Thursday, March 23, 2017

Swinging London Baby: Thursday, May 23, 1972

Often overshadowed by its big brother on Sunday May 26, May 23, 1972 in swinging London was a monster in its own right (or is it left over there?).
I'd listen if I were you and look and read some fun stuff.  Interesting to read the London reviewers and their take on the band. Also listen to the excellent review and study. And a little duet called Dark Star>Dew

There is some nice Chuck Berry here and some Playin', some Sittin' and some Rockin' all in a row.

Promised Land, Sugaree, Mr. Charlie, Black Throated Wind, Tennessee Jed, Next Time You See Me, Jack Straw, China Cat Sunflower-> I Know You Rider, Me And My Uncle, Chinatown Shuffle, Big Railroad Blues, Two Souls In Communion, Playing In The Band, Sittin' On Top Of The World, Rockin' Pneumonia & The Boogie Woogie Flu, Mexicali Blues, Good Lovin', Casey Jones 

Ramble On Rose, Dark Star-> Drums-> Dark Star-> Morning Dew, He's Gone, Sugar Magnolia, Comes A Time, Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad-> Not Fade Away-> Hey Bo Diddley-> Not Fade Away, E: Uncle John's Band

Review of 5-23-72 in the London Times

Grateful Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage: Lyceum, London

Keith AlthamNew Musical Express, 3 June 1972
I SAW the first night of the Dead's four concerts at the London Lyceum last Thursday. where they were ever so good for ever so long. What we got and wot a lot we got (almost four hours of nonstop performance) was virtually a musical history of the group's progress from Garcia's humble jug band origins to his band's more countrified approach today.
It has been becoming increasingly obvious that the old format whereby a band played a fifty-minute spot of their best-known numbers, was becoming tiresome and uninspired but the Dead have taken things to the other extreme.
Somehow it seems that there is no beginning or end to their programme and their approach is relaxed to the point of becoming languid.
What they do is often impeccable and their musicians – like bass player Phil Lesh and Garcia himself play with a refinement in which there is more discretion than valour.
It is a good band which has knit together with the kind of intuitive playing which one would expect from six years on the road but on Thursday they seldom smacked me between the ears even with their more ebullient Chuck Berry-inspired rock and rollers.
It seems pointless to refer to any particular song because they played almost everything which has ever been associated with them and they played it well. Bob Weir is a far better vocalist live than I had expected.
Their reception was excellent from an audience who appreciated every move and cheered all the better-known songs. I can imagine that there are occasions and atmosphere which really 'charge' the Dead with some kind of special magic but it was not conjured on Thursday – perhaps one other night – perhaps you can have too much of a good thing?
The New Riders of the Purple Sage were the support band and they did their job well – easy listening, good time and right down the middle country band in which Buddy Cage excels on pedal guitar and John Dawson handles his own songs with care. Their new album title Powerglide sums them up well.
© Keith Altham, 1972

Thanks to the dead guys :)

Danny HollowayNew Musical Express, 15 April 1972
IT'S TAKEN a long time for the Dead to get themselves back over here. They probably made it more by good luck than good judgment. Their camp is as diverse and unpredictable as any under the sun – but there must be some sort of magical karma guarding them for they always seem to pull through.
The Dead have brought a large family of 43 friends with them on this visit.
And so it was hard to find a private comer at their hotel to speak to guitarist Bob Weir, writes DANNY HOLLOWAY. But after settling down, we talked of Keith Godchaux, the new member, as well as the music and life of the Grateful Dead.
Reports of their London Wembley concerts have been very favourable. It would be a good idea, feels Holloway, if you could catch a performance while they're here.
HOLLOWAY: What was the reason for Keith coming in on keyboards?
WEIR: I think it happened like this. Pigpen got sick and we were about to do a tour, so we needed somebody. And just about that time, Garcia had met, and I think worked, with Keith in San Francisco.
We've always been looking for somebody, really. Pigpen's not really a virtuoso keyboard player – that's not exactly what he does with us. So Garcia suggested we give Keith a listen, and he sounded good to everybody, so we just worked him in.
It was a short notice, but he was incredibly adept. He picked up on everything fast. That was one indication of how it worked good, and another was how well he could pick up on feelings that we played.
I mean, he picked up on really minute subtle differences. Every one of us was mind blown by how well he fitted into the whole musical scene we've conglomerated over the years.
When you first started you seemed to have a hard time putting down on record what you were all about Are you more satisfied now?
It's getting better. As we learn what we can do in a studio, we start working with the studios in mind – rather than simply playing our music. And were finding that we play different kinds of music for different situations. At first, we didn't know that you can gear to a studio. We're learning to do that a lot more now.
Looking back, do you consider yourself involved with the San Francisco scene any more?
Well, I more or less consider myself involved with the world, musically. There's a lot of cross-fertilisation among musicians in Marin County where we live. And I guess you could call it the San Francisco scene, because the nearest big city is San Francisco and we do most of our recording there. But there's no specifically localised thing that I consider myself a part of. Just music in general, really.
How do you feel about your name being mentioned synonymously with the 1967 San Francisco scene? That's what I meant really.
Well, it's history, it's blown over. It's not a reality to me. It used to be fun. I used to feel like a part of it. It was a flash – a good scene – but it went away. We're all a lot more mature now. We're all the same people and we're still all great friends, but we were kids having a party back then. Now, we're older kids doing something that older kids do. It's different.
There's a feeling among some people that the Grateful Dead are a social phenomenon. Do you think this detracts from your music?
If they start overlooking the music and delve into the social phenomenon we seem to be, then they're off on the wrong trip. As far as our social situation is concerned, we live in a straightforward way.
We like to get a lot of people involved in what we're doing and it seems to work out. So we have a lot of people working with us who we're responsible for feeding. But at the same time, they're responsible for helping us to push forward.
As far as any philosophy is concerned, any one of us can rap for hours about the way we feel. (Garcia's particularly apt at it.). But apparently, the more you talk, the more people consider you philosophic. Then you start getting into being a social phenomenon more than a musical one. It's just that people listen to whatever they hear, and if Garcia doesn't have a guitar in his hands, he'll rap. Any one of us does that.
Do you think music's going to remain the prime factor in so many people's lives? There is so much intensity and competition.
It's getting competitive. That means you must be either original or really good to survive. It's sure Darwinism I guess. Throughout history, there has never been an excess of really top musicians at any one time. But people have got to have music. Most everybody has to have it, and here we are to give it to them.
Rather than asking: is there life after death? I think a real good question is: Is there music after death? I think a lot of people feel that way. Music represents a whole side of the human manifestation that we just can't live without. Nobody can live without it. Not even the Chinese.
Do you play many dates in a year?
Well, I'll tell you somethin'. When we got here, all the people in that big country show (the C and W festival at Wembley) were, here at the hotel. And I was talking to a lot of those guys and we were talking about how many nights a year they work. I was telling them we work 50 nights a year, and they were amazed because they work 150 to 200 nights a year and more. I got the hint that they thought we were really lazy and just laying back and making money off a big name.
Then it occurred to me to ask them how long they play every night... 45 minutes. Well, we play about three hours a night, so it works out to about the same. You can't carry on to 150 or 200 nights a year while playing three or four hours a night and expect to survive.
© Danny Holloway, 1972
Glenn Davis, May 1972

