Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by jacksondownunda, May 8, 2009.
I like the chronological focus your proposing. This will be fun...
Scorpio 45, “Birth Of The Dead”, “Rare Cuts And Oddities 1966”
The Warlocks and the birth of The Grateful Dead
Most of the gang had already been exposed to various mind-altering substances during their jug band/bluegrass tenure, and Garcia eventually conceded he “may have been taking music a bit too seriously”. Most agreed that The Beatles’ film “Hard Day’s Night” film made rock n’ roll look awfully fun. Jerry willingly caved in to Pig Pen’s pressure to start an electric blues band, though musically the model was The Rolling Stones’ brand of rough and tumble roots rock. Billy played drums, and Dana Morgan Jr was soon replaced on bass by Phil.
A few cuts from “So Many Roads”, and two archive albums “The Birth Of The Dead”and “Rare Cuts And Oddities” (*and a Phil Lesh book bonus disc) reflect the earliest incarnations (Nov 1965-mid 1966) of the electric Warlocks/Grateful Dead. I’ve presented them here together because they overlap a bit. Their obscure Scorpio single 45 “Stealin’/Don’t Ease Me In” from June 1966 was their only released product from these studio sessions at the time. Over to you. Does anybody have any impressions to share on these curios?
(BTW Please note that my short term plan is;
1) NEXT installment on the thread will be “The Acid Tests”cd & dvd from Key-Z productions featuring the Warlocks/Grateful Dead (as well as the early Hank Harrison “Dead Book” flexi-disc featuring Neal Cassady rapping with the Dead)
2) After that, next chapter will be the MGM Sunflower albums “Vintage Dead” and “Historic Dead” from Avalon Ballroom late 1966 featuring The Dead as Psychedelic Ballroom Dance Band”.
3) After that will be Warner Brothers “Grateful Dead” 1967 (then possibly Rio Nido cuts??))
The tracks on "So Many Roads" are taken from the following shows, rehearsals and studio sessions.
• Can't Come Down and Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks) - Warlocks Demo, 11/3/65
• You Don't Have To Ask and Cream Puff War - Fillmore, SF 7/16/66
• On The Road Again - Unlabeled 1966 reel
• I Know You Rider - San Francisco, 1966
"Birth Of The Dead"
Initial release : 2003
Double CD set of studio and live recordings from 1965 and 1966, plus one song with Jon Hendricks from 1967. This double CD set was originally released as part of the 12 CD Golden Road box set.
Disc 1: The Studio Sessions
The Autumn Sessions
• Early Morning Rain (Lightfoot)
• I Know You Rider (Traditional)
• Mindbender (Confusion's Prince) (Garcia/Lesh)
• The Only Time Is Now (Garcia/Kreutzmann/Lesh/McKernan/Weir)
• Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks) (Garcia/Kreutzmann/Lesh/McKernan/Weir)
• Can't Come Down (Garcia/Kreutzmann/Lesh/McKernan/Weir)
• Producer - Tom Donahue, Bobby Mitchell
• Engineer - Leo De Gar Kulka, Recorded on November 3, 1965 at Golden Gate Recorders, San Francisco
The Scorpio Sessions
• Stealin' (Instrumental) (Cannon)
• Stealin' (With vocal) (Cannon)
• Don't Ease Me In (Instrumental) (Traditional)
• Don't Ease Me In (With vocal) (Traditional)
• You Don't Have To Ask (Garcia/Kreutzmann/Lesh/McKernan/Weir)
• Tastebud (Instrumental) (McKernan)
• Tastebud (With vocal) (McKernan)
• I Know You Rider (Traditional)
• Cold Rain And Snow (Instrumental) (Traditional)
• Cold Rain And Snow (With vocal) (Traditional)
Scorpio Records sessions (tracks 7 to 16);
• Producer, engineer - Gene Estribou Recorded during June, 1966 at Buena Vista Studio, San Francisco
The Hendricks Sessions
• Fire in the City (with Jon Hendricks) (Hendricks)
• Producer, arranged - Jon Hendricks
• Recorded during March, 1967 at Columbus Recorders, San Francisco
Disc 2: Birth of the Dead: The Live Sides
• Viola Lee Blues (Lewis)
• Don't Ease Me In (Traditional)
• Pain in My Heart (Neville)
• Sitting on Top of the World (Jacobs/Carter)
• It's All Over Now Baby Blue (Dylan)
• I'm A King Bee (Moore)
• Big Boss Man (Smith/Dixon)
• Standing on the Corner (Garcia/Kreutzmann/Lesh/McKernan/Weir)
• In the Pines (Traditional / McMichen / Bryant)
• Nobody's Fault But Mine (Traditional)
• Next Time You See Me (Forrest/Harvey)
• One Kind Favor (Traditional / Taub / Hopkins)
• He Was a Friend of Mine (Traditional)
• Keep Rolling By (Traditional)
• Engineers - Bear, Rock Scully
• Live recording from July 1966
"Rare Cuts and Oddities 1966"
Initial release : 2005
Grateful Dead Records DECD 282
A collection of previously unreleased music recorded in 1966 at rehearsals, studio sessions and live shows.
