tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Save Your Face 2021-01-13T23:22:19Z John Hilgart @4CPcomics tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1639855 2021-01-13T23:12:44Z 2021-01-13T23:22:19Z Grateful Dead: In the Twilight Zone (1985)

It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition. This is the dimension we call the Grateful Dead.

Imagine if you will, 30 minutes of 1985 Grateful Dead music related to “The Twilight Zone” theme and mood.

With the help of middle-man Merl Saunders, the Dead were hired to create theme and incidental music for the 1985 reboot of “The Twilight Zone.” A soundtrack album was released containing a combination of ominous Dead “space” and cheesier, ‘80s pop moves.

This mp3 mix includes all the “space” passages, plus an edit of studio outtakes, plus three live passages. No cheesy stuff.

“Merl says that the night he sat in during the ‘space’ jam at one of the recent Berkeley shows, ‘we did a bit of the Zone without the theme. It was kind of loose. We’d been in the studio working things about a week, and then all of a sudden I was just up there onstage!’” (Golden Road #6)

According to Garcia, the band recorded enough bits to construct a much larger Twilight Zone space.

“… but what we got [to do] was a collection of little musical inserts called stings and bumpers – you know, little hunks of non-specific music of various lengths that have different moods. One might be a mood like, ‘Don’t open the door,’ or ‘Don’t go up into the attic.’ Or, ‘I’m going to work work, honey. Are you sure you’ll be OK home alone?’ They go all the way from a sort of noncommittal [he makes light, almost playful guitar sounds] to a real ominous ‘Braaaaaagh!” They gave us a huge menu of those – 40 that are like 5 seconds, 20 that are 6.5 seconds, a bunch that they can fade in and out. Then it’s the music editor who actually fits them into the show.” (Golden Road #6)

My assumption is that the 17 minutes from the official soundtrack included on this mix are made up of a slew of these tiny pieces of mood music, edited together. 

31-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Twilight Zone (live 6/21/85)
  • Twilight Zone (live 9/15/85)
  • Twilight Zone (studio outtake edit)
  • Space (live 3/9/85 w/Merl Saunders)
  • TZ Soundtrack: Main Title Theme
  • TZ Soundtrack: Kentucky Rye Pt. 3
  • TZ Soundtrack: Shadowman (edit)
  • TZ Soundtrack: Nightcrawlers
  • TZ Soundtrack: Eye of Newton (edit)
  • TZ Soundtrack: End Credits

The session/demo edit comes from this set of fragments. I found that several of them contain the exact same, main passage (w/some different treatments), so my edit comprises the non-repeating passages. 

If you enjoy the Dead making soundtrack music, you might like:

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1637821 2021-01-09T15:39:04Z 2021-01-12T17:58:56Z Grateful Dead: Pouring Light Into Jazzes (1973-1974)

This two-hour mix features a particular zone of 1973-1974 jazz Dead. It’s comprised of some of the most diffuse and drifty “Dark Star” passages of the period, plus adjacent jams that took the same mood into additional territory. 

Common denominators are complex, gentle beauty and Bill Kreutzmann’s amazing drumming.

Soaring-melodic-rock “Dark Star” moments occur very rarely. The first verse of “Dark Star” appears periodically to present the straight melody that solves the Rubic’s Cube happening everywhere else. 

Each track is a continuous, as-played, Dead passage (with one exception that I forget). I’ve chosen start and end points based on the coherent zone I was seeking. I’ve created segues where opportunities presented themselves and faded elsewhere. 

I figured two hours of this trip was enough. It’s the same length as this compendium of Europe ’72 “Dark Star” passages and adjacent jams. The two mixes offer an easy and interesting way to compare and enjoy the two extremes of the mature one-drummer period. 

2-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Dark Star > (12/6/73)
  • Jam After Dark Star (12/6/73)
  • Dark Star (11/30/73)
  • Dark Star (2/24/74)
  • Dark Star (6/23/74)
  • Dark Star (11/11/73)
  • Jam After Dark Star (11/11/73)
  • Dark Star > (10/18/74)
  • Jam After Dark Star (10/18/73)

Errata: The two 12/6/73 tracks are mislabeled as 12/5/73 in the mp3 files.

Cover art: Detail manipulation of Leo Morey, 1934. Used as the cover of the August 1934 issue of the pulp magazine “Amazing Stories.” High resolution image of the original painting courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1635491 2021-01-04T04:01:44Z 2021-01-08T19:23:16Z Grateful Dead Shortlist: Ann Arbor ’89 (April 5, 6)

These were the only shows I ever walked to from my own apartment, and my group had mail-order, 10th-13th row, center floor tickets both nights. I’d seen my first four, lackluster shows in 1988, and I was still a fairly new 1970s-centric tape-head, who considered contemporary live shows to be more good fun than musically impressive.