Add caption

The Grateful Dead: Empire Pool, Wembley

Mick FarrenInternational Times, 20 April 1972
"The trouble with a lot of kids who come to our concerts is that they can't see beyond the drugs. They get so ripped that the music doesn't really matter." – Pigpen
FOR SIX YEARS, the legend of the acid-test band has lingered. The Dead, the band to take drugs to. And, true to form, the British Dead freaks all but filled the great cavern of Wembley Pool, with the joints a-going and the whisky passing round, and, with the billboard for the National Country Music Festival still on the front of the building and associations of recent T.Rextacy strong in mind, the concert they saw was probably a unique event.
"Just folks, that's all we can relate to. The songs we play are our history. The American West." – Pigpen
"Until some new divine inspiration, some flash, comes, that is all we can do, play our music and seek a oneness with the people who are listening." – Bob Weir
And that was exactly what they did: they played music for almost three hours, standing, nodding in time, without theatre or histrionics, almost waist-deep in monitor speakers. A group of men doing the job that they really enjoy, and ranging across a spectrum of music that anyone in the audience must have grown up with; with Pigpen standing quietly putting 'Big Boss Man' through' a version both loyal to – and at the same time a long way from – either Jimmy Reed or the gold jacket boys who borrowed it from him.
"Three of us have given up drugs. It became worrying – we were burning out our brain cells and so were the people in the audience, strung out thirteen year olds outside the Fillmore East " – Bob Weir
Despite that, the pipe went round in the hotel room and the big cigarettes were produced on stage, and the triumphal first half ending with 'Casey Jones' was treated as an anthem rather than a warning, repeating the chorus over and over with Joe's Lights projecting the lyrics on to the back stage screen, and lacking only a bouncing spot to give it the full seaside-concert party, pier pavilion atmosphere.
"The main thing is getting off behind the music." – Pigpen
It is hard to talk about a band that one moment is being led by Garcia to sounds that are a part of pink padded tunnels that spiral down through the back byways of consciousness, and, moments later, follows Bob Weir, breaking into the John Wayne jukebox reality of Marty Robbins' 'El Paso' – "One day a wild young cowboy came in, wild as wild Texas wind."
You suddenly get a flash on shared history: as Bob Weir leads on 'Down the Line', you know that at fifteen he stood in front of a mirror and tried to look like Elvis, the same as the rest of you did, or listening to Garcia you see a kid who practiced copying the Mid-West nasal whine of the young Bob Dylan. The shared flash a oneness through their music that is instantly earthy and spiritually high.
"California is, at one time, paradise and a battleground." – Phil Lesh
The sadness of seeing the Dead for the first time is that the logistics of bringing them to England prevented the Wembley audience from sharing totally the seven-year evolution that produced the music they were hearing, as the band grinned happily as a pocket of freaks lit sparklers, or, between songs, asked anyone who couldn't hear well to shout "NO". The charisma is still there, so evident in the gang of freeloaders trying to get a piece of Grateful Dead energy at the after-show reception. It would have been nice to have grown up with the acid test band, particularly as there is the sneaking suspicion that if the first London acid had been dropped watching them rather than cerebrally isolating the Pink Floyd, we might be a stronger community.
© Mick Farren, 1972

The Legend Of The Dead

Steve TurnerBeat Instrumental, June 1972
ALTHOUGH THE GRATEFUL DEAD are a rock band, they've almost been turned into an institution, a way of life over, the years since they came together in the mid-'60s.
The Dead's drummer is a young man named Bill Kreutzman, who's been Gratefully dead now for six years. "The Dead is just some kind of contact that we try to make with an audience of people,’ he began explaining before he stopped to think. ‘When you're inside it's a hard thing to say."
I'd been hearing the legend of The Dead for a few years before meeting them. At first it'd been a name which was lumped together with Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane, Seeds, Moby Grape, Buffalo Springfield and Love and sent to England in a package marked Flower Power. Then Tom Wolfe immortalised them in his fine report on the birth of acid culture The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test. The Kool Aid was a soft drink to which the acid was added at a giant rock ball where the Dead provided the Electric. Garcia's current 'old lady' is one of the book's heroines – Mountain Girl.
The rest of the Dead's importance had been revealed and explained to me by young Californians to whom they've been father figures of some sort. The Airplane and The Dead seemed to form two-thirds of an earthly trinity who'd come along to replace the Holy Trinity. It's never really been what they've said that's made them so important to many young Americans, but... you know man... it's like... The Dead! The medium becomes the message!
For this reason it's very hard to talk to the band about what 'they're saying'. "We're not preachers" they kept telling me. Then on the other hand they'd emphasise, "we just play rock 'n' roll." Both Bob Weir and Jerry explained that as musicians they really had no qualifications to expound theories on spiritual and moral issues. They would have agreed that a factory-hand has just as much right to express his views to the world as has a labourer who happens to work with a machine called a guitar. "Apparently for some reason, people think that musicians have some authority," said Bob. "It's just the way it's come about. They must think that as his playing makes me feel good then his talking must make me feel good too. I think that if I was left to my wits as a politician, I'd fail drastically – we all would. All we really do is play."
When they actually take to the boards the last statement begins to show its truth. The only words that seem to matter are those which are projected on the screen behind them – Welcome To The Grateful Dead. Then the music begins to pound out. Garcia's guitar soars high and the legend becomes life. When they played at Wembley recently, it seemed as though people were applauding the mythology rather than the reality. The music never seemed to get off the ground, and the crowd reacted mostly to the pure fast rock numbers which were few and far between. It was an evening of anticlimaxes, but the crowd seemed to be enjoying a collective orgasm. Again, it was the fact that the Dead were more than a group. They were the message without words.
Bill explained the beginnings of the band: "I've been in the Dead for around six years now. Me and Jerry were both teaching in a music store in Palo Alto and we just got together as a group. Our first gigs were in small pizza bars in the area, We were playing rock 'n' roll mostly I suppose." Although they've 'come a long way' since those days, both Jerry and Bill still frequent the small bars and play their music there. "I like the small bars where you get no response at all," said Jerry chuckling. "It frees you tremendously when no-one cares what you're playing. I go there to satisfy a kind of perverse curiosity. I like those bar scenes!"
Haight Ashbury
As the band grew up and entered the publicised era of their lives, they all moved into the same house in San Francisco – 710 Ashbury. It became one of the most famous homes on the West Coast, but now things are different. "It didn't fall apart it just grew apart," explained Bill. "A lot of us got small ranches and things. Instead of going out and feeling the concrete under our feet, we wanted to be able to take a gun and shoot tin cans from our back doors. A lot of us had learned a lot and had grown up."
One subject that seems to go hand in hand with any mention of Grateful Dead Culture is acid. When in England the hotel room was buzzing with the mention of the magic chemical, and an official-looking hash pipe was passed around constantly. The Dead's lyricist, Bob Hunter, was one of the first people to experiment with LSD during a hospital experiment before it was registered as a dangerous drug. Around the same time the whole of the band took part, in some of the original West Coast 'happenings', where acid was the latest thing to hit the avante-garde.
Brain Damage
Bob Weir was careful to explain that they never tried to play or record while tripping out. "One thing acid may do for a musician," he explained, "is that he may drop his inhibitions and it will help stimulate his creativity. I don't know whether it has anything to do with the music, but I think it does enhance the player's enjoyment of what he's doing." Although Bob felt that someone on a trip may well feel he's reaching great heights of musical creativity, a recording of the event when played back to the player would only prove that the feeling was totally subjective. Similar experiments with artists have come up with the same result.
Later on in our conversation Bob happened to make mention of what he termed 'psychedelic derelicts' – people who'd been permanently damaged by acid. As he and the Dead appear to encourage the use of a drug that has damaged so many, and are idolised by the same people, I asked him what he felt when he came across these 'derelicts'. "I'm sorry to see it," he said. "I try to set an example of some sort of temperance. I believe that as a group we exhibit a certain amount of temperance." I suggested that one man's temperance might be another man's damage, and he agreed. Fortunately the members of the Grateful Dead are a strong set of personalities and have been able to control their use of psychedelics. There's no room in the record business for a derelict.
At one time it seemed as though acid was looked upon as the new Messiah – coming to us in an age of spiritual emptiness to 'feed our heads' and thereby change the world. John Lennon, who now openly supports the I.R.A. was singing All You Need Is Love. Something went wrong in between though. "Yes, something did go wrong," admitted Bob. I think it can be partly attributed to the U.S. clampdown on marijuana. When this happened people began dealing meths and smack. It took up less space, anyway, and was much harder to police." As to the Grateful Dead's position in all this: "The only thing worth doing is playing music – not preaching drugs. I would caution anyone who was considering dope to be careful in any case."
Playing Religiously
Playing music. "If there's such a thing as religion in my life it's playing," said Bob. "We try to have the most diverse range of music possible. The soft rock era is not over for us, nor did it really begin. It's always been there." The Dead began getting into softer sounds around the same time that Crosby, Stills and Nash put out their superb first album. Garcia and Stills and Nash and Weir and Crosby are interchangeable members of the L.A. music scene and play regularly on each other's albums. "It more or less boils down to physical proximity," said Bob. The fact that the Dead softened up after C,S & N's first album was through direct influence. "What happened there," explained Bob, "is that Crosby and Stills were hanging in and around San Francisco and we were amazed how they sung together.
"Because of that we realised we'd been neglecting one side of our music and that was singing in harmony together. So we decided to develop our vocal harmonies and that whole side of our presentation." These developments became two albums: Working man's Dead and AmericanBeauty. On these ventures, Garcia was often to forsake his familiar lead guitar sound for the unique countrified sound of his ZB custom pedal steel guitar. However, for the Dead this was just one gear that their music had to be driven in for a while. There's no real direction but just a progression through the many moods that music is able to express. Bill put it this way: "We want to try and drive this car with 10,000 gears and so far we've only used about twenty. That's twenty different styles of music."
Every concert that they perform is recorded so that the band can all listen to and criticise their own music "This is not done on 16-track but on 2-track stereo." Bill told me. "Then we listen to the tapes and scrutinise what we've been playing. Sometimes we surprise ourselves at what we've played!" Bill, drew a parallel with what they're doing to American football teams who watch instant replays so that they can improve their performances. "We listen to see how we can correct ourselves. Maybe we listen and the whole feeling of our performance has been wrong. It never hurts us to play it back. Not only do we learn about playing, but also about recording techniques."
The Grateful Dead's criterion for a performance? "If it gets you off when you play it back – that's good," said Bill. "That's really what the Dead are about – good old ‘getting it off.’" Plenty of people got off on their music at the Empire Pool, Wembley and the scenes they created were not far removed from those a few weeks earlier when T. Rex was the attraction.
© Steve Turner, 1972