The tracks on this release are from the following sources.
Tracks 1 to 10 from rehearsals and studio sessions;
• Walking The Dog - unknown location, early 1966
• You See A Broken Heart - unknown location, early 1966
• Promised Land - unknown location, early 1966
• Good Lovin' - unknown location, early 1966
• Standing On The Corner - unknown location, early 1966
• Cream Puff War - unknown location, early 1966
• Betty and Dupree - unknown location, March 2, 1966
• Stealin' - unknown location, March 2, 1966
• Silver Threads and Golden Needles - unknown location, late 1966
• Not Fade Away - unknown location, early 1966
Tracks 11 to 18 from live performances;
• Big Railroad Blues - unknown location, February/March 1966
• Sick and Tired - unknown location, February/March 1966
• Empty Heart - unknown location, February/March 1966
• Gangster of Love - Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, July 3, 1966
• Don't Mess Up A Good Thing - Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, July 3, 1966
• Hey Little One - Danish Center, Los Angeles, March 12, 1966
• I'm A King Bee - Danish Center, Los Angeles, March 12, 1966
• Caution - Danish Center, Los Angeles, March 12, 1966
• Original recordings producer - Owsley Stanley
• Silver Threads and Golden Needles producer - Grateful Dead
*Also; Cardboard Cowboy - studio recording, June 1966
This CD was distributed with some early copies of the book;
• Searching for the Sound: My Life in the Grateful Dead, Phil Lesh, 2005
Birth Of The Dead are some interesting first steps for the band. It's surprising that "Early Morning Rain", "I Know You Rider", "Don't Ease Me In" and "Cold Rain And Snow" have remained part of the band's repertoire for so long. I could have lived without all the instrumental versions from the Scorpio Sessions though.
Keep in mind while listening to the early period that Pigpen's old-man blues sound was coming out of a 20-year-old body! Tastebud and Pain In My Heart are 2 faves of mine.
i stupidly missed out on “Rare Cuts And Oddities 1966,” but can speak to the rest of the material.
The pre-67 sound is the sound of a band searching -- all of the pieces are there, but the puzzle is not solved. the Acid Test experience formalized the band's aethetic.
I prefer the band's early studio work to their early live work. It's interesting to hear them work through all of the contemporary folk-rock and blues-rock styles of the day. Early Morning Rain, with a lead vocal by Phil, is a good example.
Personally, I prefer their awkward garagey originals of the period to their covers. Can't Come Down stands on it's energy, not it's finesse.
Garcia's guitar style is confident and authorative -- it leans more towards blues than bluegrass at this time. Garcia and Pigpen elevate the early band and make them special. Billy and Weir are buried in the mixes and Phil has not found his unique personality on the bass quite yet.
I pulled out the "Birth" CDs yesterday, but still have McCree's and other 66 shows to listen to. Let's please take our time on thread -- there is so much homework to do for these entries that it will take some time to absorb each installment.