And then, all of a sudden, I was bar-band distance from two nights of tight, powerful, adventurous, boisterous 1989-1990 era Dead. I couldn’t believe how good they were. I hardly knew how to process the fact that present-tense Dead were great, except that seeing more shows became incredibly important. (The head-scratching gorilla, looking at a Stealie skull, sitting on top of a pile of books, is exactly the right image for me at this moment.)

The only current official release from Spring ’89 is “Download Series Vol. 9” (2006), which features highlights from the two Pittsburgh shows that immediately preceded these Ann Arbor shows.

I’ve been listening to tapes of these shows since the week after seeing them, but a recent “ultramatrix” upgrade to the circulating tapes finally makes the recorded experience punch harder and feel more like the live event I remember. 

Almost 3-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

Disc One (54 minutes):

  • Feel Like a Stranger >
  • Franklin’s Tower
  • Dupree’s Diamond Blues
  • Mama Tried
  • Touch of Grey
  • When I Paint My Masterpiece
  • Bird Song >
  • Promised Land

Disc Two (58 minutes):

  • Let It Grow >
  • U.S. Blues
  • Scarlet Begonias >
  • Fire on the Mountain
  • Samson and Delilah >
  • Cumberland Blues >
  • Man Smart, Woman Smarter

Disc Three (57 minutes):

  • Playin’ in the Band >
  • Built to Last >
  • Playin’ Jam
  • China Doll (>)
  • The Other One (>)
  • Around and Around >
  • Playin’ Reprise
  • The Mighty Quinn
  • Not Fade Away

Editing notes:

  • Where you see “>”, that means the band/tape plays straight through – no edits, no tuning break.
  • Where you see “(>)”, that means I cross-faded an artificial segue to keep the flow going.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1633671 2020-12-30T13:08:00Z 2020-12-31T20:17:18Z Grateful Dead: The China > Rider Jam (mostly 1974)

This mix presents thirteen 1972-1974 performances of the transition jam between “China Cat Sunflower” and “I Know You Rider.” 

Most selections are from 1974, the bounciest, grooviest year of the band’s history, and consequently the peak year for this jam. As one would expect of 1974, the passage got longer and more hair-raising. 

All the performances followed the same pattern:

  • Transition-introduction (25 seconds)
  • Weir solo (1.5 to 2 minutes)
  • Garcia solo > Feelin’ Groovy jam (variable, the length of the whole jam minus ~2.5 minutes)
  • Approach to I Know You Rider's first verse (10-30 seconds)

The Feelin’ Groovy theme was added to the China > Rider jam in March 1973.

Within the standard frame, variations abound in the individual playing and the collective mesh. Drop the needle into the same sections of many versions in a row, and you’ll be surprised. 

Pried loose from the two songs, the China > Rider jam stands up on its own as part of the bubbling “thematic jam” arc that runs through Alligator, Dark Star, Good Lovin’, Tighten Up, and “stuff that happened after Truckin’ in 1974.” (You'll find more mixes focused on such themes here.)

Different sound board mixes also contribute to the experience of variety. This variable is especially cool for the Weir solo section, where his guitar part syncopates more strongly with with different musicians on different recordings.

I was stuck between two options for this mix: Choose five or six versions, or include too many for any sane person to listen to at one time. I went with too many.

For review purposes, I isolated 28 of the period’s jams (mostly 1973-1974), and then I winnowed them down to 13 for this compilation. 

There was no rhyme or reason to the 28 I started with, except that I tried not to miss long versions. Of course, my picks are entirely unrelated to how well or badly the band played and sang the two songs on either side of the jam. 

Some versions got cut for bad sound or out of tune instruments. Some performances were simply okay. Others were really good, but lacked any great distinction when compared to many other versions. In this last respect, 1973 got trampled by 1974; I started with a dozen versions from each year. 

Anyhow, here are 13 really fine China > Rider jams. 

82-minute mp3 compilation here

  • 72/10/08 (4:44)
  • 73/07/28 (5:27)
  • 73/09/11 (5:56)
  • 74/02/22 (5:34)
  • 74/02/24 (7:00)
  • 74/03/23 (5:24)
  • 74/05/19 (5:23)
  • 74/06/08 (5:17)
  • 74/06/16 (7:36)
  • 74/06/30 (7:54)
  • 74/07/31 (6:26)
  • 74/08/05 (8:18)
  • 74/09/10 (6:46)

Cover art by Mary Poliquin. You can purchase a print here.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1630829 2020-12-22T23:02:34Z 2021-01-13T18:07:19Z Grateful Dead: Skullf*ckery (December 1970)

Here’s a big, happy, fake show curated from the December 1970 tapes – a very brief, interesting, unreleased musical moment.

