Grateful Dead: Halloween '79 (Nassau Coliseum - Oct 31-Nov 2, 1979)

Here’s 76 minutes of jamming from The Grateful Dead’s 1979 Halloween run at Nassau Coliseum (10/31 – 11/2). Jesse Jarnow pointed out these highlights to me, and also suggested that the “Eyes” and “Saint” might be cool as instrumentals. I didn't know that "Saint" had ever been a long-jam song!

76-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

All tracks are from 11/1, except “Eyes” (10/31) and “Saint” (11/2):

  • Scarlet Begonias > (17:56)
  • Fire on the Mountain (16:44)
  • Jam (1:54)
  • Playin’ Jam (13:32)
  • Eyes of the World (instrumental edit) (11:33)
  • Saint of Circumstance (instrumental edit) (14:46)

The “Scarlet > Fire” was released as a “hidden track” on “Dick’s Picks” #13, which otherwise featured a later Nassau show – 5/6/81. The two 1979 songs were attached to the ’81 “Saint of Circumstance,” forming a 45 minute track at the end of disc 2. 

Artwork by Andrei Verner. Check him out here

Grateful Dead “Days Between” (unreleased 1993 rehearsal edit)

This is an 11:32 edit of two unreleased rehearsal takes of “Days Between” from the same sessions that provided the recording used on the “So Many Roads” compilation. These two come from 2/10/93. The motivation for the edit was just to have another really good version of the song to listen to.

I don’t think anyone will fight me, if I say that “Days Between” was the giant among The Grateful Dead’s final batch of songs, built on a musical logic all its own. Its closest kin is probably “Stella Blue.” Unfortunately, there aren’t that many live performances that nail both the vocals and the music.

I made this a while ago, so I can’t recall how many different pieces of the two takes I collaged to build the song-section of the track. Maybe three. That edit flows into a long, heavy jam that concluded one of the versions, and which is quite different from the “So Many Roads” one. At the conclusion, you’ll hear Garcia comment, “Coming along!”

mp3 download here

  • Days Between (edit, 2/10/93, Club Front)

Cover art adapted from a Barnett Newman painting.

The Grateful Dead: Not the Wild East – Late Summer, 1969

Here are five hours of wild West Coast Grateful Dead from the same month (8/2 through 9/7) as Woodstock. Jesse Jarnow has generously written liner notes for this mix, which was inspired by his show-by-show commentary @bourgwick and refined in conversation with him. His essay is below the tracklist.

Disc 1: A Swell Dance Party (76 minutes)

  • PA: There’s going to be a party
  • Hi-Heel Sneakers (with sax & violin)
  • Minglewood Blues (with Gary Larkey on flute)
  • China Cat Sunflower (with Gary Larkey on flute)
  • Sittin’ on Top of the World
  • High Time
  • Mama Tried
  • Big Boss Man (composite edit)
  • Hard to Handle (three version combo, with violin)
  • Not Fade Away > Easy Wind intro jam
  • Easy Wind (instrumental edit)

Disc 2: A Swell Dance Party cont. (64 minutes)

  • Big Boy Pete >
  • Good Lovin’
  • It’s All Over Now
  • Beat it on Down the Line (w/violin)
  • New Orleans >
  • Searchin’
  • I’m a King Bee
  • Me and My Uncle
  • Dire Wolf
  • He Was a Frind of Mine
  • Seasons >
  • Slewfoot
  • Casey Jones

Disc 3: The Dark Star Variations (58 minutes)

  • Dark Star > 
  • Cosmic Charlie
  • Dark Star (w/sax and violin)
  • The Other One (w/sax and violin)
  • Jam after Caution (w/sax and violin)

Disc 4: The Dark Star Variations, cont. (51 minutes)

  • Dark Star (edit, Hartbeats w/Howard Wales on organ)
  • Jam (Hartbeats w/Howard Wales on organ)
  • Dark Star