I've never fully grappled with the pre '67 period, so this is a great opportunity. I'm curious to hear what other's have to say!
here's link to background info on the Rare Cuts And Oddities 1966 CD:
Rare Cuts And Oddities 1966
A mixture of live and studio tracks from the very early days of the Grateful Dead
Walking The Dog studio, early 1966
You See A Broken Heart studio, early 1966
Promised Land studio, early 1966
Good Lovin' studio, early 1966
Standing On The Corner studio, early 1966
Cream Puff War studio, early 1966
Betty And Dupree studio, 2 Mar 1966
Stealin' studio, 2 Mar 1966
Silver Threads And Golden Needles studio, late 1966
Not Fade Away studio, early 1966
Big Railroad Blues live, Feb/Mar 1966
Sick And Tired live, Feb/Mar 1966
Empty Heart live, Feb/Mar 1966
Gangster Of Love live, 3 Jul 1966
Don't Mess Up A Good Thing live, 3 Jul 1966
Hey Little One live, 12 Mar 1966
I'm A King Bee live, 12 Mar 1966
Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks) live, 12 Mar 1966
David Lemieux has given the following background to these tracks:
While poking around the Grateful Dead's vault in the summer of 2002 with Bear, he pointed to a large, brown, nondescript box amongst his other non-Grateful Dead tapes. Bear simply said, "You ought to check that box out." After he split for Austrailia, I opened the box to find about 15 reel-to-reel tapes, most of which were unlabeled, while some had the most rudimentary identifications, such as "3/2 LA rehearsal," "Trips '66 3rd night," or "February 23 practice."
Playing those six or seven tapes that were at least crudely labelled revealed some true treasures, many of which appear on the CD you are currently holding. However, further major discoveries came on those tapes that were entirely unlabelled. What looked like blank tape based on their markings (or lack of), these eight reels of 1/4" analog tape turned out to be, well, rare cuts and odditites. Imagine my surprise at hearing Jerry sing lead on "Promised Land," Bobby first known attempt at "Walking The Dog," the first known versions, by far in some cases, of "Not Fade Away," "Big Railroad Blues," and "Good Lovin'," the first known Pigpen 2-song medley of "King Bee" into "Caution"(!), and the alternate chorus to "Cream Puff War" (a personal favorite in this collection). Plus loads of other great material, including some very rare Pigpen-sung tunes such as "You See A Broken Heart," "Sick and Tired," "Don't Mess Up A Good Thing," and the heretofore unheard Pigpen/Garcia rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Empty Heart" from their second album (which also featured future Grateful Dead standards "Around and Around" and "It's All Over Now."
We've also included some rare songs the Grateful Dead only performed a few times, including Dorsey Burnette's "Hey Little One" (check out more on this under-appreciated songwriter at www.burnette-rock.com/DorseyBurnette,htm), the traditional ballad (and inspiration for "Dupree's Diamond Blues") "Betty and Dupree," and a polished studio version of "Silver Threads and Golden Needles."
It's quite intriguing to realize how many of these covers appear in later years, and not just the obvious ones. I think "Walking The Dog" surfaces in 1970 in Portchester.
It's worth noting that the Dead were rejected for the first one or two Trips Festivals because they were considered a cover band. I really hope this thread can look at the Dead in the context of their times and contemporaries, i.e. the higher profile bands at the moment would've been Lovin' Spoonful or the upcoming Airplane and Quicksilver.
You'll also note that Bear was their patron by this time (he had a marketable product of note which brought in a few $), hence his tape stashes. The story of their time in LA is told amusingly in Sculley's book "Living With The Dead", including the early shows and tinkering with sound, feeding the band ONLY red meat, and peddling at the Hollywood burger joints, etc. There's bound to be more to say about these early recordings from someone? I think the story and music will start to get very interesting soon.
The commercial Trips Festivals that charged admission to an open public should not be confused with Kesey's many original, private 1965 Acid Tests which featured the pre-GD Warlocks as the "house" band.
Psssst, MonkeyMan. If you happen to drop in, please tell us about it.