The “American Beauty” songs are limbered up (LP released the previous month), the band is tilting toward the cowboy/“Other One” statement of their 1971 live album, and there are still two drummers in the band. Hart would leave prior to the March-April, 1971 recording of “Skullf*ck.”

What else is new and interesting about December 1970? 

  • “The Other One” had just started breaking out into true jams in November. It's flourishing in December.
  • “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Around and Around” debuted in November. This "Around" is smoking!
  • “Good Lovin’” was becoming a bigger deal, with extended jamming and episodes of great, free-form Pigpen storytelling. This mix presents the best of all of that.
  • Unique events in the December shows include the only electric “Monkey and the Engineer,” a very rare electric “Deep Elem Blues” (last ’til ’80), the last-ever performance of “Til the Morning Comes,” and the final performance of “Attics of My Life” until 1972. 

Jesse Jarnow pointed me at this month, and I had a fantastic time listening and re-listening to it. I was also primed for it by a 1970 mix from Mr. Completely. 

For this mixtape, I’ve arranged the stuff I really liked into four “sets,” so that it has manageable and coherent listening episodes that scratch particular itches.

While the month’s set lists don’t imply lots of jamming, it’s there, and it’s great. I edited together pieces of multiple versions of “The Other One” and “Good Lovin’” to create giant versions of the month’s big jam songs, without vocal repetition. The “NFA>GDTR” jam almost dissolves. The "Hard to Handle" is involved. There’s even a minute-long “Mountain Jam" that slides into a "St. Stephen" jam. My 45-minute “Good Lovin’” edit is mostly jamming, with just a few stretches of exceptional Pigpen rapping, plus both ends of the song itself. 

4-hour mp3 mix zipped up here (performance dates included in song tags)

Set One (66 minutes)

  • Truckin’
  • Sugar Magnolia
  • Cumberland Blues
  • Dire Wolf
  • Black Peter
  • Friend of the Devil
  • Attics of My Life
  • Easy Wind
  • Til the Morning Comes
  • Casey Jones
  • Brokedown Palace

Set Two (60 minutes)

  • Deep Elem Blues
  • Beat It On Down the Line
  • Me and Bobby McGee
  • It Hurts Me Too
  • Me and My Uncle
  • Hard to Handle
  • Mama Tried
  • Big Railroad Blues
  • Smokestack Lightning
  • Around and Around
  • The Monkey and the Engineer
  • The Frozen Logger

Set Three (66 minutes)

  • The Other One (3-version edit) (23 minutes - one track)
  • Good Lovin’ (5-version edit) (44 minutes - six tracks)

Set Four (48 minutes)

  • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
  • St. Stephen >
  • Not Fade Away > Goin’ Down the Road
  • Darkness Jam > St. Stephen Jam
  • Morning Dew

I’ve also included a considerable amount of stage banter, longer bits as separate tracks, which I haven’t bothered to list above - but it adds a lot of personality to the performances!

The shows are:

  • 12/12 Santa Rosa, CA
  • 12/23 Winterland, SF, CA
  • 12/26-27-28 Legions Stadium, El Monte, CA
  • 12/31 Winterland, SF, CA
John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1626530 2020-12-10T18:52:53Z 2021-01-13T17:06:18Z Grateful Dorks: Jamming at the Matrix (12/15/70)

This mix simulates a 28-minute live, instrumental jam session by David Crosby, Garcia, Lesh, and probably Kreutzmann - otherwise known as David & The Dorks or Jerry & The Jerks.

This improvisational quartet had its own identity, often quite different in mood and pulse from the Grateful Dead. All the players sound delighted, responding to each other with big ears.

There’s only one live tape, and it’s very much worth your time. (See source note, below.) The point of my edit/mix is to create an extended jam by this band.  I am very grateful to Jesse Jarnow for pointing me at the tape and inquiring if this kind of edit could work.

My edits remove the vocal sections from six songs, while retaining nearly every other second of the music (of those songs). Some excellent non-verbal Crosby vocalizing remains, as well as the final chorus of “Motherless Children.” 

The Dorks played live only four times, all in December 1970: Three official shows at the Matrix (12/15-17) and one unannounced set in San Rafael a few days later. The only known live recording is this one from the 15th.

The Dorks are so nearly an apocryphal band that there is no photograph of the whole quartet on stage together. I made a live band image for the cover art by compositing elements of three photos. The Crosby/Lesh locked-in implications of the fake photo are fully acquitted by the music.

Convention makes Mickey Hart the drummer on this 12/15/70 recording. A photograph makes Bill Kreutzmann the drummer at a subsequent show. Jarnow has scholarly reasons for suspecting that Kreutzmann was the band’s only drummer; my ears agree. (Apologies to Mickey, if I’m wrong!)