The Grateful Dead: Europe '72

Mick GoldLet It Rock, February 1973
THE DEAD have never ceased to feed off their origins as a performing band in order to avoid the danger of becoming marooned in a studio-based search for recording perfection. From their earliest appearances amidst the chaos of Ken Kesey's acid tests, the band have always used their concerts as a compliment to their recordings, extending their range of material and experimenting with the relationships between the band, the audience and the music.
The Dead have already released two live double albums: Live Dead and The Grateful Dead. The earlier album was the best record of the Dead as a magical/experimental band. Track lengths averaged fifteen minutes and the album seemed like one long musical mutation: sci-fi instrumental improvisations became stoned Motown memories became spiritual urban blues became a gospel hymn became a wall of feedback. It was so eclectic and insubstantial it was almost frightening. The Grateful Dead offered us a record of the band as a hard working road show. There were almost too many tracks and ace Dead classics were mixed with forgotten Rolling Stones singles.

Europe '72 is a neat synthesis of these two faces of the band. The tracks average seven or eight minutes and are almost all straightforward songs, but with enough instrumental room to fly around in. 'Truckin'', the best song the Dead have written, is given a whole side of a record: the lyrics come in a thick wedge at the beginning, and then the band play on for a full fifteen minutes more, leaving the images of bad trips and city paranoia far behind as they explore a world of pure sound. The album also shows that in spite of boasting five singers, the Dead don't have one distinctive vocalist, and yet they carry the material off, simply by their instrumental skill and energy. Bob Weir doesn't have as good a shouting voice as McCartney, let alone Little Richard, yet his 'One More Saturday Night' rips along as good as any AM anthem you'll hear to the holiest night of the week. Pigpen doesn't have the power or the depth of a good blues band singer, yet their treatment of Elmore James' 'It Hurts Me Too' is one of the album's high points: they create a really soul-seared momentum through the interplay of Garcia's guitar, Pigpen's mouth harp and Keith Goodchaux's piano triplets.
The recording quality is excellent and it's a welcome relief that the applause has been edited out, so that you can listen to the music instead of the occasion. One gripe: I heard a vague rumour that the album was originally titled Europe On $5,000 A Day – now that really would have put it in a league of its own.
© Mick Gold, 1973

Grateful Dead: Europe '72 (Warner Bros.)

Robot A. HullCreem, February 1973
I'VE BEEN TO THREE Grateful Dead concerts in my life, and at each one I fell asleep. Oh, everybody else was pretending to be shimmying to the good vibes, but I know better. They were really just moving around like centipedes so they, too, wouldn't fall asleep. Certainly nothing would be more embarrassing than being caught by your counter-culture buddies sleeping at a Dead concert.
It's a shame, too, that the Dead are such symbols. Already their new triple-decker has outsold itself in record stores all across America. It's as if nobody had the guts, the death-defying nerve, to pronounce this album the dullest thing since the invention of Herbie Mann. You don't attack such sacred symbols, you know – you just let them fade away.
But I ain't about to: THIS ALBUM IS THE BIGGEST BORE... IT'S WORSE THAN NOVOCAINE!! The Grateful Dead have held monopoly for too long, and for no reason. They're much too mellow to get it on, and when they're truckin' it's like Wes Montgomery free jazz castrated. They're total muzak, and hip people just like em because they can float around with the music without having to put any oomph into it. The Grateful Dead are just a bunch of lazy motherfuckers.
I gotta be fair, tho. I mean, Garcia just begs to be assassinated. He stands up there, chugging around like a loose sloth, whipping out a few wrinkly riffs wherever he can fit 'em in, and then posing for several photos in the same breath. Pigpen is usually rammed up his ass, too, and so sometimes Garcia has to dig around in his crack to find the fat turd in time so he can do his favorite stomping soul tune. Yeah, I've seen Pigpen do 'Knock on Wood' with shit on his nose.
It's not that I hate em, tho. I'm just so goddamn tired of them. Hell, I used to own all their fucking albums up until this summer (I got rid of em by trying to hurl em across the mighty Mississippi). I even liked American Beauty for awhile and that first "underground" LP, too, that was such a hit for all those foggy old Downbeat subscribers. But then I heard the Soul Survivors and learned what slamming into the wall was really all about.
So I'm warning you. Stop dead in your tracks. DON'T BUY THIS ALBUM. Chances are everybody and his blue-baby sister already has it anyway, so why join the banana bunch?
You don't need it, besides, cause everything else is on other albums, except maybe 'You Win Again' which features squeaky vocalizing. You can't even drink to it. You can't even smoke dope to it. You can't even shit thru it.
But if somehow you do, if somehow you're so terribly bored you don't even get itchy britches (like maybe your girlfriend is sick with the flu or something), then I guarantee it, schmuck... you won't be able to get it up for three weeks. Yessiree, it's that pacifying.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Warfield 10-14-80: The Gem of the 1980 Three Set Shows

Fifteen makes perfect. And in honor of 15, let's play more than 15x2 songs. For you 1980's fans, does not take long into the 1980's to fins this gem.