About time ~~~
The Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions reminds me a bit of the "weird" american traditional folk music that Garcia would revisit late in his career with Grisman on the "Not For Kids Only" release. Roots music with a twist of humor and absurdity. It's easy to see how this attitude would come to easily intersect with the Pranksters.
In his asides to Weir, Garcia sounds almost annoyed by Bobby's presence on the recording; like having an awkward unwelcome little brother tagging along.
Fun stuff, but hardly essential for the non-completist Deadhead.
My copy of Birth Of The Dead has both discs marked as "The Studio Sides", instead of disc 2 as "The Live Sides". Do I have a collector's item, or was this mistake never corrected?
PP rocks my world...
Well I was just playing the first disc on my copy and just checked, my labels are correct... so...
Anyhow, never played this disc despite owning the set since it came out...
I focused on the first half while cooking and really liked it, but must confess to not hearing the second half as I slipped into a silly arguement in another thread herein...
But... LOVED that third track, Mindbender (Confusion's Prince), one I'd never tripped on before... Great organ (by PP I presume) seems a precursor to much of that late 60s errie, gothic organ sound to come... Great singing too, who was on that one?...
(also dug the first two tracks, Lightfoot's Early Morning Rain and IKnowU...)
Now onto disc two, too long a comin'...
This first cut on the live disc is very stylin'...
I think the show was 6 February 1966, Northridge Unitarian Church, Los Angeles, CA. As I recall, folks were using the names Warlocks and Grateful Dead interchangeably at that time. The repertoire was pretty limited at that point. There's no way I will remember the set list; it was mostly a bunch of bluesy cover tunes. Keep in mind that in this era McKernan really was the focal point of the band, not Garcia. Ron was so nasty during some of his raps that I think people were just waiting to see what he'd say, just for the shock value if nothing else.
I was sober at that show, as I hadn't gotten on the bus just yet. Some of the Pranksters were there, which was another point of interest since they were just so weird. The experience really prepared me for life in a way. Anything can happen at any time, to or with anyone. And there are no spectators, only participants.
thanks for sharing!
This date is listed as an acid test (can't imagine what it was like to be sober at an Acid Test)...
1/29/66 Paul Sawyer's Unitarian Church, Los Angeles, Northridge, CA.
this recording is also listed from this day as well...
01/29/66 Merry Pranksters Acid Test LP Sound City Recording Studios San Francisco, CA. The Merry Pranksters with Jerry and Pigpen in attendance.
There is an ad for a Straight Theater show on 1/29/66 too...
a busy day for the Dead!
I didn't drop acid until the fall of 1966; I was still a spectator before that. Also, I was there with my Uncle and Aunt (they went to church there). I didn't want to get strange with them, especially for my first time. That would've been too weird for me at the time, I wasn't ready for it. But by fall...
certainly not a judgement, just an observation of how totally bizarre it must have been. any other memories of the scene that day? i can't say it without sounding totally cheesy, but was the air as electric as the history books paint it?
You cookin' and trippin' again Bill?
Very ambitious thread here, big thanks jacksondownunda ... ... just the beginning of a delightful romp through my favorite band ever!
Gotta say WOW in comparing the overall sound of MMUJC to what was crafted and honed in the next year.
With a number of the "Acid Test" gatherings/performances under their belts they sure had worked through some major changes in the sound shaping by spring of '66.
We appear to be "there", so I'll try to load up the Key-Z "Acid Tests" dvd & cd, and Neal Cassady w/Dead stuff tonight...and just let it flow...
Thanks Monkey Man!
It aint called mrbillswildride for nuttin hunny...
I just finished both discs of TBOTD and loved it all, agreed, PP was the star of the show back then, shame what his acohol addiction did to him and his talents so quickly...(Easy Wind is my fave PP track...)
My mind needs some time to get my soul around these early tunes, much different than the band I heard 'when the music never stopped'...