Put this in your playlist alongside Mickey & The Hartbeats ’68 and Grateful Airplane ’70, as well as some of this late-summer ’69 bonus-player, curve-ball fun

Dorks 28-minute instrumental/jam edit, mp3 mix, zipped up here

  • Wall Song (3:39)
  • Laughing (7:09)
  • Triad (5:23)
  • Deep Elem Blues (3:13)
  • Motherless Children (4.44)
  • Cowboy Movie (3:57)

Source note:

For this edit, I’ve mostly used the file available for download here, which also includes a rehearsal session tape. (I did not include anything from the rehearsal tape, which is altogether less committed than the live event.) There are variations of the live tape on archive.org. I had one of those, which I used in a couple of places.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1623843 2020-12-03T03:44:48Z 2020-12-03T13:08:07Z Charlie Christian: Extended Solo Edits (1940-1941)

This mix creates long electric guitar solo edits from multiple takes of Charlie Christian’s performances in the Benny Goodman Sextet. Twenty-five solos are combined within six songs, lasting half an hour.

Charlie Christian, “the genius of electric guitar,” died at age 25 in 1942. He arrived and left just in time to be an extraordinary pioneer in the early 1940s small group scene, which replaced big band jazz with nimbler units, who discovered the way forward.

Christian was spotted by the golden-eared John Hammond in Oklahoma City in 1939, who recommended him to Benny Goodman. Though limited mostly to 15-to-45-second solos in his recordings with the Goodman Sextet, Christian played in all kinds of directions – toward bop, west coast jazz, and Chuck Berry’s blartney-blartney. He’s credited as one of the originators of modern guitar solos.

The document of record is the four-disc, “Charlie Christian: The Genius of Electric Guitar.” It’s great both for Christian and for the Goodman Sextet. The Goodman and Artie Shaw small groups were the  disruptive, post-punk, insect-rock of the early 1940s. Also pop superstars who got their clothes torn off by screaming fans. Elvis and The Beatles didn’t invent that stuff.

My selections for edits are based entirely on there being sufficient takes, and sufficient Christian soloing, to make an edit a worthwhile value-add. Jerry Garcia and Steely Dan listened to Charlie Christian. The history of jazz since 1940 listened to Charlie Christian. You should, too. I’ve made it easy with edits that present him as the featured rock star of the album.

28-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Wholly Cats (6 solos)
  • Breakfast Feud (9 solos)
  • I Surrender Dear (2 solos)
  • Good Enough to Keep (3 solos)
  • Solo Flight (2 solos - the whole song)
  • I Can’t Give You Anything But Love (3 solos)

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1623169 2020-12-01T00:04:58Z 2020-12-11T01:54:56Z Grateful Dead: The 2020 Save Your Face Mixes

Save Your Face offered up 30, wide-ranging Grateful Dead mixes for your consideration this year. 

As usual, nearly everything included was unreleased. We touched down in a lot of eras, continued to look for great corners of music you might otherwise miss, and found more ways to create unorthodox Dead listening experiences. 

Click the linked titles, below, to read more about each mix and download it as mp3s if it looks good to you.

Comprehensive Theme-Jam Anthologies

The Mind Left Body Jam (1972-1993)

The Spanish Jam (1968-1995)

The Tighten Up Jam (1969-1971)

Firelike Jams (1968-1979)

The first three of these mixes compile (nearly) every performance of these themes. “Mind Left Body” and “Spanish Jam” are organized into era-specific discs. The "Firelike" mix compiles the pre-1977 history (and one 1979 anomaly) of performances that are obviously, or could be construed as, related to “Fire on the Mountain.”

Composition-Based Albums

The Dead Play Dylan ’94

The Dead Play The Beatles (1983-1985)

Ready for More? (Final Songs - 1993-1995)

Brent Mydland Featuring the Grateful Dead

I assert that there is no better way to listen to the Dead playing Dylan than this 1994 mix. The Beatles covers anthology provides the best case scenario, and it’s a lot more fun that you might expect. The Brent Mydland compilation includes a version of each of his original songs – so you can pretend it’s a Brent album, backed by the Dead. “Ready for More” is a companion to Dave Lemieux’s “Ready of Not” selections, which includes versions that contrast with his picks, because the band’s approach varied over time. 

1968-1970 Highlight Mixes

With a focus on the early improvisational story, SYF carved out a series of unorthodox experiences from the early years, a period we’ll probably settle into in early 2021.

Probably June ’68

Late ’68 Fantasy Set (August to December)

Do Not Step on Alligator (Feb. ’69 jams)

Shortlist: 11/6/70 Port Chester (instrumental edit)

Grateful Airplane (11/20/70)

Fall 1972 Improvisation Mixes

October ’72 Jams (St. Louis)

November ’72 Jams (Texas)

December ’72 Jams (mid-month)

Solo, Duo, and Trio (11/12/72)

These mixes collect fantastic improvisational material from a period when the soundboard mixes were generally terrible. The last mix, above, mines fascinating stuff from a soundboard mix that often isolated Garcia’s guitar, or Garcia and Weir’s guitars on one channel.