Dire Wolf, Dark Hollow, It Must Have Been The Roses, Cassidy, I've Been All Around This World, Monkey & The Engineer, China Doll, Heaven Help The Fool, Bird Song-> Ripple

Alabama Getaway-> Greatest Story Ever Told, Friend Of The Devil, Me & My Uncle-> Mexicali Blues, Candyman, Little Red Rooster, Tennessee Jed-> Let It Grow-> The Wheel-> The Music Never Stopped

Scarlet Begonias-> Fire On The Mountain, Estimated Prophet-> Terrapin Station-> Playin' In The Band-> Drums-> I Need A Miracle-> Uncle John's Band-> Morning Dew-> Playin' In The Band-> Good Lovin', E: U.S. Blues, E: Brokedown Palace


A Stanford Student Review of the 8th show
Beating a Dead horse
By Charles Buckley
Though a Grateful Dead show in the Bay Area is about as common as fog hanging over the Golden Gate Bridge, the current set of Dead shows at the Warfield Theatre have taken on a special meaning. The Warfield seats no more than 2000 people, and it is not often that Grateful Dead fans get to see the band in such an intimate atmosphere. Add to this the fact that it is the band's 15th anniversary, and it becomes clear that it was necessary to raffle the tickets, despite the fact that there are three weeks' worth of performances. Though the Dead generally do two sets, both electric, they have surprised and delighted the Warfield crowds by opening each show acoustically, something which they have not done since the early seventies, and then following with the two electric. It was a little past two in the morning when the Grateful Dead ended last Saturday night's show, the eighth in the series of fifteen. The show had begun five and a half hours earlier, with Jerry Garcia singing "Debellum Blues," a song from the far gone past which drew blank stares from many of the recently converted teenage Dead-Heads (some of whom appeared to be younger than the groups's 15 years), but elicited pleasant howls from those Dead-Heads from way back when. The rest of the acoustic set consisted mostly of older material as well, such as the songs "Dark Hollow" and "Ripple." By the time the set had ended, one could only regret the fact that the group has spent the last few years
playing strictly electric. The dearth of new material in the first set was quickly made up for when the band began the second set with "Alabama Getaway," a song from their most recent album, Go to Heaven. By the time the group finished the set with "Weather Report Suite" leading into "The Deal," it was near midnight, and the Dead had performed what to most bands would be considered a full evening of music. What was to follow, however, was one of those magical closing sets in which the Dead played straight through for about 90 minutes without ever really stopping between songs. Opening with "Feel Like a Stranger," another song from the new album, the group became highly improvisational, going on to play such songs as "Franklin's Tower," "Estimated Prophet," and "Eyes of the World." It was not more than 10 minutes into the set that the Dead had the Warfield audience under a spell, the combination of Garcia's leads and Phil Lesh's bass lines coming through amazingly clear due to a very fine mix at the soundboard. By the time the set ended with Bob Weir screaming Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode," the aisles
which the ushers has been trying to keep clear throughout the night had become occupied with dancing bodies, and the crowd of 2000 sounded more like a crowd of 20,000. The Grateful Dead having given what they had given, it was almost unjust for the audience to demand more, but before long the group was on stage again, encoring with two old classics, "Uncle lohn's Band" and "One More Saturday Night." As the houselights went on and another Saturday night with the Grateful Dead came to an end, it was clear recent accusations about the group becoming lazy and apathetic have obviously been coming from the mouths of people who only listen to Dead records without seeing the group's concerts. Rather than doing three weeks' worth at a small theatre, the group could well have chosen to celebrate their fifteenth anniversary by doing one big outdoor show, a move which certainly would have been a lot easier on the band members as well as a great deal more lucrative. The Grateful Dead still enjoy playing music and they still give a damn about the music they play; as long as they continue to do so, they'll surely be around foranotherls.
The Grateful Dead: still around

Stanford Daily News 10-7-80 pg 7

I love the reviews of Mind Wondrin' on archive like this one

Reviewer: Mind Wondrin - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 7, 2017
Subject: Famous champagne show

This is the final of the 15 San Fran shows (15th of the 25 Fall '80 monster shows in San Fran>New Orleans>NYC). It's also in the top 5 of these shows. I'm surprised there are complaints about these runs; they seem to be of two types:
*They repeated too many songs
*The format was too different
Yes, if you did 15 shows in a row, then you got beaucoup repeats. Try 15 shows in, say '68 or '72. The format was intentionally different. The band wanted some style agitation and thought it would be fun to have an intimate setting, fomenting tighter songs. It wasn't an Arista aquiescence. One of the working ideas was a 15-year mark, special reward for the fans.

First Set. Like many of this run, the acoustic set surpasses even '70 acoustic sets. Outta the gate, Dire Wolf & Dark Hollow are A+ versions. The rest is consistent; above average for the Warfield shows, a specialness in the air.

Second Set. Decent start but really heats up from Friend of the Devil all the way through Little Red Rooster - particularly M&MU and a great Candyman. Then it hits outright X-factor with Let it Grow>Wheel>Music Never Stopped (the latter uptempo and sparkly). These just might be their best examples from the tour.

Third Set. Still on top of it - one of the best of '80. Unlike the second set, which keeps getting better, the 3rd is like the 1st set - best right out of the gate (well, really at Fire), but above average throughout. The jam into Terrapin and the first Playin' jam are worth the penny. Then Graham served champagne to the entire audience so they could toast the boys.

1st set:  B-
2nd set: A-
3rd set:  B+
Overall = 4¼ stars

Dire Wolf - Very warmed up on this one at this point
Dark Hollow - many good examples from the shows
Little Red Rooster - '80 was a good year in general for Roosty
Let it Grow>The Wheel>The Music Never Stopped - wish the whole sequence was officially released
Fire on the Mountain - Scarlet's not bad but the Fire is nice
Estimated Prophet - strong
U.S. Blues>Brokedown Palace - great care taken to not throwaway the encores

SOURCES: Four of the acoustic songs are on Reckoning, (China Doll, All Around this World) however Bird Song has a 37sec edit right before the solo, and Cassidy has 1:06 removed from the solo @3:54. Music Never Stopped is on So Many Roads. Use the Stanley/Blackwood source for the first two acoustic songs. The rest of the 1st set (+ Alabama) is best on the Ellner/Marino(GMB) source. The best SBD souce for the electric sets is currently Gardner3576 (albeit needing NR in places). The current matrix is echoey, thumpy & more AUD than SBD. You have to go back to the AUDs though, for the double encore. In the 2nd set, sound improves again @Little Red Rooster (which has a beginning cut).