Disc 5: Grateful Airplane (Garcia, Kreutzman, Hart, and Jefferson Airplane members) (47 minutes)

  • Peggy Sue
  • That’ll be the Day
  • Johnny B. Goode
  • Baby What you Want Me to Do?
  • Wipe Out > Big Railroad Blues
  • Volunteers Jam

5-hour mp3 mix zipped up here (track dates and personel noted in song tags)

Not the Wild East
Like everything it touched, Woodstock casts an oversized shadow over the music the Grateful Dead made in the late summer of 1969. A terrible set in front of several hundred thousand, Woodstock virtually erases a fertile month in the band’s musical history. Forgotten between the crystalline perfection of the Live/Dead recordings from the spring, and the first glimmerings of the band’s folk-country directions (and the birth of the New Riders of the Purple Sage) is the sound of the Grateful Dead exploding with vivid energy that confounds the usual narrative of the band’s progression from deep space to deep Americana.

The month began with a chain of events centered around what was set to be the biggest music festival of the summer, resulting in a sudden, unexpected platform for the band’s newest explorations. The festival wasn’t Woodstock, but an enormous multi-day affair set to be held in San Francisco: The Wild West. As Michael Kramer has wonderfully documented in Republic of Rock and elsewhere, expectations for Wild West were so big that some in the underground press referred to Woodstock as the “Wild East.”

But Wild West imploded before it could happen, the implosion manifesting in part as a strike by the Light Artists Guild held outside a Grateful Dead show on Jerry Garcia’s 27th birthday. The venue for the Dead show and the picket line was the Family Dog on the Great Highway, the collective’s new venue “at the edge of the Western World” across the street from the Pacific Ocean in the ballroom once known as Topsy’s Roost, inside the Playland-at-the-Beach amusement park. Garcia refused to cross the picket line, and the subsequent negotiations led to the brief life of the utopian Common, practically speaking an ongoing series of loose afternoon hangs at the Family Dog, sometimes including the Dead. One such affair, not circulating as of press time, involved an early-career gig by the New Riders of the Purple Sage and a late-career gig by the New Lost City Ramblers, the pioneering folk act that were a formative influence on Garcia. Alongside the band’s regular gigs at the Family Dog and a small docket of other festivals and appearances, the month yields a virtual box set of raw surprises.

Grateful Dead: Sawmill b/w Seasons of My Heart (Alembic Studios 9/17/69)

This is a fake, studio-recorded, country-and-western single by the Grateful Dead, four months ahead of the recording of “Workingman’s Dead,” at a point when only a few of that album’s songs had entered the live repertoire. 

Captured at an unreleased September 17, 1969 rehearsal session that also included an emphatic effort to play Looney Tunes cartoon music, these are carefully-executed performances of songs that the Dead only played live a few times.

Both tracks are Weir-sung with group harmonies and Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar. Garcia’s first side-band, New Riders of the Purple Sage, played their first shows around the same time. 

7-minute mp3 file zipped up here

  • Sawmill (Horace Monroe, Mel Tillis)
  • Seasons of My Heart (George Jones, Darrell Edwards)

Editing and live performance notes:

  • “Sawmill” is the third of three attempts during the rehearsal. There are three documented live performances, January to April 1970. 
  • There is no complete take of “Seasons” in the studio session, as the band stopped to carefully rehearse the harmonies of the final section. I’ve edited their final attempt (which they approve at its conclusion) onto the rest of the song. There are five documented live performances, August 1969 to February 1970.

The Grateful Dead: Looney Tunes (9/17/69 - Alembic Studios)

The Grateful Dead were many things in the late summer and early fall of 1969, including a band that was very enthusiastic about playing cartoon music, with Garcia on pedal steel some of the time. 

This mix pulls a number of discrete “takes” out of 30 minutes of studio rehearsal recordings and stacks them into a fun sequence. It includes/compresses some fantastic band chatter. They couldn’t stop cracking up with delight and cackling over plans to mount cartoon music attacks onstage. I’ve jacked up the volume on the chatter, so it’s even with the music. 

