Live Grateful Dead Recordings

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by musiclover56, Apr 16, 2008.

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  1. musiclover56

    musiclover56 New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sunnyside-Up USA
    Maybe an oversimplified question, however thoughts from folks who know go a long way.
    Why was such a large amount of 'board' quality Grateful Dead shows available to traders, or broadcasters through the years (before the days of Dick's Picks or other issued live recordings). Likely there's an interesting story for every circulating tape, but I still cannot wrap my mind around the overall volume of live recordings from the 1960s and 70s.
    Is there a one-stop 'history' of these tapes available?
    Thanks in advance.
    -mike
     
  2. Jerry

    Jerry Grateful Gort Staff

    Location:
    Connecticut
    The Tapers Compendium series is the most likely source for that.
     
  3. sacsongs

    sacsongs Well-Known Member

    Location:
    St. Louis , MO
    Here is some information that may be of interest:


    Date: Wed, 8 May 1996
    From: xx
    Newsgroups: rec.music.gdead
    Subject: BETTY BOARDS: Watch This Space ...
    Hey now folks,

    Would you like some Betty Boards?

    An extremely kind taper/archivist (you know who you are!) is seeding a hefty set of the original Betty Boards on DAT, sixty-two shows from 1971 through 1980. These DAT tapes come from a source close to the original tapers (bless them!), and the tapes have no analog tape generations in their pedigree. About twenty stone lunatics, myself included, have decided to tree these BBD's so that our fellow tapers, and would be lunatics, can share in this fortunate event. Over the next several months, look for all sorts of tape trees right on here r.m.gd. (more on that in a bit)

    These tapes are from Betty Cantor's personal stash. For whatever reasons, she abandoned these tapes (and other property) in a rented storage locker back in 1986. After giving Betty repeated opportunities to catch up on back rent, or to remove her property, the owner of the storage facility legally sold the contents of the locker at an auction. The tapes were sold in batches to several people. One of these batches (62 shows worth) made its way into the hands of some deadheads, and was put into general circulation in the taper community. Bless them again!

    The first great wave of Betty Boards began hitting the streets by 1987. They revolutionized tape collecting. I still remember the joy I felt back in 88 or 89 when another batch of Betty Boards would come my way. By 1996, however, a lot of the Betty Boards in circulation are hi-gen and fragmented. Even many of the DAT copies out there are actually copies of old analog tapes. Given the quality of what was in general circulation, most folks have never really heard a Betty Board. Until recently, that included me.

    These tapes are great folks. You don't just get to hear the clang and hiss of a cymbal, but to hear the wood striking the metal disk, the clang and shake and wobble of the hissing cymbal. Believe me friends, you ain't never heard a Betty Board before.

    These tapes, although based on two track reels spun directly from the soundboard, should not be confused with soundboards that have been released in recent years. For one thing, many of the soundboards that the Dead have allowed to sneak out seem to have been slightly salted in one way or another to degrade the sound quality. These Betty Board tapes are pure and sweet, with no salting: they are better! For another thing, these Betty Boards reflect the limitations of working with 7" or 10" reel to reel tapes: sometimes a tape breaks off in the middle of a song; sometimes you can hear the tape spin up to speed at the beginning of a song. There are a few unpleasant reel flips here and there. There are several incomplete shows. Remember, these tapes were originally recorded many years ago by hippies on drugs!

    Over the next several months, there will be twenty or so people posting tape trees and/or tape pyramids of these Betty Boards right here on rec.music.gdead. Some DAT trees. Some analog trees. Some newbies trees. Some oldies trees. Some mixed. Some swaps. Some blanks & postage. Some European. There are also several face-to-face trees up and running. Our point is to make hi-quality copies of these shows available to regular old Bozos and Bolos like you and me. No authoritarian trips. No hierarchy. In fact, little hierarchy at all. Friends are spinning copies for friends. We offer them to the community. Y'all come!

    We'll be calling it the "What's Become of the Betty's" tree.

    The postings should begin to appear shortly. We'll be going in chronological order, beginning with the 1971 shows. Eventually we'll even make it to 5-08-77 (tm) and beyond. Which shows? Well, you'll know that when we start posting. Let's keep this fun. You just won't know what's under the tree until Christmas morning. Nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile.

    I'm making this initial announcement through an anonymous account mostly because I don't want to be deluged with email. There are several of us whose main part of the tree is spinning seed for friends who will do the actual treeing. I'm one of the seed-spinners. My decks are *full* for the next seven months, which is how long it will take us to tree these tapes.

    Wait for the posts. It won't be long.