The Acid Tests
IMHO, this is where their story gets real interesting. LSD had been a potent lubricant at subdued Harvard soirees and CIA Christmas parties, and was not uncommon in youth circles and dances. The Merry Pranksters’ “Acid Tests” experience was a very unique and CRUCIAL ingredient in The Dead’s artistic/musical development. Briefly, the Acid Tests differed from a mere dance in that the whole shebang was a “participatory” form of entertainment/multi-media art/group therapy/whatever. The Merry Pranksters towed along their strobes and microphones and recorders and echoes and toy instruments, the house band Warlocks/Dead played when they wanted and often simultaneously with the Pranksters, Stewart Brand brought slides, freaks brought themselves and whatever amusement could be derived or created with clothes, color, and dance. Under the potent effects of LSD, folks were psychologically naked in front of their fellow men/women (“..and behold, we were beautiful!”).
The Dead already knew how to play music to an audience, but as the band and audience together hung on by their fingernails to any slivers of sanity, they also learned to play the VIBE of the moment. Scully recalled “old crones and chickens perched on wires” hanging in the darkness. Tuning became a zen-like meditation as the ripples of audience interaction sounds crashed, flowed and ebbed like ocean waves. The idea of noise and simultaneity was no stranger to modernist composer Phil Lesh, but these concepts became completely absorbed and second nature in the Dead’s musical landscape. In years to come, it could be quite surreal as band and audience would slide from cowboy tunes straight into the sounds of giant crickets, volcanic eruptions and sci-fi blips and bloops, then pop out 20 minutes later into a Chuck Berry tune, AND NO ONE WOULD BAT AN EYELID…IT WAS COMPLETELY NORMAL AT A DEAD SHOW.
All the above would’ve been lost to time, but hippie tribal memory of participants, then Tom Wolfe’s book “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” (along with Ken Kesey’s own recounting in his book “Kesey’s Garage Sale”) elevated the events in the public consciousness to the status of true 20th Century legend. Wolfe wryly noted at the end of the book that The Dead took over “the franchise”, so to speak, and though the music, lights and colorful people continued on, the initial flash of audience participation was gone. Mountain Girl lamented in the early 1970’s Rolling Stone Garcia interview that she didn’t go to many Grateful Dead concerts anymore because she felt there was nothing for her to “do”. (She was back in fine form in the Dead’s 1987 New Year’s broadcast as “Future Lady”.)
"The Acid Tests" Key-Z Productions dvd & lp/cd
Fortunately, Kesey, Babbs and The Pranksters were good archivists and the following Dead/Garcia performances at the Acid Tests are commercially available from http://www.key-z.com/. (If you haven’t seen these, you may still have seen some of the footage at the beginning of the as yet unreleased “Sunshine Daydream” movie.)
DVD; THE ACID TEST, DIRECTORS CUT
Refurbished and reedited by Zane Kesey and Simon Babbs using state-of-the-art "toys". This dramatic quality difference is from re-transferring original film and audio from the Merry Prankster vaults in Hollywood. Featuring added scenes, new songs, new interviews, and now synched sound. Featuring the Dead (Pigpen, Jerry, Bobby, Phil and Bill), Ken and the Merry Pranksters (Cowboy Neal, Mountain Girl, Babbs, Hassler, Betsy Flagg, George Walker, Gretchen Fetchin and of course Owsley, the man behind the stereo and the electric punch). In this special "Directors Cut" the Prankster pose as moviemakers, "simply shooting a party scene". Their planning is interrupted enroute to the event, to hide the stash, because a patrol car has spotted Furthur. Pigpen improvises as the amplifiers around the room find "Power". Naturally you are treated to plenty of Dead (Warlock) classics and Prankster craziness. As the night builds, and the Kool-Aid kicks in, newly crystallized minds melt with the colors and music. Eventually the Ballroom manager attempts unplugging this electronic mayhem, but they can't see to turn anything or anybody "off". This exiting slice of history is everything Tom Wolfe wrote about, and more (like Jerry sweeping up after the show).
