fade Away; Drums; Jam; St. Stephen; Sugar Magnolia. Onondaga County War Memorial, Syracuse, NY 9/28/76 CD 3: Cold Rain and Snow; Big River; Cassidy; Tennessee Jed; New Minglewood Blues; Candyman; It's All Over Now; Friend of the Devil; Let It Grow; Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad. CD 4: Playing in the Band; The Wheel; Samson and Delilah; Jam; Comes a Time; Drums; Eyes of the World; Orange Tango Jam; Dancing in the Streets; Playing in the Band; Johnny B. Goode

Personnel: Jerry Garcia: guitar, vocals; Bob Weir: guitar, vocals; Phil Lesh: bass guitar, vocals; Keith Godchaux: keyboards; Mickey Hart: drums; Bill Kreutzmann: drums; Donna Jean Godchaux: vocals.

Dick's Picks Volume 10

Tracks: Winterland Arena San Francisco, CA 12/29/1977 CD 1: Jack Straw; They Love Each Other; Mama Tried; Loser; Looks Like Rain; Tennessee Jed; New Minglewood Blues; Sugaree; Promised Land. CD 2: Bertha; Good Lovin'; Playing in the Band; China Cat Sunflower; I Know You Rider; China Doll; Playing Jam; Drums; Not Fade Away; Playing in the Band. CD 3: Terrapin Station; Johnny B. Goode; (Excerpt from 12/30/77): Estimated Prophet; Eyes of the World; St. Stephen; Sugar Magnolia

Personnel: Jerry Garcia: guitar, vocals; Bob Weir: guitar, vocals; Phil Lesh: bass guitar, vocals; Keith Godchaux: keyboards; Mickey Hart: drums; Bill Kreutzmann: drums; Donna Jean Godchaux: vocals.

Dave's Pick's Volume 9

Tracks: Harry Adams Field House, University of Montana, Missoula, MT (5/14/74): CD 1: Bertha; Me And My Uncle; Loser; Black-Throated Wind; Scarlet Begonias> It Must Have Been The Roses; Jack; Tennessee Jed; Mexicali Blues; Deal. CD 2: Big River: Brown- Eyed Woman: Playing In The Band; U.S. Blues; El Paso; Row Jimmy. CD 3: Weather Report Suite; Prelude; Part I; Part II (Let It Grow); Dark Star> China Doll; Promised Land; Not Fade Away. Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad; 7. One More Saturday Night.

Personnel: Jerry Garcia: guitar, vocals; Bob Weir: guitar, vocals; Phil Lesh: bass guitar, vocals; Keith Godchaux: keyboards; Bill Kreutzmann: drums; Donna Jean Godchaux: vocals.

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