CAVEAT: They're not all 5 stars just 'cause we love the band. The Dead played over 2,300 shows; on a bell curve a hundred might be 1-star and maybe 100 are 5-star shows. Shows were awesome. You were life-happy by the time you and thousands of your new buddies skipped and floated out into Shakedown Street. Highlight moments forced you to either reel your mind back or just snip the tether - and cosmic moments didn't occur only inside the show. But that happened even at what are objectively 1-star shows. If you rate every show 5-stars but have no idea what constitutes a 2-star show, it renders the rating system untenable and nobody believes your reviews.

Bucky, these were full, two-electric-set shows. They just had a bonus acoustic set first, and took place in an upscale, downtown vaudeville theater (this was before the seats were removed; you've seen both the run poster and the famed champagne-toast pic) next door to the Crazy Horse. Shit, this one's 35 songs and lasted over 4 hours! That's wasteful?

Glen, plus-one on your story 'cause it put me at the shows. I watched pretty blue-gold skirted spinners in the lobby, whiffed patchouli, weaved tracers in time with my hands aloft & smeared onto the grouphead dynamic. The Cosmic Wimpout story is funny. Truthiness: people did that at runs all through the 80s, too.
Reviewer: jjg4762 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 13, 2014
Subject: end of music
Check out how at the end of music Bobby try's to bring it back to Let it Grow. Its a good 2 minutes of him trying to get Jerry to notice.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

22 Years In The Future, 100 Likely Betty Boards and Other Releases

Last time, we looked 22 years into the past  Today, we look 22 years into the future inspired by my new best friend Mark Pinkus (only 10 miles from me!) who along with other superstars like Dave Lemieux are looking out for all of us.  See  This is worth reading; I especially like the concept of high-quality streaming products added to the mix.

Let's look at what we have been asking for, or thinking about, and add in a few Betty Board returns and mix for the next 22 years.

Here are a few suggestions (well I guess quite a few)

A 1971 Show with the New Riders: Hmm, perhaps December 10 in St Louis or December 15 in Ann Arbor.  I can't decide between the Fox's The Other One>Sitting On Top of the World>The Other One or Ann Arbor's Dark Star>Deal.  Hard Choice.  These NRPS sets were in that second Betty list, can't be so hard to clear the rights.  Just an idea. Got your covers right here

Here are a few no-brainers  from 1971-1980, You can pick any more from 1968-1970 (do you have any secret ones we don't know about) And my suggestions back in November 2015, guess I am consistent

2-18-71 Port Chester NY, night one Also I highlighted here
Yes it is historically, seems like 20 new songs played that night :) and beautiful.

10-18-72 St Louis All Dark Stars>Dew should get the nod. Actually Dead loved St Louis's Fox.

Review of  Dead's 10-17-72 show published in St Louis in 10-18 on Obituary Page

Stanford 2-9- 1973

Kezar 5-26-1973: We all want it, it went on for like ten hours and not one person drove :)

RFK and/or Watkins Glen Summer 1973 A box set I'm sure. Maybe with Allmans too.

October-December  1973  Every show not yet released. Here's a nice list watching the Playing In the Band Sandwich evolve that Fall.  Notice the bottom four are all released. The early ones look tasty too. Maybe a box of all the remaining Fall 1973 Shows.  I love how the band evolved into the Playing Uncle Johns Dew Uncle Johns Playing thing.

10/21/1973 Omaha Playing In The Band [10:19] > Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo [7:47] > Big River [4:56] > Playing In The Band [9:57]

10/27/1973 Indianapolis Playing In The Band [10:20] > Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo [7:35] > Big River [4:#17] > Playing In The Band [8:38]

11/1/1973 Evanston Morning Dew [13:35] > Playing In The Band [14:58] > Uncle John's Band [8:#09] > Playing In The Band [6:36]

11/10/1973 Winterland Playing In The Band [12:08] > Uncle John's Band [9:26] > Morning Dew [12:34] > Uncle John's Band [2:18] > Playing In The Band [6:48]

11/17/1973 UCLA Playing In The Band [15:12] > Uncle John's Band [6:#14] > Morning Dew [13:48] > Uncle John's Band [1:58] > Playing In The Band [11:09]

11/21/1973 Denver Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo [7:35] > Playing In The Band [11:54] > El Paso [3:42] > Playing In The Band [1:00] > Wharf Rat Jam [0:05] > Dark Star Jam [3:25] > Wharf Rat [7:52] > Playing In The Band [13:10] > Morning Dew [12:05]

12/1/1973 Boston Playing In The Band [13:42] > Uncle John's Band [9:16] > Playing In The Band [6:44]

All of 1974: Not that many shows, just a big box with the box a replica of The Wall

June/July 1976   You Pick, We Want More. You Have More of Them now  Maybe a Philly Set or a Chicago Set or All the Orpheum

02.26.77 The Swing Auditorium, San Bernadino, California

As Dick says

4-23-77 Springfield   and 11-06-77 Broome County My first show and 8th and last shows of 1977 and some of my favorites. The next six I saw were all released  4-30-77, 5-7-77, 5-28-77, 9-3-77, 11-4-77 and 11-5-77.  Give me my 8-pack guys.   Springfield is mentioned in four of my blog pieces  and 11-6 is

4-29-77 Palladium

5-4-77 Palladium

Excerpt from Palladium 77 review by Les and Jerry and company

10.02.77 The Paramount Theater, Portland, Oregon

I'm analyzing this one soon, but it's lesser known. You can listen to the endless Casey Jones at the top.  There is also a great interview with Jerry at this show.  The Casey Jones tracking says 13:45. :) Set two is something like Samson & Delilah-> Scarlet Begonias-> Fire On The Mountain, Finiculi Finicula, Playin' In The Band-> Drums-> The Wheel-> Truckin'-> The Other One-> Wharf Rat-> Sugar Magnolia, E: Johnny B. Goode)

10.29.77 Field House, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Illinois
Let's either stop fighting or burn now a hotel

Red Rocks July and August 1978: Dead try out Red Rocks in July for two nights and like it so much they return for their very next two show their in August
Honolulu Advertiser, 9/2/78,  hey another good Dead show and debut at Giants same day

Cleveland Nov 20 1978
All the If I Had The World To Give Shows Need To Be Released. If only Rick Sullivan and I hadn't left Providence and gone only to Rochester the next night and left a day earlier and gone to Cleveland

Look at this unaware review, I will highlight where Mark Faris just didn't understand

And Mr Faris, no disrespect, I know it's hard to understand, but you just saw a second set of am-> Drums-> Jam-> Jack A Roe, Playin' In The Band-> Shakedown Street-> Drums-> If I Had The World To Give-> Playin' In The Band-> Around & Around in 1978.

Another Case of a Local Reporter, unaware of the fact he is witnessing a historic show

Lewsiston 1980 (don't care if it's not in the vault)

Last Night at the Warfield October 14, 1980 This is my favorite show

The setlist alone screams release me, release me

Dire Wolf, Dark Hollow, It Must Have Been The Roses, Cassidy, I've Been All Around This World, Monkey & The Engineer, China Doll, Heaven Help The Fool, Bird Song-> Ripple 

Alabama Getaway-> Greatest Story Ever Told, Friend Of The Devil, Me & My Uncle-> Mexicali Blues, Candyman, Little Red Rooster, Tennessee Jed-> Let It Grow-> The Wheel-> The Music Never Stopped 

Scarlet Begonias-> Fire On The Mountain, Estimated Prophet-> Terrapin Station-> Playin' In The Band-> Drums-> I Need A Miracle-> Uncle John's Band-> Morning Dew-> Playin' In The Band-> Good Lovin', E: U.S. Blues, E: Brokedown Palace

Berkeley Greek, 1981-1983 Box Set or maybe 1981-1989 27 Show Box (Yes 9-11-81 I've yet to hear the SBD)

Almost my first post more than two years ago
My Brother Ralphie and later the Dead's Doctor Jordan at the Greek

I'll let you younger guys choice from 1981 on, but you might want a full box of September 1991 Boston and New York . I'd even pay twice for the Branford show.