May 1976 Rehearsal

On Returning (May ’76 rehearsal)

An edited curation of a bunch of carefully-played, well-recorded songs, plus jamming. Slot it into your library just before the June 1976 live shows.

May 1977 Extended Jams

May 1977 Fire jams

May 1977 Dancin’ jams

Additional May 1977 Edits

The “Fire” and “Dancin’” edits provide continuous instrumental edits of (nearly) every performance of the song from May 1977. Though flowing together, each jam is a separate track, so you can compare and contrast. If you don’t care for the Dead’s arrangement of the song-part of “Dancin’” in this period, you will be grateful for this endless jam-part. The “Additional” mix provides extended or instrumental edits of May 1977 performances of “Brown Eyed Women,” “Sugaree,” and “Peggy-O.” 

Scarlet > Fire ’81

Scarlet>Fire ’81

I asked twitter for year-by-year top “Scarlet > Fires,” and feedback led me to a year I don’t know very well. The resulting mix combines three 1981 versions, one with vocals and the other two as instrumental edits – so the jam swings back and forth for a really long time. 

1987 Mixes

Garcia Sings Hunter/Garcia (September 1987)

Shoreline (October 1987)

I had no idea how fantastically Garcia was singing in 1987. The September “Garcia Sings” mix is all about that. The October Shoreline mix contains more great singing, but is also a broader “road trips” anthology. These mixes go great with this year’s 1987 Dave’s Picks.

1993 Mixes

Shortlist: March 17, 1993 Landover, MD

Shortlist: June 21-23, 1993 Deer Creek ’93

Shortlist: June 11, 1993 Hebron, OH (instrumental edit)

Save Your Face is a super-fan of the best live Dead from 1994. We haven’t found 1993 to have as high a hit rate, song by song, or soundboard mix by soundboard mix, but when it was great, it was great. These three mixes accidentally sit together very well. Two “Dark Stars” and a lot of nice Garcia vocals and instrumental sweetness are included.

1994 MIDI Adventures (cont.)

Refugees from Spaceports

More far out passages from Drums>Space to complement earlier SYF mixes of such stuff.

1993-1994: Terraplayin’ Jams


This mix provides two hours of 1993-1994 “Playin’” and “Terrapin” jams, most of them segued. These two jams were very closely related at the time. The mix includes the only totally successful, full-length-instrumental edit I’ve made of “Terrapin Station.” A big, shiny, modulating groove of late Dead. 

Seattle May ’95

The Last Great Show?

SYF has presented mixtapes of several 1995 shows or runs that demonstrate that there was no steady, show-by-show collapse. Our May 1995 Seattle mix demonstrates that there was a killer night just 20 shows before the end - a truly excellent performance. Was it the last great show? 

Recombinant SYF Mixes

In 2020, we also bundled a couple of earlier SYF mixtape series into the boxed sets they should have been.

February 1973 Improvisational Highlights

These mixes provide a short-cut past an important month’s mediocre song-playing, so you can easily follow the plot of the wonderful improvisational Dead.

March 16-21, 1994 (Richfield and Chicago)

SYF curated these shows in three different pieces at different times. This version bundles them all into the boxed set we were thinking of. 

What Did SYF Post in 2019?

Find out here, in last year's mixtape roundup.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1622130 2020-11-28T03:58:34Z 2020-12-01T01:03:42Z Grateful Dead: Late 1968 Set (August-December mixtape)

This mix combines some of my personal favorites from the sporadic, unreleased late-1968 tapes into a single, two-hour set. If you don't spend much time with 1968, other than the official releases, this is your short-cut expansion pack. 

Every song documented on the tapes is represented, except for “Lovelight” (ubiquitous, boring) “Midnight Hour” (once, messy) - and "Caution" - which got squeezed out based on my picks for similar/adjacent jam zones. 

I have plucked several exemplary passages of the openest jamming the band was doing at the time, so you can spend more time in the zones that gave birth to the "thematic jams" of the future, which would feature such favorite non-songs as "Tighten Up," "Feelin' Groovy," "Mind Left Body," "Phil Jazz Jam," and new locations for "Spanish Jam."

In 1968, that part of the show happened around combinations of jam-after-"Alligator," into/around/might-turn-into "Caution," and "Feedback." "And We Bid You Goodnight" was a common theme at the time. I am still confused about "Mountain Jam" and "Darkness Jam." Are those inside these 1968 jams somewhere? Maybe?