There are more themes than I could identify, and others so fleeting that they didn't make it into the titles, including Garcia poking briefly at "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." 

22-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Merrily We Roll Along (acapella)
  • Merrily We Roll Along
  • The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down 1
  • Chase Sequence
  • Chatter
  • Cartoon Music (unidentified)
  • Teddy Bear’s Picnic
  • Circus Music (unidentified) > The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down 2 > Cartoon Music (unidentified)
  • Mickey Mouse Club > Popeye the Sailor Man
  • The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down 3
  • The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down 4

Dedicated to Carl Stalling

Thanks to @bourgwick for pointing out this recording. The full rehearsal tape contains much more, completely different material that is worth a listen, some of it tilting hard toward “Workingman’s.” As they play Mel Tillis' "Saw Mill," I can imagine Robert Hunter sitting there and thinking, "I could write a better song about a coal mine!"

The Mothers of Invention: Seriously Live - 1967-1969 bootleg highlights

Sliced and diced together from five bootleg recordings, this is a giant, live, instrumental album of The Mothers of Invention playing unique arrangements of and incendiary, extended jams around many of their major songs of the era. Details on sources and alignment with official albums duly noted below the program/player info.

mp3 mix zipped up here (source dates included in tags)

The Program

Disc 1 (70 minutes):

  • Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbeque (2:18)
  • Eye of Agamoto (7:31)
  • Aybe Sea (3:01)
  • Uncle Meat > King Kong (17:47)
  • A Pound for a Brown (on the bus) (8:36)
  • Sleeping in a Jar (16:32)
  • The Dog Breath Variations > (10:40)
  • What (3:53)

Disc 2 (68 minutes):

  • Some Ballet Music #1 > (6:08)
  • Uncle Meat (5:05)
  • King Kong excerpt (9:11)
  • Some Ballet Music #2 (5:50)
  • King Kong excerpt (8:46)
  • King Kong excerpt (15:12)
  • A Pound for a Brown (on the bus) excerpt (5:32)
  • Some Ballet Music #3 (2:18)
  • King Kong excerpt (7:52)
  • Petrouska > The Bristol Stomp (1:49)

The Players

  • Frank Zappa: guitar, percussion (composer, re-arranger, conductor)
  • Roy Estrada: bass
  • Jimmy Carl Black: drums
  • Ian Underwood: guitar, keyboards, woodwinds, flute, clarinet, alto and tenor saxophone
  • Don Preston: keyboards
  • Jim Sherwood: soprano and baritone saxophone
  • Bunk Gardner: woodwinds
  • Buzz Gardner: trumpet
  • Artie Tripp: drums, timpani, vibes, marimba, xylophone, and much more

The Case

Frank Zappa’s 1967-1969 catalogue of instrumental compositions, arrangements, and performances slots in admirably alongside Miles Davis and The Grateful Dead of the same, fusion-y moment. 

Indeed, Zappa’s serious instrumental efforts through 1974 form a large body of great and influential work. Unfortunately, Zappa is better known for just about everything except this stuff. Also, unfortunately, the original Mothers of Invention are not well known as one of the most adept and glorious, precision + improvisation bands of the era.

Little Feat: Surprise! (1969-1975)

Here’s an imaginary, early-1970s, soul-jazz-funk studio album by Little Feat. It does not include anything from the seven Lowell George-era studio albums. 

This mix is a customized shoe for some fascinating extra Feat toes. It shuffles together selections from the band’s recordings with jazz drummer Chico Hamilton (1973), with Lowell George sound-alike singer Robert Palmer (1975), and from officially-released studio outtakes compilations (1972-1975, with two 1969 outliers). 

Nearly all the material is contemporary with the band’s third and fourth albums, “Dixie Chicken” and “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now,” the first to feature the band’s classic second lineup: Lowell George, Bill Payne, Richie Hayward, Paul Barrere, Kenny Gradney, and Sam Clayton. The famous bootleg Ultrasonic Studios session is from this same period (September 1974).