Approx. 55 min.,
ACID TEST VOL.2
SANFRANCISCO STATE 10/1/66
One week before the law that made LSD illegal in California was to take effect; Ken Kesey snuck back from his hideout in Mexico to attend the San Francisco State College Acid Test. Word on the street was that Kesey had made a deal. He didn’t! The set-up was with Kesey, Jerry, Mt. Girl etc. off in a different hidden room secretly microphoned and wired so people could hear him and he could hear them and interact with the crowd in the auditorium. This didn’t happen until around 4am. All of this was being broadcast by the local radio station that also recorded it with a professional reel-to-reel tape recorder. Ed Perlstein recently found this gem preserved in the Bay Area Music Archives, and sent a digitally re-mastered (but unaltered) DAT. Nest generation Prankster Simon Babbs has enhanced, the sound, divided it into tracks, and created CD through Intrepid Trips, he burns these CDs individually for you. Versions of this Acid Test have emerged through the years from amateur recordings of the broadcast, but this CD with its pristine recording from the location are a window into time! With Ken Kesey on guitar and vocals, Dale Kesey on violin, Hugh Romney (Wavy Gravy) and Mountain Girl (Carolyn Garcia) backup and side-pranks, Jerry Garcia on Organ, and Steve Newman was engineering.
The tracks are labeled as such:
1. The Head has become Fat 4:49
2. The Stars tell a Story 2:45
3. Out in the Jungle 3:06
4. Tarnished Gallahad 4:12
5. Large Soft Woman 6:10
6. Go Head on up 2:30
7. Announcement 6:14
8. Musical Interlude 3:49
9. Space Flight 9:27
10. Space Jam 7:33
11. The Butcher is Back 11:01
12. Musicians Exploratory 6:14
Hank Harrison “The Dead Book” flexi-disc.
Older DeadHeads may remember Hank Harrison’s first incarnation of The Dead Book with flexi-disc from Straight Theatre Nov 1967 where Neal Cassady whimsically raps while the Grateful Dead playfully make “snake music” (Lovelight riffs) behind him. Though it sounded quite impenetrable, the 80’s incarnation of the book replaced the flexi-disc with a chapter called “Encountering Neal”, with an annotated transcription of the same rap seemingly proving that, by golly, Neal really WAS capable of telling at least 6 stories simultaneously! Neal (Jack Kerouac’s Dean Moriarity himself; “Neal Keroacidy”!) was many things to many people, including Prankster, Dead associate (and roadie) and more importantly a sterling and permanent example and inspiration to the Dead of “life as performance art”.
i have not seen the Acid Test film, but just listened to the record again yesterday. as formative as the Tests were to the GD, the record doesn't contain any enlightening music to my ears. i get the impression that there's no way a mere record could convey what happened at the Acid Tests. The flexi disc doesn't do much for me either. While it's cool to hear Cassady, Kesey, and the gang, these recordings don't do much for me.
Several CDs of other Acid Test excerpts do circulate among collectors. The GD approved of taping and trading concert performances as long as no money changed hands -- afaik, they were the first band to embrace taping and establish this policy.
Some helpful links as we start our journey...
DeadBase: The Complete Guide to Grateful Dead Song Lists
grateful dead setlists, stats, reviews, and much more.
Grateful Dead Family Discography
The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics, by David Dodd
This site provides footnotes for Grateful Dead lyrics. The standard procedure will be to provide links for words or phrases which might benefit from some elucidation, without attempting to give definitive "interpretations," since that's a very personal endeavor.
Live Music Archive:
etree.org is a community committed to providing the highest quality live concerts in a lossless, downloadable format. The Internet Archive has teamed up with etree.org to preserve and archive as many live concerts as possible for current and future generations to enjoy. All music in this Collection is from trade-friendly artists and is strictly non-commercial, both for access here and for any further distribution. Artists' commercial releases are off-limits. This collection is maintained by the etree.org community.
GRATEFUL DEAD LISTENING GUIDE
HELPING NEW AND OLD COMERS NAVIGATE THROUGH LISTENING CHOICES IN THE SEA OF GRATEFUL DEAD SHOWS AVAILABLE ON AND OFF LINE.
If anyone has others links, please share them!
Grateful Dead Hour
David Gans' excellent long running radio program.
SIRIUS Satellite Radio - The Grateful Dead Channel
Separate names with a comma.