8/21/68 at the Fillmore West has (arguably) the most amazing, continuous open playing of the year – an incredibly fluid 14 minutes that sounds more advanced and effortless than any other, analogous passage. I listened to all of 1968's such passages in a row, repeatedly, with the intention of making a mega-mix out of them. In the end, it was obvious that I should just pick this one and build a fun, imaginary set around it. (@MrCompletely got here way before me. Thank you for the insight.)

The whole 8/21 tape is a great listen for playing, mix/source quality, and consistency. Release-worthy. My only issue with it is that its mix is so perfectly the late-1960s sound and patient-pacing we're already used to (via official releases), that it doesn't shake up your expectations in a visceral way.

The other great, unreleased show/circulating tape of the year packs that visceral punch – 10/12/68 at the Avalon Ballroom. Fast, fierce, and wiry. For this mixtape, I used 10/12 as the foundation, and built around it to simulate a 1968 experience that I think contrasts with the great (though few) official 1968 releases. 

2-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

Disc One (56 minutes):

  • Dark Star (9/2/68 Sultan, WA)
  • St. Stephen > (10/12/68 Avalon Ballroom)
  • The Eleven > (10/12/68 Avalon Ballroom)
  • Death Don’t Have No Mercy (10/12/68 Avalon Ballroom)
  • It Hurts Me Too (12/21/68 Shrine Auditorium)
  • Alligator Reprise > Garcia & Drummers > Jam > AWBYG Jam > Feedback (8/21/68 Fillmore West)

Disc Two (59 minutes):

  • New Potato Caboose Jam (12/7/68 Louisville, KY)
  • Morning Dew (10/12/68 Avalon Ballroom)
  • Jam > (10/12/68 Avalon Ballroom)
  • Feedback (10/12/68 Avalon Ballroom)
  • The Other One > (12/29/68 Hallandale, FL)
  • Cryptical Envelopment > (12/29/68 Hallandale, FL)
  • And We Bid You Goodnight (12/29/68 Hallandale, FL)
  • Rosemary (12/7/68 Louisville, KY)
  • Clementine Edit (9/12/68 rehearsal/audition with new players)

Song-by-Song Rationale:

Dark Star: I chose the 9/2 performance at Betty Nelson’s Organic Raspberry Farm in Sultan, Oregon. I value this version in part because it buries TC’s repetitive keyboard part and elevates Weir’s guitar. That leads to a less-flattened, more springy and sculpted “Dark Star” experience than I find typical of 1968 tapes. Nearly all the 1968 "Dark Stars" are worth your time for Garcia's leadership, and this is also one of my favorites in that respect. Possibly my earliest desert island "Dark Star."

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1619826 2020-11-22T04:23:54Z 2020-12-01T21:46:59Z Grateful Dead: Do Not Step on Alligator (February 7-15, 1969)

This mix includes three unreleased versions of the sequence “Alligator Jam > Caution > Feedback” from the month between the Avalon Ballroom and Fillmore West shows that provided most of the material for “Live Dead.” Only one show from this month has been released – "Fillmore East 2/11/69."

I have removed Pigpen’s main vocal sections from “Caution,” which foregrounds the band’s dramatic musical retellings of the familiar tale and makes this a nearly-all instrumental mix.

Though recorded at this time, the album “Live Dead” didn’t include “Alligator > Caution.” This makes sense, given that a live version of the sequence was employed for side two of the earlier album, “Anthem of the Sun.” 

However, while these were old songs by February 1969, they were also zones where unpredictable things continued to happen. They are analogous to the 1970 jams that swung around such themes as “Feelin’ Groovy” and “Tighten Up.” Early 1969 “Alligator” jams played around with “China Cat,” “We Bid You Goodnight,” and “St. Stephen.” (Earlier and later versions went to additional places.)

In addition to these open-and-thematic jams, “Caution” was a very mutable, familiar, heavy jam by 1969 (think “The Other One”), and “Feedback” had hit its glorious peak by 1969 (hence its inclusion on “Live Dead”).

So, maybe we should pay as much attention to early 1969 “Jam > Caution > Feedback” as we do to “Dark Star > St. Stephen > The Eleven.” “Live Dead” captured the latter trio at its organized, elaborate, perfected peak. At the same time, “Alligator Jam > Caution > Feedback” captured the protoplasmic Dead express train barreling through a different series of stations.

70-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Jam > Caution Edit > Feedback (Pittsburgh, 2/7/69) (18:59)
  • Jam > Caution Edit > Feedback (Fillmore East, 2/12/69) (17:14)
  • Jam > Caution Edit > Feedback > AWBYGN (Philadelphia, 2/15/69) (34:13)

Cover art: Saul Steinberg, 1968

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1619602 2020-11-21T03:14:06Z 2020-11-22T04:29:17Z Grateful Airplane: November 20, 1970 (Rochester, NY)

This mix isolates astounding material from a jam session featuring Garcia, Weir, Kaukonen, Casady, Kreutzman, and Hart. The music circulates as an audience recording along with the rest of the Dead’s show that night.