While every player isn’t on every song (see notes below the track list), this mix documents that group during its flood years, when riffs and grooves seemed to spill out of them, and they were a very sensible studio band choice. 

By giving the Hamilton and Palmer tracks a better setting – by culling and combining them with each other and with a handful of kindred outtakes – this mix tries to supply a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, and a coherent album that isn’t much like any of the band’s official ones. 

One-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Spanish Moon (1973 single version)
  • I Can Hear the Grass Grow (1973 w/Chico Hamilton)
  • Here with You Tonight (1975 w/Robert Palmer)
  • Conquistadores (1973 w/Chico Hamilton)
  • All That You Dream (1974 outtake)
  • Gengis (1973 w/Chico Hamilton)
  • Work to Make It Work (1975 w/Robert Palmer)
  • Eldorado Slim (1972 outtake)
  • Stu (1973 w/Chico Hamilton)
  • Juliet (1969 outtake)
  • Fine Time (1975 w/Robert Palmer)
  • High Roller (1975 outtake)
  • Stacy (1973 w/Chico Hamilton)
  • Jazz Thing in 10 (1969 outtake)
  • River Boat (1975 w/Robert Palmer)
  • Trouble (1975 w/Robert Palmer)

Chico Hamilton’s “The Master” (1973) features all the second formation members of Little Feat except Richie Hayward (who is replaced by Hamilton on drums), with additional organ by Jerry Aiello and Stu Gardner, and more congas by Simon Nava. The limitation of the album is that it’s mostly just riffs and small jams, and almost sounds like “sessions for,” rather than a true album, clocking in at a meagre 35 minutes. I’ve included all but three tracks, which happen to be the album’s first three tracks!? More information here.

Robert Palmer’s “Pressure Drop” (1975) features all the second formation members of Little Feat, but also includes enough additional musicians to make it unclear exactly who is playing on each track. Those that overlap Feat instruments include James Jamerson on bass, Ed Greene on drums/percussion, and Jean Roussel and Gordon DeWitty on clavinet, organ, and/or other keyboards. I have included five of eleven tracks; the others are hopelessly cheesy and un-Feat-like. More information here.

Little Feat have done a great job of releasing non-album material from the George years, on “Hoy Hoy,” and “Hot Cakes and Outtakes,” plus two double-disc live archive albums, “Hot” and “Ripe Tomatos” [sic]. Nonetheless, there’s no way to stack all or most of the studio outtakes into anything that feels like more than a warehouse of outtakes, demos, early versions, etc. Pulling some of them out and threading them into the Hamilton and Palmer material seemed to bring them into focus as meaningful Feat moments. 

The Grateful Dead: September ’94 (5-disc set)

Here’s another slab of delightful 1994 Grateful Dead highlights, covering the first two weeks of the band’s final Fall Tour, 25 years ago (September 16-29). 

I’ve now posted mixes covering the whole year, with the exception of December. I think they establish that when The Grateful Dead were on point in 1994, they were an excellent band, whose best recordings are worth keeping handy. 

More notes, and links to the other 1994 mixes, below the track list…

6h15m mp3 mix zipped up here (dates included in tags)

Disc 1:

  • Let the Good Times Roll
  • Cumberland Blues
  • Jack Straw
  • West LA Fadeaway
  • They Love Each Other (final performance)
  • China Cat Sunflower (instr. edit) > I Know You Rider
  • When I Paint My Masterpiece
  • Brown Eyed Women
  • Tennessee Jed
  • The Same Thing
  • Black Peter

Disc 2:

  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • Touch of Grey
  • Greatest Story Ever Told
  • Jack-a-Roe
  • The Music Never Stopped
  • Little Red Rooster
  • Wang Dang Doodle
  • Ramble on Rose
  • Queen Jane Approximately
  • Standing on the Moon

