Matthew

***Greatful Dead Recommendations***

59 posts in this topic

On a whim, I recently bought the Dead's Live in Europe, and I must admit, I loved it. So, given all the Dead out on cd, where is a good next step? Should I spring for that big box out there, or pick and choose? Any help is appreciated.

PS: And I know your first recommendation would be that I spell Grateful Dead correctly! :wacko:

Edited by Matthew

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If you can afford the box go for it. It's a treasure trove.

I started down a similar route to you a few years back after years of indifference. I was pretty rapidly transfixed.

Most people will tell you to go for the live stuff...and I think they are probably right. There's an ocean of stuff in the Dicks Picks (they're on about Vol 26 at present) and other series. Sound quality varies but, as long as you are not an audiophile, there's nothing dreadful in what I've heard.

One disc I can strongly recommend - it was the disc that tipped the balance for me. 'So Many Roads' is a 5 CD set of mainly live recordings taken from across their career. It puts the emphasis on the jamming side of the Dead (less of the cowboy songs, more improvisation). There are some astounding improvisations...and its also a good primer for some of their key jamming tunes. There's also little overlap with releases elsewhere. I don't think it's that expensive for a 5 CD set either.

You might find this site useful:

http://www.blairjackson.com/jg_on_cd.htm

I also found the AMG a great help for recommendations

Edited by Bev Stapleton

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There are tapes of Ornette jamming with the Dead, from when Prime Time opened for the dead in I think around '88 or so.

I used to have a couple of them (may still, buried in boxes, haven't heard them in years). Anybody else heard these???

Pretty interesting to hear Ornette in a more conventional context. I seem to remember him playing in a typical Dead "space jam" kinda thing, but also on one or two more 'normal' songs.

Edited by Rooster_Ties

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If you have a high-speed connection, I'd check out gdlive.com - they have a bunch of shows you can download in mp3 or shn (which is a lossless compresion format that uncompresses into wav files).

I'm not sure which album you picked up, but my guess that it's from 1972. The Dead were on fire that year (it's my favorite Dead year). The European tour was in the spring of '72 and I'd download something from that period. One of my favorite Dead shows ever is 8/27/72. They have a couple versions of that one at gdlive.com.

www.gdlive.com

Good luck!

:rsmile:

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I haven't played any Dead in years, and I used to have a LOT of their lps. . . . Gave up a certain stimulant and became a mainly jazz head about the same time. . . years ago.

The ones I miss and may get again one day are "Mars Hotel," "Wake of the Flood" and "Blues for Allah," three consecutive releases that really are solid if you ask me. And I really miss the "Walk me Out in the Morning Dew" from the Europe set.

Edited by jazzbo

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I really am not a much of a fan of their studio recordings. For whatever reason they are a much better live band.

You can pick up the Dick's Picks releases here as well as Ebay.

http://www.dead.net/merchandising/music/gr.../Dicks_Picks_5/

From the Dick's Picks I would recommend these 3 first

#'s 4, 8, 16,

After those I would than go with

#'s 11-13, 19, 21-24, 26 & 27

There is also a series called From the Vaults. Though I don't have any of those at the moment.

Now if you money is not an issue you can always bid on this auction. ;)

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...0&category=1573

You would think the person that would bid on this would have to be a die hard fan but that type of fan would already have most if not all of these.

Edited by Mnytime

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I have "One From The Vault" and "Two From The Vault" and both are excellent. I'll second the recommendation of "Blues For Allah" and add "Workingman's Blues," my favorite studio Dead album. :eye:

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Now that I have a little bit of time, I'll chime in again.

There are so many different places you can get on the bus with the Dead. I've met people who like one aspect of the band (ex. the country stuff) while others like the more electric psychedelic stuff.

Here's my personal rundown of the different Dead eras. Please understand there will be overlap of styles.

66-68: This is the early stuff. This seems a lot more amphetimine driven. Garcia was really into playing fast at this time. The keyboards were Pigpen's Farfisa. I like this era, but they were still developing. They were a sort of psychedelic rock/r&b band.