Edit:  All of my friends have something to add but take a good look at all these suggested on St Patrick's Day at by jerlouvis

Here is a list of 21 shows that unequivocally rate a release.Up until this point the people responsible for what gets released have been pathetic.The list below shines a light on that point.

6-7-69 top 10 Dark Star
8-3-69 singular night in the bands history with guest saxophonist and violinist
7-18-72 top 10 Dark Star
9-28-72 top 10 Other One
12-10-72 top 10 Other One
6-26-73 top 10 Other One
11-23-73 top 10 Other One
6-20-74 top 10 Eyes of the World
6-8-74 top 10 PITB

With those out of the way there are 2 dozen others from '69-'74 that also should be released,but I will spare you any further listing.

22 Years Into The Past, Fans Ask for 31 Shows, Grateful Dead Say Yes To 19 Including 4 Betty Boards

I happen to own every single Deadbase, except for the first one.  As I scan the various editions, I find interesting gems to discuss. Today let's discuss Deadbase IX and their poll for fan's choice for Dick's Picks 3.  We all know that Dick's Pick's 3 was the super fine unbelievable mind blowing one in a lifetime Pembroke Pines May 22, 1977, but did you know in the days leading to the pick, not one Deadbase deadhead (or super uber insider fan) picked this show. It's because 22 years ago the band could still reach into the vault and find a show under the radar (especially if it was in the South where information did not flow on the NYC <-> Left Coast pipeline.

But this got be to thinking even more. Looking at these suggestions, I wondered "How Much has the Dead listened to their fans" And the answer is quite a bit. We will consider Deadbase 9's top-31 and the Grateful Dead Clubhouse Top-31.

These two 31 lists below are a good starting point if you like to see what might be coming down the pipeline, especially with the addition of 80 new shows.  My Next piece will discuss what Dave and Rhino might do over the next 22 years to come, ironically the same time frame I am studying here

Exactly 22 Years Ago, Dick's Picks v 3 Suggestions in Deadbase IX 1995 based on 4+ picks which equals to 31 magic suggestions. Let's see what happened to the 31 top suggestions; 19 shows have been released. In addition, even though Betty Boards went not known as such in 1995, four shows released were the 31 listed are Betty's, the Field Trip in 1972, Cornell (patience I know), Closing of Winterland, Buffalo (soon).  A few had a song or two released as well, and 2-13-71 I counted as yes since Dick's Picks 4 has those 3 songs that last about 2 years.  I believe the main reason that the Betty Board count is so low, is that in 95 people just didn't know, just like they didn't know about 5-22-77.

1972-08-27    2013 Sunshine Daydream  
1977-05-08    2017 Get Shown The Light
1970-05-02    1997 Dick's Picks 8
1970-02-13    1996 Dick's Picks 4 (4 songs) but its Dark Star>That's It for The Other One>Lovelight
1973-02-09     No
1974-06-18    2009 Road Trips 2.3
1969-03-01    2005 Complete Fillmore West
1971-04-29    2000 Ladies and Gentleman...
1973-06-10     No   with Allmans  (1 Song on Postcards From The Hanging)
1978-12-31    2003 The Closing of Winterland
1970-02-11     No
1974-06-28    1998 Dick's Pick 12
1989-10-16    2001 Nightfall of Diamonds
1990-03-26    2012 Spring '90 (6 songs on Dozin from the Knick 1996)
1974-10-18    No (1 Song on Grateful Dead Movie Soundtrack)
1970-02-14    1996 Dick's Picks 4
1970-06-24     No
1970-11-08     No
1973-05-26     No
1977-02-26     No
1977-05-09     2017 Get Shown The Light
1989-10-09     2010 Formerly the Warlocks
1990-09-20     2008 Road Trips 2.1 (10 songs)
1968-02-14     2009 Road Trips 2.2
1971-02-18     No (1 song So Many Roads)
1973-02-15     No
1974-05-19     No
1974-08-06     2004 Dick's Picks 31
1979-10-27     2015 30 Trips Around The Sun
1990-03-24     2012 Spring '90 (13 songs on Dozin from the Knick 1996, 1 on Postcards)

What is interesting is that we have no Dave's Picks from this list (although we have specific releases of a whole lot of these by Dave).

Since I have all volumes 2-11, 50, 1988-1993 but no Deadbase One can some one give me that one for a fair $?

No Dave's Picks from this list :)

Another list of 31 worth considering is the famous Grateful Dead Clubhouse top-31 jam segments circa 2009 Note is the place to go to check exactly which shows have been released.  Wikipedia is also extremely helpful for something like a Road Trips which might have songs for 5 or more shows .

While the Clubhouse Top-31 didn't predict future releases, it is a back check or proxy for how much of the grate stuff is being or has been officially released unlike the Deadbase IX survey which is a future wishlist from those invested enough to get incvolved with John and Mike and Stu and the fabulous Deadbase crew.   The band has released 18 of these 31. So their are some gems on this list

10/12/68:   No
3/2/69:      2005 Fillmore West Complete Recordings
11/8/69:    2000  Dick's Picks 16
2/13/70:    1996  Dick's Picks 4
9/19/70:     No
11/6/70:     No
2/18/71:     No  (one song)
4/29/71:     2000 Ladies and Gentleman
8/14/71:     No (one song)
12/10/71:   No
4/14/72:     2011 Europe'72
5/11/72:     2011 Europe'72
5/26/72:     2011 Europe'72
10/18/72:    No
3/24/73:      No
3/31/73:      No
6/22/73:      No
10/25/73:     No
11/11/73:     2008 Winterland 1973
11/20/73:     2011 Road Trips 4.3
11/21/73:     2011 Road Trips 4.3
5/19/74:        No
6/23/74:       1999 So Many Roads (Dark Star is partial)
6/28/74:       1998 Dick's Picks 12
10/17/74:     2005 Grateful Dead Movie Soundtrack
7/17/76:       2016 Dave's Picks 18  (First Dave's Picks on this page)
10/3/76:       2015 30 Trips Around The Sun 
12/31/76:     2006 Live At The Cow Palace
5/28/77:       2009 To Terrapin
11/20/78:     No
10/27/79:     2015 30 Trips Around The Sun 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Winterland March 18-20, 1977: The Other Ones (or the Hell-Raising Country-Pop Band)

Happy 40th Anniversary Winterland I of 1977. 
After two February tune-up gems, The Grateful Dead returned to California for a three night stand at Winterland on March 18-20. (Originally a two-nighter, with an added date) A little known fact (or mistake) is that the Dead were scheduled (or not) at one point to play the another gig at the Shrine on March 27, 1977, an unknown and unperformed show that might have been a gem (or perhaps the real place the Dead played Cornell (ha).

There was a little better-known three-pack in June back at Winterland so I will call these nights The Other Ones.