    Posted on behalf of "The Unindicted Co-Conspirators,"

    xx

    and

    xx
     
  4. musiclover56

    musiclover56 New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sunnyside-Up USA
    Right ON!
    now we're cookin'
    Thanks for the responses.
    Meanwhile back to The Family Dog,
    -mike
     
  5. GerryO

    GerryO Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bodega Bay, CA
    Sound

    Hi Mike,

    After a while there was the official tapers section and the word is that after the Dead had performed the music, it belonged to the audience and the past (they were done with it), while they were onto the next version, the now and the future. They weren't as free thinking about video, as they preferred to perform with and for the audience, and not cameras, hence no Monterey and Woodstock (which isn't as bad as we've been led to believe, in spite of the horrific conditions).

    They also had a lot of equipment/sound-focused supporters in Bear, Dan Healy, Bob Matthews, Betty Cantor and Ron Wickersham (Ampex), which ultimately led to the Wall of Sound (two of them actually, transported/assembled/used/disassembled in rotation and differential/phase cancelling mikes).

    And hopefully you've checked out the internet achive site, where you can stream some really amazing studio, rehearsal and live stuff, some of it dating back to the very beginning.

    Are you looking for some sort of compendium?
     
  6. reeler

    reeler Well-Known Member

    There is just a long line of people working for them at the board that taped most of the shows, Beginning with Owsley Stanley who is the one who felt it important to record the bands performances to help him learn about audio and to use them to hone the bands skills. Owsley would tape the show, they would listen to it, and they would rehearse. Betty followed Owsleys practice, and other roadies taped shows also. Additionally the Dead and owsley were serious about sound quality (of the tape, and the sound in the hall), so in a sense they were audiophiles. Around the mid eighties collectors started to experience amazing low generation soundboard tapes. As the post above explains, Betty's locker with lots of excellent master tapes was auctioned. A handful of lucky tape collectors now own them, the master tapes of many shows are not in the Grateful deads own tape vault, all of these high quality tapes coupled with the deads own Dicks picks and vault series makes for a whole lot of some of the best sounding live rock recordings.
     
  7. musiclover56

    musiclover56 New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sunnyside-Up USA
    the story, she's a-fillin' in.
    the internet was good for Deadheads, i can see.
    very interesting!
    keep those cards and letters comin in,
    -mike
     
  8. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Uh Huh

    Location:
    Northeast Ohio
    When I started trading tapes, DP 3 had just come out, late 1995. Within six months, I had amassed somewhere between 500-700 hours worth of music, mostly soundboards, in varying degrees of sound quality (usually not so good). I took a break after that, too much music and too much work at once. I didn't discover online downloading until 2004, which of course made it much easier and convenient to obtain quality soundboard recordings.


    I've said this recently in other threads, but do not ignore well-recorded audience tapes, especially from the 80's and 90's. I find they sound much more lively than soundboard tapes from that era, generally speaking. I just listened to an AUD of 9/18/87 and I can't believe how good it sounds, especially compared to my SBD of the same show.

    Lately, I've acquired a MUCH better appreciation of audience recordings. I am very GRATEFUL for all the tapers who were able to capture these live performances in such great quality and share them with the rest of us. If any of you reading this were tapers, you have my personal gratitude. :thumbsup:
     
  9. JayB

    JayB Forum Resident

    Location:
    CT
    There are many reasons, for one the dead were not very strict for a long time about people who worked for them just "borrowing" stuff from the vault. Some good stuff got lost that way. Not to mention people like their soundman Dan Healy, Kidd Candelario, Betty Cantor, etc..all who worked for the band often recorded shows themselves (plugged into the Soundboard) for personal use..they gave copies to their friends, who gave copies to their friends, etc..

    I wish more bands were like that!
     
  10. reeler

    reeler Well-Known Member

    I totally agree, the tapers used some serious stuff. My brother had some Nakamichi mics and a three head portable. When the soundboard tapes switched to cassette instead of Reel to reel (starting with fall '79 tour), the "front of board" audience tapes are the ones to have. They seem to capture more ambience too. The audience tape of 1/20/79 I prefer to many soundboards. The guy my brother sold his deck to taped 4/12/83 (which I was at) from 15th row and it stomps the board version.
     
  11. JayB

    JayB Forum Resident

    Location:
    CT
    IIRC, There's a another stash of Betty Boards in "private" hands that has not ever been released to the public. The owners tried to sell them back to the Dead for big bucks. Very few folks have heard them. The Dead may have 1st gen. copies now, but not the masters I belive, which I think are still in private hands. (I think the Academy of Music 72' Dicks Pick came from this stash)

    Thats a LONG story though..they may write about it in the Taper's Compendium though, I don't remember.
     