68-69: They start to open up more. One of the main songs of this period is the Eleven. They were getting into different time signatures and their music was getting more complicated. This is when they started getting into the great jams. Noj recommend Two From the Vault. I'd agree, this is a good representation of 1968 Dead.

For the best example of this period, I would highly recommend the Live Dead album from February 1969. This album contains a classic version of Dark Star.

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Live at Fillmore East 2-11-69 is also good if you like this period.

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69-70: Their music in the early part of 69 was really intense, and towards the end of the year they started incorporating some acoustic sets into their shows. By 1970, they had really started focusing on harmonies and they recorded two of their classic albums Workingman's Dead and American Beauty, which I would highly recommend. The songs on these albums are probably the first Grateful Dead songs that most people heard. Stuff like Truckin and Box of Rain.

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71: In the early part of this year, they debuted a bunch of new songs. A great cd is the Ladies and Gentlemen...The Grateful Dead, live at the Fillmore 4cd set they released a couple years ago. There is a great deal of variety on the release. You get a good sampling of the different Dead styles.

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71-72: In August of '71, the group added a new keyboard player named Keith Godchaux. The early part of his tenure with the group really lifted the band to new heights. He was a valuable member up until around '78. They ended up kicking him out of the band in Jan. '79. But in the early part of the seventies, he really brought a lot out in Garcia and the others. My favorite jams occured from 72-74, and I think the end of '72 was when the band hit it's peak as a psychedelic band. Almost everything the Dead did after April of '72 through the end of the year is amazing to me.

There are a couple releases you might enjoy from this period. The first one I'd suggest is the Europe '72 album. This is a classic dead release.

Another interesting one just came out a couple years ago is the Steppin' Out With the Grateful Dead: England '72 release. This is another good cross-section of the group.

f37204zhvt1.jpg

If you like this period, I'd also try Hundred Year Hall, and then explore the Dick's Picks releases. I'm just trying to give you suggestions for albums that are really easy to find. You can order the Dick's Picks from www.dead.net - I also highly recommend those. I've got 22 of the volumes and I plan on getting them all. One amazing thing about the Dead is that you can legally download or trade live shows. I've got about 400 shows at this point.

73-74: The group backed off of the intensity pedal after the highs of '72. They came out in 1973 with a bunch of great new songs from their album Wake of the Flood. I've always preferred the live versions of these songs to the studio versions. The February shows are good and I'd suggest downloading any you can find. In September of that year they did a tour with a horn section. I believe Joe Farrell was one of the players. Of 1973 recordings I'd recommend picking up Dick's Picks Volume 1. This is an anomaly in the series because it is a standard retail release, so you should be able to find it easily. During this period, the let go of the psychedelia in favor of a jazzier approach.

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1974 was the year the band was at it's jazziest. Their playing was excellent. There's not a lot of documentation on cd from this year, except for some Dick's Picks releases. Once again, you can download a lot of shows at www.gdlive.com - but if you can't do that then the Dick's Picks from 1974 are the way to go.

At the end of '74, the band retired.

75: During their "retirement" - the group recorded the Blues For Allah album. They were still very jazzy at this point.

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I'll second the recommendation for the One From the Vault cd. This is a great live show from '75.

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76: The band ended it's retirement, but they were a different beast than they were in '74. They key word for '76 Dead is MELLOW. Garcia had just gotten into heroin and I think the music reflects that. They also dropped most of the epic space jam songs like Dark Star, and simplified their music a bit. As far as recordings from '76 go, you're pretty much in the Dick's Picks territory.

77: Amazingly, during the spring of '77, the group reached another high-point. Their songs from the Terrapin Station album were great in their live versions. The studio Terrapin Station album was overproduced and a bit disco in the my opinion, but the live shows until the beginning of June 1977 are all worth seeking out. Many Deadheads say that 5/8/77 is the best Dead show ever.

