A Few Notes on the Grateful Dead

Later, spiced up design of 1966 
poster for important cause
It's strange how many people - psych fans - that tell me they "don't get the Dead". There's nothing to get, man. It's psychedelia pure & simple, in fact it's closer to the heart of real psychedelia than almost anything else. I'd say that along with the Elevators, no other band integrated the LSD experience into their work as openly and persistently as the Grateful Dead.

I'm not a Dead-head, and I'll probably never get into their post-WB stuff, but I find myself enjoying the late 1960s (Tom Constanten-era) Dead more and more, both studio and live. Partly inspired by the recent tremendous 12-CD box set issued by Rhino/Warner Bros I've gathered some stray notes in tribute of one of the few, true masters of psychedelia.

1. Dead Live - Official live releases of late 1960s Dead

- "Dick's Picks vol 22" (Grateful Dead GDCD 4042, 2001) 
2 CDs from the February 22, 23, and 24, 1968 shows at King's Beach Bowl in Lake Tahoe, California. Portions of some of the songs played at these shows were used in the making of the "Anthem Of The Sun" album. A legendary collection with a raw, almost anarchic edge, begging the question just what the Dead were on at the time.

- "Two From The Vault" (Grateful Dead GDCD 40162, 1992) 
Two CDs with the August 24, 1968 show. A 34 minute long "Alligator" > "Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)" > "Feedback" from August 23, 1968 was prepared as the third disc of this release, but wasn't included in the album. Instead, this ended up as the bonus material on the "Anthem Of The Sun" CD of "The Golden Road" box set. This is a good one to start with if you want to get on the Dead live tape bus.

- "Fillmore East 2-11-69" (Arista 14054, 1997) 
A two CD release of the February 11, 1969 show at the Fillmore East in New York City. The early show: "Good Morning, Little School Girl", "Cryptical Envelopment" > "The Other One" > "Cryptical Envelopment", "Doin' That Rag", "I'm a King Bee", "Turn On Your Lovelight" > "Hey Jude". The late show: "Dupree's Diamond Blues" > "Mountains Of The Moon" > "Dark Star" > "St. Stephen" > "The Eleven" > "Drums" > "Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)" > "Feedback" > "We Bid You Goodnight". Succinct and song-oriented.

- "Live Dead" (Warner Bros. 2WS 1830, 1969) 
The famous 2-LP set. "Dark Star" and "St. Stephen" are from February 27, 1969 at the Fillmore West; "The Eleven" and "Turn On Your Lovelight" are from January 26, 1969 at the Avalon; "Death Don't Have No Mercy", "Feedback", and "We Bid You Goodnight" are from March 2, 1969 at the Fillmore West.

- "Dick's Picks vol 26" (GDCD 4046, 2002)
Two CD set featuring tracks from the Electric Theater in Chicago 1969-Apr-26 and some additional material from the Labor Temple in Minneapolis 1969-Apr-27. Has a "Dark Star" quite similar to the "Live Dead" version. Nice focus on the acid jam material in the selection, though the mixing levels are a bit off here and there.

- "Dick's Picks vol 16" (Arista/Grateful Dead ARI 14036, 2002) 
Three CDs from the November 8, 1969 show. Uh, I need to listen to this some more, man...

2. Remix & reissue confusion

The 1971-72 remixes of the Dead's two key psychedelic studio LPs, "Anthem of the sun" and "Aoxomoxoa" have caused some confusion which continues to this day. Here's the deal:

- "Anthem Of The Sun" (Warner Bros 1968). Original 1968 release.
- "Anthem Of The Sun" (Warner Bros 1971). 1971 remix, reprinted through the 1970s. Identifiable with a "RE" in the matrix number. The remix sound is easily distinguishable from the original, and inferior IMO.
- "Anthem Of The Sun" (Warner Bros 1975?). 1971 remix, withdrawn mid-1970s pressing in unique white front sleeve design (see below).
- "Anthem Of The Sun" (Warner Bros 1987?). CD reissue of the 1971 remix, late 1980s.
- "Anthem Of The Sun" (Warner Bros 1988?). CD reissue of the original 1968 mix, late 1980s (still in print). The sleeve design has been altered, and features a white circle behind the band Hydra design, and a more conventional type font than the "flames".
- "Golden Road" 12 CD box set (Rhino/Warner Bros 2001). The original mix was used for the box set, and the front sleeve design reverted back to the original design as well. The tapes have been remastered and the sound is clearly superior to any earlier pressing.

- "Aoxomoxoa" (Warner Bros 1969). Original 1969 release.
- "Aoxomoxoa" (Warner Bros 1972). September 1971 remix, released a year later. The back cover clearly states that it is a remix. Notable differences are the removal of an a capella ending to "Doin' that rag", and some effects on "What's become of the baby". This remix is more successful than the one on "Anthem" IMO.
- "Aoxomoxoa" (Warner Bros 1987). CD reissue. This utilizes the remix, and no CD release of the original mix appears to exist. The back cover clearly shows it to be the remix.
- "Golden Road" 12 CD box set (Rhino/Warner Bros 2001). Apparently the remix was used in the box set because the original mix couldn't be found. The box set liner notes and CD sleeve refer to the remix but do not explicitly state the CD included to be the remix (which it is) rather than the original. The tapes have been remastered for a slightly better sound than the earlier CD release. 

Read much more at the Grateful Dead Compleat Discography.

3. Anthem Of The Sun alternate white cover
As I understand it, this oddity in the Dead discography happened as a deliberate move from Warner Bros, who may have been dissatisfied with the original sleeve design for "Anthem" and tried a different look when reprinting the 1971 re-mix in the mid-1970s. In any event, the Dead were not amused and saw to it that the new sleeve design was withdrawn quickly after release, creating a rarity. If you ask me this was a rare occasion of the label being right and the band wrong, as the white design looks a lot better to these eyes. 

Here it is, click image for full size scan:

4. Bonus & secret tracks in the "Golden Road" box set, 1967-69 only

"Grateful Dead" (first LP) includes full length versions of "Good Morning Little School Girl", "Sitting On Top Of The World", "Cream Puff War", "Morning Dew", and "New, New Minglewood Blues". Unreleased tracks are Feb-1967 studio outtakes of "Alice D. Millionaire", "Overseas Stomp (Lindbergh Hop)", "Tastebud", "Death Don't Have No Mercy", an edited studio take of "Viola Lee blues", and a live 23 minute version of "Viola Lee Blues" from Rio Nido Dance Hall 1967-Sep-3. 

- "Anthem Of The Sun" includes 34 minutes of "Alligator" > "Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)" > "Feedback" live from the Shrine in LA August 23, 1968 (originally intended for the "Two From The Vault" release). As a hidden track at the end is the single version of "Born Cross-Eyed".

- "Aoxomoxoa" includes "Clementine Jam", "Nobody's Spoonful Jam", a 15 minute "The Eleven Jam" all recorded live in the studio Aug-1968, and a live concert version of "Cosmic Charlie" from the Avalon 1969-Jan-25.

- "Live/Dead" at the end includes hidden tracks of the "Dark Star" 45 version and a one minute radio spot for the album.


5. Live Dead insert

Unfortunately no traces of the original "Live Dead" lyric insert/booklet can be found in the "Golden Road" box set, so here ya go. Click on image for detailed scan of lyrics.


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