  12. musiclover56

    musiclover56 New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sunnyside-Up USA
    "Taper's Compendium" appears to be the common thread here.
    I'll purchase the first one on my way home from work this evening.
    Thanks everybody.
    -mike
     
  13. musicalbeds

    musicalbeds Strange but not a stranger

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I started trading tapes in the mid-eighties, so when DAT arrived I danced myself giddy imagining all the great tapes I'd get...and I was right.

    It's a good thing I didn't discover the internet that day or I might have expired out of pure anticipation and shock....:)

    We'd hear of the BB's as the eighties drew to a close...me and my friends that is...and the old snail mail method of distributing them did help...but I got my best tapes at shows, trading with others who'd brought backups.....those were the days!
     
  14. Jerry

    Jerry Grateful Gort Staff

    Location:
    Connecticut
    I'll go back even further! I traded my first Dead tapes back in 1975. We transfered some Avalon '68 and Allman's at Ludlow's Garage from 8-track onto cassette! That gave me my first cassettes to trade, and I never looked back. I still have over 600 cassettes that I occasionally dip into. I can't tell you how many nights I spent setting the alarm every 45 minutes to flip tapes over because I was given a box of cassettes to dupe for 24 hours. No high speed dubbing was acceptable either! And we taped many Dead shows off FM as concerts were often broadcast live or rebroadcast back in the 70's and 80's. Yes, those were the days!
     
  15. ceddy10165

    ceddy10165 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Avon, CT
    The Deadhead's Taping Compendium is the series to check out.

    Funny that this came up, as I am re-reading (for the 6th time at least) the beginning sections of all 4 volumes right now, that trace all aspects of the taping and trading culture and community.

    Be aware when browsing to check the beginning of each volume, as each contains a different aspect of the how's, who's, and why's. fascinating stuff for deadheads, as well as audiophiles and folks into field recording.

    i'll also give second to paying attention to the best audience tapes out there. There is an ambiance captured on those tapes, that can transport you right into the event. the more time that goes by, the more special the AUD tapes become. i do miss the dead, and often wish we could all do it again.

    anyone have suggestions of their fave amazing AUDs?
     
  16. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Uh Huh

    Location:
    Northeast Ohio
    The MSG run from 9/14-9/20/90. All recorded FOB, all except 9/16 are up on Archive.org. Amazing performances, amazing sound.


    And one of the most amazing AUD's of all time - 8/6/71, also on archive.org. This is where that stunning "Hard to Handle" on Fall Out on the Phil Zone came from. Superb sound, one of my all-time favorite shows.
     
  17. Jerry

    Jerry Grateful Gort Staff

    Location:
    Connecticut
    Hollywood Palladium August 6, 1971

    Some of the Greek Theater Berkeley and Frost Amphitheatre in Palo Alto from the early 80's are spectacular. When I was going to the Frost shows, I remember hearing that the aud tapes we got were made by Stanford students with very expensive equipment.
     
  18. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

    Location:
    clifton park,ny
    and boy was i glad.i'd always heard those shows weren't in the vault so when they started showing up,we thought it was just a way to have folks stop asking.i attended 3 nights' 3/23,25,26/72 from 1st,3rd and 20th row respectively.now if only the 11/70 port chester sb's would magically appear i could have a sb of my first show 11/6/70.in the meantime,the famous usher tapes will do fine.that's another story...
     
  19. Jerry

    Jerry Grateful Gort Staff

    Location:
    Connecticut
    I'd LOVE to hear that story!
     
  20. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

    Location:
    clifton park,ny
    a couple of folks mentioned are very old friends of mine.to date,only a small amount of shows compared to what actually exists have been remastered.among those that have been include several dead,nrps shows,traffic,jethro tull,janis joplin,james taylor and a few more.



    The Port Chester Restoration project
    Capitol Theatre- Port Chester, NY
    Audience recordings by Ken and Judy Lee
    1970-1971

    Ken and Judy Lee didn't think anyone would be interested in hearing their recordings...