The only way to purchase anything from this period is through the Dick's Picks series. Dick's Picks Volume 3 is from May 22, 1977. The suite of songs on disc 2 are great.

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The post '77 Dead music has a lot of great moments, but I don't really believe they were as consistantly excellent as they had been before. Basically, the drugs which had helped them develop so much, turned against them (especially Garcia). That's my opinion.

I know I've left out a million things, but these cds I've recommended would be a good start into this music. I can't say how much I love this group!

The Golden Road boxset is a nice set. I would say it's an essential purchase for any Dead fan.

Good luck!

:rsmile:

Edited by AfricaBrass

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I really like 'One From the Vault' - it takes much of the Blues for Alah material in a live context. I'm not sure the title track of the latter got played much live.

Dennis McNally's book that came out last year 'A Long Strange Trip' is a great read on the band. As an insider it can be a bit sentimental but keeps you gripped, gets you pulling out the albums and has you buying a few more!

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Thanks for the great recommendations, and the great rundown of the various era's. I bit the bullet last night and bought The Golden Road, and I'm enjoying the early stuff more than I expected, especially the early live stuff on disk 2. The music is becoming very enjoyable and interesting to listen to. I think I'm hooked. :o

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That's great, Matthew!

It's such a cool set. The bonus material is excellent. It really will give you a good overview of the band because you can hear the studio albums and then live versions of the songs from the same era.

I LOVE every album on that set!

:rsmile:

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Wow!

It must have been amazing watching this all happen.

I wasn't able to get on the bus until the 80's (I was born in 1969), but that early period always kills me. I usually listen to something from the Dead everyday.

I didn't used to appreciate Pigpen. I've really come to see him as the heart of the band. I love hearing his raps and his songs always pick me up.

:rsmile:

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Africajazz

You really think Dick's Picks 1 & 3 would be the first to recommend from the series? I realize everyone has their own taste but personally I find the first 3 to be average at best. 4, 8, 16 are 9CDs of the cream of the crop IMHO of course. :D

With #4 being the best of the 27 volumes currently out. IMHO again.

It's the first time they played at the Filmore East on Feb. 13 & 14, 1970. I would place it as their best live recording. Followed up by #8 which was recorded in the first couple days of May 1970.

Edited by Mnytime

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Mnytime, I agree with your picks. The only reason I chose Dick's Picks 1 & 3 was because 1) Dick's Picks 1 is available in stores. I wasn't sure if Matthew wanted to order them online and it's a good representation of December 1973. Also, the version of Here Comes Sunshine is a huge favorite of mine. I agree that these releases are hurt because they are only 2 cd sets also.

In regards to Dick's Picks 3, I put that down because there is nothing else available (for purchase) from that amazing month of shows.

I agree Dick's Picks 4 is ESSENTIAL. That and volume 8 are very important documents from 1970. I just figured Matthew would get the two studio albums from that era first. I was trying to pick some good cds for getting into the different periods. I couldn't imagine not having these releases either.

If I was suggesting Dick's Picks I would have also added vols 10 (12/29-30/77), 11 (9/27/72), 14 (11/30/73 & 12/2/73), 16 (11/8/69), 19 (10/19/73), 20, 22, 23. Basically, they're all worth getting. I have the ones from 78 on, and they're good, but they don't do as much for me as the earlier ones.

Mnytime, thanks for calling me on these. I was trying to cram as much as I could into my first post that I neglected mentioning these great shows. :D

Matthew, for Dead reading, I'd also recommend the three volumes of the Deadhead's Taping Compendium. They break down the different shows for you here. It's not a perfect set of books, but they're informative and enjoyable.

:rsmile:

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Okay guys, you made me do it -- I ordered DP#4 from Dead.net this evening. My wallet hates you all. :rmad:

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fun sites to listen

www.deadshow.com

www.deadlegs.com

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Thanks Mr. Jazz!

I'll check them out.