Disc 3:

  • Playin’ in the Band >
  • Uncle John’s Band
  • Terrapin Jam
  • Playin’ Jam >
  • Eyes of the World
  • Jam (after Samba)
  • He’s Gone
  • Stella Blue >
  • One More Saturday Night

Disc 4: 

  • Victim or the Crime
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Estimated Prophet >
  • Eyes of the World
  • The Wheel >
  • Good Lovin’
  • Iko Iko
  • Throwing Stones >
  • Not Fade Away
  • Don’t Ease Me In

Disc 5:

  • Saint of Circumstance
  • Jam
  • Spanish Jam >
  • The Other One >
  • Wharf Rat >
  • Sugar Magnolia
  • Cassidy > (acoustic, no drummers)
  • Bird Song (acoustic, no drummers)

In the month of September 1994, The Grateful Dead played three shows at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA and three at Boston Garden. In between was the first Phil Lesh and Friends show, which featured an acoustic set featuring everyone but the drummers. All these performances, except the first set of the first Shoreline show, circulate as soundboards, and this mix is drawn from them. 

I’ve previously presented highlight mixes from the year’s Spring Tour and the Summer Tour, as well as posting two Fall Tour mixes from October, including one titled “October ‘94.” (Note that the Fall Tour link will take you to a page that starts with this September post - scroll down for the previous two.)

Brown Eyed Women – May ’77 Extended Edit

This 12-minute edit combines the solo sections of nine May 1977 performances of “Brown Eyed Women.”  

It was suggested by @samvega_pasada, who also chose 5/28 as the version to lead off, with the first vocal section and solo. The closing vocal section comes from 5/8. 

In addition to the 12-minute edit, the download also includes a division of the edit into its 11 constituent, dated tracks, in case you’re curious or want to access the solos individually. They flow the same way as the completed edit.

I previously did this to a bunch of 1990s Grateful Dead performances of "Tomorrow Never Knows." 

Zipped up mp3 file here

Rolling Stones: Sympathy for the Disco (outtakes '75-'79)

Someone posted an enthusiastic comment about one of my Rolling Stones studio outtakes mixes, which reminded me that I never posted this one. It's definitely more marginal than the others, but it's a pretty serviceable super-extended 12-inch remix of an aspect of the band that was never allowed to dominate any official album.

This is a very selective sampling of Ron Wood era outtakes, focusing on the band’s half-formed funk/disco/jam band persona. Many of the tracks are the long, unedited basic takes of songs that were finished and released between ’75 and ’81. It was typical for the band to record instrumentals, which Jagger either picked up for songwriting or didn’t. Jagger’s ongoing engagement with contemporary pop, funk, reggae, disco, etc. seems to have equipped him well in this period to turn the sketch of an idea into a persuasive, half-rapped vocal. He sings, he declaims, he chants, he talks conversationally about Puerto Rican girls. In this long “Miss You” (which was perhaps released on a 12”) you hear him figuring out where his lyrical hooks are, which stories to tell, and which to cut.

Yes, there are three takes of “Dance” on the bootlegs, but don't get too excited. They don’t have any connection to the “part 1” and “part 2” designations of the songs on Emotional Rescue and Sucking in the Seventies. Instead, they are three very similar performances of the song’s basic moves, with Jagger sketching in some vocal angles, totaling 21 minutes. 

100-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Come on Sugar (1981 1975)
  • Slave (raw take 1975)
  • Hey Negrita (raw take 1975)
  • Everything is Turning to Gold (raw take 1977)
  • Miss You (alternate 1977)
  • I Love Ladies (1975)
  • Worried About You (original 1975)
  • Heaven (original 1979)
  • Jah is Not Dead (1979)
  • Disco Muzik (1978)
  • Dance 1, 2, 3 (1979)

Artwork: I have deleted the cover art I originally used, which turns out to be the logo of very cool DJs and remixers that you can check out here