The editors down in Hayward sure had funny names for the band

A rich Stanford student places an ad, March 1977

We all know the shows were fantastic and deserved an eventual release.  As Dick says: 

So I will make a 3-4 CD release for you right now. I called it To Terrapin 3 since I would keep all three versions of Terrapin

CD 1: Night One

 Scarlet Begonias [6:49] > 
Fire On The Mountain [9:28]
Estimated Prophet [7:33]
 Terrapin Station/Alhambra  [14:53] > 
Drums [3:00] > 
Not Fade Away [19:29] > 
Saint Stephen [4:16] >
 Around And Around [7:59]

CD 2: Night Two (Set One)

Terrapin Station [10:20] > 
Playing In The Band [12:32] >
 Samson And Delilah [7:08] > 
Playing In The Band [11:18]
CD 3: Night Two (Set Two)

Eyes Of The World [12:21] >
 Space [2:43] > 
Dancing In The Street [10:45] >
 Wharf Rat [10:00] >
 Franklin's Tower [13:56] > 
Sugar Magnolia [9:16]

CD 4: Night Three

Scarlet Begonias [12:45]
Saint Stephen [9:49] > 
The Other One [14:48] > 
Stella Blue [8:57]
 ; Around And Around [7:58]
U.S. Blues [5:57] ; 
Terrapin Station [10:47]

Hey What Happened to LA? Got wasted away with the earlier April Southern dates.

Here's some snarky UK reviews of the time:

Grateful Dead: Wake Of The Flood/From the Mars Hotel

Mick FarrenNew Musical Express, 19 March 1977
THE GRATEFUL DEAD have always been a band whose work formed into waves and troughs. Wake Of The Flood is unfortunately one of the low points. After ODing on a slew of multi-record live packages they seemed to lose their funk somewhere along the endless highway that runs from slightly north of the Golden Gate Park clear through to Venus.
Although a very direct descendant of the magnificent Workingman's Dead and the slightly less than magnificent American Beauty, its fault was that it topped too far over into plaintive, post psychedelic country music so beloved by San Francisco soi devant rollickers who had lately retired to the pastoral arbours of Marin County, San Francisco's great hippie suburb.
With no jig-along tracks like 'Uncle John's Band', 'Casey Jones' or 'Truckin' to add a necessary balance, Wake Of The Flood falls into the trap avoided by its predecessors. The vocals are just too wistful, and where once Garcia's guitar soared he simply picks. Sure, it may be superhuman picking, but picking just the same. The rhythms are subdued, and even Robert Hunter's lyrics (and I consider Hunter one of the greatest lyricists this side of Bob Dylan) lack their red dirt robustness.
It may be a great record for those among us who can lay back on the porch and watch the mist coming in across the bay, but for the obtrusive urban environment in which the rest of us find ourselves, the record is just too light-weight.
Mars Hotel, however, is a totally different plate of greens. The spirit is right back there with Jacks on Kings and the hum of the diesels. It may not be drag out rock and roll. That seemed to be left to Bobby Weir on his solo albums. There is, however, the kind of optimistic bounce that is the hallmark of a quality northern California hoedown. The kind of music that's for strutting down the block, talking to stray dogs and grinning at the ladies.
From Kreutzman to Garcia everyone's playing is wide open in comparison to the doleful tightness of the companion record. Even the down tempo tracks like 'Ship Of Fools', although tinged with an easy sadness, have a sturdy edge that most of the cuts on Wake Of The Flood sadly lack. Even Hunter seems back in his stride with a jaunty optimism that draws his imagery from the street, the billboard and other rich lodes of classic pop-folk lore.
Perhaps someone reminded the Dead that their roots lay in a brawling, rumbustious port rather than some lost spiritual eco-Eden. Or maybe they just remembered that their purpose was to create music to get high to.
I doubt the wisdom of re-issuing these two records as a package. The set really does seem to present just too much of the same kind of Dead for one sitting. An ideal proposition would surely have been to produce a comprehensive, historical and, best of all, chronological package like the Jefferson Airplane/Starship's Flight Log or the Stones' Rolled Gold. This would, however, present tricky contractual logistics as their material is split between two (or is it now three?) different record companies.
© Mick Farren, 1977
Citation (Harvard format)
Grateful Dead/1977/Mick Farren/New Musical Express/Grateful Dead: <i>Wake Of The Flood/From the Mars Hotel</i>/02/03/2017 22:50:20/

The Grateful Dead: Terrapin Station

Chas de WhalleySounds, 30 July 1977
TEN YEARS and twelve-odd albums on from when they first hit the streets of San Francisco, the good ol' Grateful Dead present us with their most perplexing elpee ever. After four solid days on my stereo and so many spins half my block must know it inside out, I still haven't the faintest idea what to make of it.
Terrapin Station, you see, is simultaneously the finest and the worst record Jerry Garcia and his boys have ever signed their names to. The finest in that Keith Olsen's production and a strict musical discipline, never previously associated with the Dead, are combined into an album that sounds as slick and smooth as anything Boz Scaggs, the Starship or Steve Miller have offered recently. The worst in that the Summer Of Love is long burned out, it's now the summer of the microwave oven and the dishwasher, and the old acid pioneers, the old dogs of the rock 'n' roll war, simply haven't a tooth or a snarl left in their heads.
Let us get down on our knees once more and mourn for Pigpen. Turn the Lovelight On Again.
But it would be foolish to discount Terrapin Station because it ain't true grit. Why? Because, ironicaliy enough, with this album the Grateful Dead look certain to recapture not only the vast audience held spellbound in those halcyon touring days following Workingman's and American Beauty in the early Seventies, but a whole load more besides. Terrapin Station is one for the coffee tables. Hip jetsetters' delight, almost tailor-made for the big money, hip easy listening market.
And in those terms it's an album that puts your Fleetwoods and Hearts, and whoever else you may care to yawn to, firmly in the shade.
Thus you can forget the first side, 'cos there's nothing too unexpected on it. Keith and Donna Godchaux make the white funk connection (and murder Martha and the Vandellas' 'Dancin' In The Streets' in cold blood), Bob Weir runs his religious propensities through 'Estimated Prophet' and a swamp rhythmed gospel chestnut 'Sampson and Delilah'. (They talk about JJ Burnel's misogyny but how many times now has Weir presented songs that view women as nothing more than temptresses? Think on it, all ye ageing hippies with quivering sensibilities). Last track sees those laconic Dead body rhythms turned on their heads by 'Sunrise'. Donna sings it and it's just like one of those Rita Coolidge only-have-eyes-for-you Love Story weepies!
There ain't a single guitar solo on the whole side and if Jerry Garcia actually sings on it he's hidden far away in the mix. And let's face it, however commercial the songs and however well they're played, the Dead without Garcia ain't the Dead I knew and loved.
But if side one has the hit singles on it, side two will really blow your mind. And by blow your mind I mean blow your mind. Try this for size.
One long track, a Garcia and Robert Hunter composition, called 'Terrapin Station', a look-into-the-flickering-firelight flight of fabulous fancy. Each part subtitled King Crimson style: 'Lady With A Fan'; 'Terrapin Station'; 'Terrapin'; 'Terrapin Transit'; 'At A Siding'; 'Terrapin Flyer'; 'Refrain'.
What's the plot? You'd better ask the terrapins on the cover 'cos Hunter's lyrics start off reworking the Ancient Mariner let-me-tell-you-a-story-young-stranger line, well-flavoured with post acid fables and then mutters off into the night. It's very strange indeed.
And the music? Well, start off with Garcia in the introspective of Wake Of The Flood and then introduce Paul Buckmaster who, with orchestras and choirs, lays first 'Atom Heart Mother', next Gil Evans/Miles Davis' Sketches Of Spain, and then an airy, breezy jazzy theme (like they put on the front of those French TV thrillers they used to serve up serialised, before Blue Peter every Thursday after school) onto a big, dark, threatening chord riff very similar to Loudon Wainwright's tremendous 'Prince Hal's Dirge'.
What an earful, eh?
And it's all done so well. There is some simply masterful playing. They have never sounded so together in their whole lives, nor have they ever been so perfectly in tune.
Which, I suppose, is why, in the final analysis, I don't like Terrapin Station, It's all so well-conceived and executed that the old free-wheelin' bozo bounce has vanished completely. Rather than spark to occasional genius like the old days, the Grateful Dead are now almost boring in their finely-focussed consistency.
And they sure as hell ain't a rock 'n' roll band any more. They're something else again.
© Chas de Whalley, 1977
Citation (Harvard format)
Grateful Dead/1977/Chas de Whalley/Sounds/The Grateful Dead: <I>Terrapin Station</I>/02/03/2017 22:53:49/