Matthew,

I think you'll be very happy about the Dick's Pick! Sorry about your wallet. ;)

:rsmile:

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Matthew,

Another one I would highly recommend to you is a double CD live release called "Without A Net". It sounds like alot of the music that is being recommended to you is some of their older stuff, which is without a doubt their best. But they did have thier moments in the late eighties/early nineties, and I think "Without a Net" is one of their best from that period. Its availiable in most stores for the price of a single CD, the sound is great, and the Dead are on fire! Definitely check it out.

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I don't have time to list individual shows, but I see some very popular picks have already been mentioned. If you end up getting bit, you will most likely seek out all of these and then some!

As far as studio albums go, you should also check out the Dead album under Bob Weir's name called ACE. Recorded in 1972 and Mickey Hart had already taken leave, this is a great album. Bob sings on every track.

Greatest Story Ever Told

Black-Throated Wind

Walk in the Sunshine

Playing in the Band (with a great jam)

Looks Like Rain

Mexicali Blues

One More Saturday Night

Cassidy

Another excellent live recording, and a rare all acoustic date you should check out is called RECKONING. This is one of my favorites.

Dire Wolf

The Race Is On

It Must Have Been the Roses

Dark Hollow

China Doll

Been All Around This World

Monkey and the Engineer

Jack-A-Roe

Deep Elem Blues

Cassidy

To Lay Me Down

Rosa Lee McFall

On the Road Again

Bird Song

Ripple

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Sal is right. There was some good stuff happening in the late eighties/early nineties. It seemed like they were having fun again for a little while. I thought 1989 was a really good year for them. Pretty much 1988-1992 has a lot of worthwhile stuff for me.

If you like Without a Net, check out Dozin' At the Knick. This is a triple cd set from 1990.

I really enjoyed the shows when Hornsby and Welnick were both playing. Hornsby really seemed to help Garcia get the fire in his belly again. Also, they seemed to light up when Branford Marsalis appeared as a guest.

I never meant to completely ignore the later period, but whenever I'm talking to someone who doesn't like the Dead, it seems as if they're talking about the group in the eighties and nineties. They can't believe the group was ever as innovative as they were from 66-77. To me the early shows were often uniformally good while in the later years, they were more hit-and-miss.

:rsmile:

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DOZIN' AT THE KNICK!!!!! Thanks AfricaBrass!!!! I can't believe I forgot to mention the CD that turned me on to the Dead! That one is HOT!!! That Mud Love Buddy Jam.......wow......

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I've never been a fan of DOZIN'... I think we still own a copy though. That jam, Sal, is definitely sweet. I guess all of disc 2 is pretty damn good.

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Yeah Sal, I dig the Mud Love Buddy Jam too!

impossible,

I must have been typing my last post when you were typing yours. You have some great suggestions. Weir's Ace really is a lost Dead album. The track list from this album sounds like your average 1973 show.

Reckoning is also a great recommendation. Those acoustic sets from 1980 were one of the biggest highlights of that decade. I used to watch the video from those shows all the time as a Dead newbie.

A couple Dead related albums that I love are David Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name and Paul Kantner/Grace Slick's Blows Against the Empire. These were recorded in 1970 around the same time and have many of the same revolving musicians form the Dead, Airplane, CSN. There is some great playing by Garcia and the boys on these albums. At gdlive.com, they have outtakes from the sessions available for download (they're called the P.E.R.R.O. sessions, short for Planet Earth Rock n' Roll Orchestra). The track Mud Love Buddy Jam that Sal mentions is actually the changes from another Paul Kanter song that Garcia appeared on called Mind Left Body. Hence the similar sounding titles.

It's nice to see so many Deadheads around here. I was afraid of bringing them up for fear of hearing crickets or or worse.

:rsmile:

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"David Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name"

Oh how I love that record!

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"David Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name"

Oh how I love that record!

Cool! It would be a desert island choice for me too.

I really loved Garcia's pedal steel playing. I've tried to find every album that he played steel on. It's too bad he gave it up.

:rsmile:

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