    Between the years 1970 and 1971, Ken worked security at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, while his girlfriend Judy ran movie projections between sets. One of a few live music taping enthusiasts of the time, Ken was granted exclusive permission by club promoter Howard Stein to record the shows at the theatre for his own personal use. Judy was on hand to perform the tape flips while Ken was busy doing his job.
    In 1968, the couple took Judy's brother Mark, who was nine years old to his first concert at "Cafe Wha?" in New York City. The Monkees were on tour and Jimi Hendrix was along for the ride as their opening act.
    Several years later, Mark was introduced to the music of the Grateful Dead at the Nassau Coliseum on March 19th, 1973 in Uniondale, Long Island. This single event marked the beginning of a life long odyssey of musical experiences with the band that affected him most deeply. Along with his good friend, John Jay Hance, who Mark met at a Dead show in 1979, the two traveled around the United States with the band in search of the ultimate musical experience, attending over 350 shows together. The two also shared a common interest in seeing live music of a wide variety of genres, and during the 23 years that they knew each other attended more than 1000 total concerts together, until Mark's untimely death in November of 2002.
    Mark knew of brother in-law Ken's recordings from the Capitol Theatre, and had a strong interest in having the shows circulated; however, being true to his word to Howard Stein, Ken kept the recordings under wraps and the tapes never saw the light of the trading domain (One noteworthy bending of this rule occurred when Ken agreed at Mark's request to circulate the late show that the Grateful Dead did on June 24th of 1970. This show is highly regarded as an all-time magical performance by the Dead during their 30 year history as a band).
    It was not until John Jay, who also knew Ken Lee, and of the Port Chester tapes, ran into Ken at Mark's funeral in 2002 that the fateful discussion of having the recordings released occurred. At that time, Ken didn't think anyone would have any desire to listen to his tapes. They had been sitting up in the attic of his present home for over 20 years going through the early stages of decay.
    Because such a great deal of time had elapsed since Ken made his agreement with Howard Stein, and the fact that John Jay was insisting that there was an overwhelming interest by music lovers to hear these recordings, Ken agreed to open the flood gates and the Port Chester Restoration Project began, which is ultimately a tribute to Mark Cohen's passion for live music.
    By fortune and coincidence, John Jay Hance, a master at the art of recording and restoring live music himself had already developed his own method for preserving fragile, decaying audio tapes with a heating method commonly known as "baking." The process of restoring Ken's recordings presents an even greater challenge, however. The cassette shells which encase the audio tapes first have to be removed and replaced because they are too fragile to be played. This is extremely difficult, being that these cassettes were glued together during manufacturing (as opposed to the use of screws, today). The halves of the shell must be carefully removed without doing damage to the tape inside.
    Once the analog tape is restored and rebuilt, it must then be then played back one time through an analog to digital converter onto a cd, which is then cleaned of hiss and other extraneous noises. Then it can be replicated and introduced to the world of music trading. For the cleanup job, John Jay enlisted the help of "Sound Forge" software guru Peter G to help make what exists from the master tapes sound just exactly perfect. Having listened to the first installment of this project, Janis Joplin and Full Tilt Boogie from August 8, 1970 several times, I can tell you that the sound is brilliant!
    Keep in mind that Ken and Judy recorded nearly EVERY show at the Capitol during '70 and '71, on an estimated 300-500 cassettes (one box of cassettes is believed to be missing). While many are labeled with correct dates and the music they contain, much of what exists is still a mystery. Several gems containing long forgotten performances and musical collaborations have already surfaced. Expect some nice surprises in the years to come.
    Enjoy Ken and Judy's recordings from the Capitol Theatre and appreciate the great care and quality of craftsmanship that went into their creation and is currently going into their preservation.
     
  21. Jerry

    Jerry Grateful Gort Staff

    Location:
    Connecticut
    THANKS!!!!!! Great story. Now can someone please help me wipe the drool of my shirt?
     
  22. musiclover56

    musiclover56 New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Sunnyside-Up USA
    i'm lovin these stories.
    you pioneer grateful dead-collectors need to be commended.
    keep on truckin'
    -mike
     
  23. musicalbeds

    musicalbeds Strange but not a stranger

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I never had a mic setup, but I was hooked into the tapers pit quite a bit from 1990-1993...by 1994-95 me using Dat tapes after the fact to get the recording.

    For much of 1990 I just had a boom box, with an RCA input, but no output....my friends called it "the end of the line", lol.
    I was in CA for the New Years run in '90, and I saw the 27-30th, but I couldn't find tickets for the big night...but it turned out better that I didn't.

    My wife and I had a Domino's pizza late in the afternoon on New Years Eve, and ended up throwing up all night, as the FM broadcast blared the show to us. We stayed in our hotel room, both in the bathroom, one with the toilet and one with the shower....and still, I taped the broadcast and didn't miss a beat, although space is of course, cut as usual.

    I remember the tape stopping during space, I was right in the middle of being sick and somehow I stopped, cleaned off my hand to flip that damn tape in the other room, before returning to my malodorous chore.
     
  24. windfall

    windfall Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    I have the first two volumes of the compendium (compendia?!) but vol 3 seems horrendously expensive - presumably OOP. What's the general opinion on comparing the best traded soundboards out there with the Dick's Picks series? I am thinking of starting to colllect the latter, but I have dozens of shows from the trading community already,....

    Stevie
     
  25. ceddy10165

    ceddy10165 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Avon, CT
    imo, always go with the official GD version. as far as sound quality goes, i think they've always delivered an exceptional product. especially in the 1-15 Dick's Picks era. the shows were lovingly compiled, the price was right, and there was never a production problem that i heard about up until So Many Roads.
     
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