Grateful Dead: Terrapin Station (Arista)

Max BellNew Musical Express, 30 July 1977
Dead Still Riding The Rods of the Celestial Train
WHEN CALIFORNIA'S most progressive rock band chooses to employ a producer for the first time you can assume the end product is going to be different.
Actually, the resultant album, or at least side two, is so complex that after a weekend's solid incarceration with Terrapin Station I can't commit myself to anything like a definitive personal opinion.
The introduction of Keith Olsen as mixmaster general places the good 'ol Grateful Dead in a light of greater intensity than at any time since their supposed hey-day six years back. Couple this with a move to Arista, the current limbo of Round Records, and a regeneration of interest in San Francisco's most misunderstood, and you can see that Terrapin Station is an album of much commercial importance.
The Dead have never had trouble confirming their appeal as a live attraction, but concomitant with their image as the confused sons of outdated anarchy has been their relative slump as a record-selling force. In 1977 America has witnessed a revitalised Dead, a committed concerto of studio interest and touring enthusiasm that parallels the renaissance of The Starship and the Beach Boys. When the psychedelic revival comes to a head, people will realise that Jerry Garcia never was a spent force.
In many ways the unsolved puzzle of Terrapin Station is its very accessibility. Side one is pretty much standard Dead, except that it comes over as something that will sell, not on the strength of its cosmic soloing (which is conspicuous by its absence) but purely on the grounds of the upfront melodies, catchy arrangements and basic rhythms.
I never have found it a chore getting next to Jerry Garcia's modus operandi — those so called exercises in scale blues — and Robert Hunter's linear lyrics have always struck me as the vision of a group who knew exactly what they were doing. The Dead have maintained their musical ideals in the face of growing critical unrest and scorn of the sort I guess even Mozart was subjected to. Posterity will have the last word.
But this Grateful Dead is for now, for real. As approachable and warm on one hand as it is baffling and beautiful on the other.
Composition credits are scrupulously democratic, and the stubborn demarcation lines reveal their intent is unshakeable. The album opens with a Bob Weir/John Barlow number, 'Estimated Prophet', which to me is a natural extension of 'Walk In The Sunshine', being a mixture of crazed religious fervour and stone sense, take it either way.
Weir's vocal carries off into the realms of intellectual cowboy insanity, almost spoken in a breathless rush, just waiting on vindication. The Weir-Barlow combination also threw up 'Cassidy' from the Ace masterpiece; this tune echoes that but in a sparse, pared-down manner. Under the menace of the desert heat-haze, Garcia picks a fourteen beat, near-reggae pattern with the notes bubbling like air in water. On the surface Weir surveys his apocalyptic claims with a messiah's sense of right: My time coming, voices say/And they tell me where they go.
Barlow's lyric mixes dogma with moments of pastoral quietude, the music is a perfect compliment to lines packed with associative imagery:
California, reaching on the burning shore
California, and I'll be knocking on the golden door.
'Dancin' In The Streets', a Dead favourite for ten years emphasises Olsen's part (he produced the Fleetwood Mac monolith and Sons Of Champlin's A Circle Filled With Love). This one should come out as a single — plain good fun with expert harmonies and a surplus of relaxed percussion.
The pacing of the side leads naturally into the Phil Lesh/Peter Monk rocker 'Passenger', an essential slice of West Coast fervour replete with some massive slide from Garcia, counterpoint vocals in the manner of modern Starship (Donna Jean Godchaux is a ringer for Ms Slick here) and some brief lead guitar phrases that turn my head inside out.
I'm more dubious about Bob Weir's adaptation of 'Samson and Delilah' (aka 'If I Had My Way'), a straight piece of bible telling. Keith Godchaux's keyboards scatter out from all angles, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart lay down peculiar rhythms, but the song evolves without saying very much.
Donna Jean's 'Sunrise' gets the full ballad treatment, orchestra, umpteen melodies and a solo vocal performance that requires a fair amount of suspended scepticism to get next to. Another band composition would have been more welcome.
Significantly, little is heard of Garcia until the first notes of the work that fills side two.
'Terrapin Station' stands or falls on the success of Robert Hunter's primary metaphor; at the moment I'm taking 'terrapin' to be a synonym for a fictional otherworld, not necessarily heaven. The Dead have chosen to embellish this piece using full orchestration, arranged by Paul Buckmaster and played by the Martyn Ford crew (!) with a refrain that features the English Choral.
It's a daring move whose justification I'm unable to verbalise. The tone is peculiarly English for the Dead, and reference points for music of this nature in the rock idiom include the Floyd's Atom Heart Mother and even popular classics like Oldfield's Tubular Bells.
Only time will tell whether Garcia has surpassed the pitfalls of rock playing with classical fire. My own feelings after the first hearing were of profound peace; I believe the effort to be fully valid. (Gee, that's truly touching Max. — Ed).
The five parts of the piece open with 'Lady With A Fan', Hunter's story is unfurled in parable form like a mediaeval romance, a trial by fire. The paramour tests her suitors, a sailor and a soldier, the prize being eternal bliss on Terrapin Station.
No further delineation of the plot's outcome is needed; exploration depends on your interest. The music and lyrics are super-arranged, cyclic, veering from elegiac to bombast, with shades of Bach, Aaron Copland, the Orient and the Wild West. Hunter's tale moves on the levels of a journey through time and space, the destination is hidden.
At times the music is like nothing you've heard on a rock album. Garcia's moves are taut and powerful, increasing in muscle from a lyrical motif to an astonishing solo duet with Keith Godchaux and the orchestra on 'Terrapin Transit' where he plays a break of unbelievable speed and precision.
Mickey Hart, Kreutzmann and Hunter combine on the heavily percussive concluding section, a drum crescendo leading into 'Terrapin Flyer', the super-riff itself, block chords and a suite of symphonic horns and strings. Breathtaking on three days hearing with the refrain consolidating the moral:
Some rise, some fall, some cry to get to Terrapin.
Misguided or monumental? All Superlatives seem tacky. The atmosphere is classic Dead, a natural progression of their aims from Aoxomoxoa and Anthem Of The Sun through to Wake Of The Flood and Blues For Allah.
At its peak Terrapin Station scales the heights of rock and roll as a sophisticated art form. You decide if they were wise.
© Max Bell, 1977
Citation (Harvard format)
Grateful Dead/1977/Max Bell/New Musical Express/Grateful Dead: <i>Terrapin Station</i> (Arista)/02/03/2017 22:54:16/