(Late-breaking scholarly adjustment! Casady is not present. All bass is Phill Lesh.)

Thanks to Jesse Jarnow for passing on his massive enthusiasm for this performance, which was unknown to me. I'm crazy about "Jam 3," which is very 1968-1969 Mothers of Invention at the start and gets very 1968-1969 Velvet Underground at later points.

33-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Cartoon Music (1:12)
  • Bluegrass Jam (1:26)
  • Jam 1 > (11:36)
  • Darling Corey > (5:04)
  • Jam 2 (2:56)
  • Jam 3 (11:08)

Editing notes:

  • I cleaned up starting and ending points where you don’t see “>.” Some tracks just cut/faded, in or out, on the source tape.
  • I combined two segments titled “Tuning” into “Cartoon Music.” The Dead spent a lot of rehearsal time in September, 1969 exploring cartoon themes and scheming to unleash them on live audiences. Save Your Face mix here. This show is the first place I’ve noticed them actually playing them on stage. Can you point me at others?

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1619184 2020-11-20T02:02:15Z 2020-11-23T00:57:17Z Shriekback: Clink Jam ’83 (Save Your Face Edit)

This post presents a continuous, 17-minute edit made up of pieces of Shriekback’s archival release, “Clink Jam” – a recently-discovered 1983 rehearsal tape. You can buy the full release on the Shriekback store.

Specifically, this edit is made up of edits of half-a-dozen “Clink Jam” tracks, which were then segued together into one track. It was an informal jam session, with slack and finding-the-next-move moments, and I just took those out, so corners get turned as frequently as your ear wants them to be turned. I am posting the edit at the request of the band.

(b-side below the page break)

Shriekback is an active band, releasing frequent new albums lately, which feature three-fourths of the original lineup heard on “Clink Jam.” I’m a big fan. In 2018, my brother and I flew from the U.S. to Amsterdam specifically to see Shriekback mount a rare, large-band live show at the Paradiso. 

So, whether you know Shriekback or have never heard of them… what is documented on the “Clink Jam” tape?

  • Dave Allen: bass (following his departure from Gang of Four)
  • Martyn Barker: drums (Dave Allen’s new Hugo Burnham, but funkier)
  • Barry Andrews: keyboards (following his time in XTC and Fripp’s League of Gentlemen)
  • Carl Marsh: guitar (following his time in the great, obscure Out on Blue Six)

Andrews and Marsh are also the band's lyricists and singers, though that’s not really a factor on the “Clink Jam” tape. I’m reasonably sure all four of them made all sorts of sounds on the studio recordings. 

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1618652 2020-11-18T18:35:33Z 2020-12-01T05:55:53Z Grateful Dead: Probably June 1968

If you scroll through Relisten for archive.org shows from May and June 1968, you’ll find very little. There’s one very nice sound board mystery tape dated May Zero, two dodgy audience tapes, and a great tape dated 6/19/68 that is actually 2/19/69.

But wait, there’s more June 1968! 

There’s a big compendium on archive.org (archived as 12/31/68) that includes three unique sound board segments of 1968 music, all of which Light Into Ashes/Dead Essays has dated as June 1968 (or possibly May), probably from the Carousel Ballroom. 

This post’s mixtape curates those three segments into a single June 1968 set. It provides a handy, robust, good-sounding mid-1968 listening experience to fit between the year’s early months and August, for which there are several good tapes, including the one used for “From the Vault 2.”

New Potato through the Caution jam is arguably the greatest mid-year, 1968 passage.

Two edits add some extra value. 

  • “St. Stephen” was brand new at this point, and I’ve extended the version I chose with the jam segments from two others, so you can really settle into the early approach. 
  • The good take of “Cryptical Envelopment” sandwiched an “Other One” on which the mix went to hell partway through – so I edited the two halves together into a seamless, stand-alone “Cryptical Envelopment.”

Great versions include "Dark Star" and "Alligator > Caution."

84-minute mp3 mixtape zipped up here

  • PA: Please Return the Scratcher
  • Dark Star >
  • St. Stephen (3 version edit) >
  • Cryptical Envelopment (parts 1 & 2 edit) >
  • New Potato Caboose >
  • Alligator >
  • Drums >
  • Alligator > Caution Jam >
  • Caution
  • The Other One
  • Lovelight
  • PA: Some Asshole with a Tape Recorder

Source notes:

This mix sources the three undated (June) shows on the compendium tape as follows:

  • Source 1: Dark Star > St. Stephen
  • Source 2: The middle of the St. Stephen edit, The Other One, and Lovelight
  • Source 3: The end of the St. Stephen edit through Caution

All the segues (“>”) in the mix/list above are actual band segues. Some volume fluctuations have been corrected and a tape gap or two healed up.

Cover art: Rick Griffin

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1617772 2020-11-16T17:13:35Z 2020-11-20T12:58:51Z Grateful Dead: On Returning (May 1976 Rehearsals)

In addition to live Dead and recorded-for-release studio Dead, there’s the third way - demos and rehearsals.

Some high points include 1970’s Angels Share (on all streaming services), the vast 1975 Blues for Allah jams, the 1979 Brent rehearsals, the 1983 Stone House sessions, and rehearsals and unfinished sessions that capture some of the band’s final songs in the early 1990s.

This post presents a studio-album like condensation of May 1976 rehearsals ahead of the band’s return to the stage in June. They’ve got two drummers now/again, Donna’s finally, fully in the picture, and they’re working on perfect, end-to-end versions of songs.

I want to say this material sounds exactly as its timestamp and setting would suggest: 1976 coming into being, but with a lighter touch than the June shows. If June 1976 has been a series of small club dates, it might have come off more like this.

Aside from choosing what to include, I made only two editorial interventions. The “Supplication” jam is doubled from two takes, and the “Eyes of the World” is comprised of three takes, with vocals edited out of one of them. 

Artwork: Rick Griffin, “Water into Wine.”

70-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Cassidy
  • Attics of My Life
  • The Wheel
  • Lazy Lightning > Supplication > Supplication (edit)
  • Groove
  • Eyes Jam > Eyes of the World > Eyes Jam (edit)
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Wharf Rat
  • Cosmic Charlie (breakdown)

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1613411 2020-11-07T04:34:00Z 2020-11-22T04:30:27Z Grateful Dead Shortlist: November 6, 1970 - Port Chester, NY (electric jams edit)

This is an instrumental edit of most of the big electric jam sequence of a great show that only exists as an audience recording.

The uncut sequence is 56 minutes. This 39-minute version edits out a drum solo and all the vocals from “Good Lovin’,” “Alligator,” “Not Fade Away,” and “Caution.” The only vocals that remain are on “Goin’ Down the Road.”

All the band’s original segues between songs remain, except for a fake edit to get from the “NFA” reprise to “Caution.”

If you have enjoyed Save Your Face’s adventures into song-free improvisation from other eras, here’s a new one to try – Fall 1970 Dead out in the wide open spaces for 40 minutes straight.

And if you are put off by the audience sonics of this era, you may find that the removal of vocals makes them work better.

39-minute mp3 file zipped up here. Instrumental unless otherwise noted.

  • The Main Ten >
  • Good Lovin’
  • Alligator Jam >
  • Not Fade Away >
  • Goin’ Down the Road (w/vocals) >
  • Mountain Jam > Not Fade Away (>)
  • Caution

Cover photo: Joe Sia

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1611817 2020-11-03T14:46:54Z 2020-11-03T21:58:51Z Grateful Dead Shortlist: June 11, 1993 (Hebron, OH - Instrumental Edit)

The band just wanted to jam and jam at Buckeye Lake in 1993, and this mix offers an entirely instrumental edit of a large portion of the show, including a mighty, seven minute “Foolish Heart.”

The show's mix was terrible for vocals but big and shiny in all other respects, with prominent, wiry, funky Phil throughout.

One-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Eyes of the World (instr. edit)
  • Playin’ Jam >
  • Uncle John’s Band > (instr. edit)
  • Corrina (inst. edit)
  • Improv: Drums 1 >
  • Improv: Drums 2
  • Improv: Space >
  • The Wheel (instr. edit)
  • Foolish Heart (instr. edit)
John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1608003 2020-10-24T16:48:18Z 2020-11-13T23:22:01Z Grateful Dead: Solo, Duo, and Trio (11/12/72 - Kansas City)

This is a much-expanded revision of highlights from this show.

The bizarre soundboard mix of this late ’72 Dead tape reduces the band to a trio of Garcia, Weir, and Lesh. Drums and keyboards are almost totally absent. Vocals are very faint, nearly silent in one channel. 

The channel mix changes over the course of the show. At some times, all that’s in one channel is Garcia’s guitar. At others, it’s Garcia and Weir’s guitars, alone together. Crazy, frustrating, sound board mixes abound in late ’72 – which is tragic – but this 11/12/72 Kansas tape is a beautiful gift.

Garcia can create an entire, mesmerizing musical narrative all by himself. You know that the rest of the band is laying down the landscape for his story, but he nonetheless seems so calm and delicate, like he already knows where things are headed. Notes and runs that are incendiary in the context of the whole band's performance aren't played bombastically.

"It was around 1972 or '73 when I finally unlearned all the things that had hung me up to that point.”  (Garcia, 1978, Guitar Player Now, source @jerrygarcia)

Meanwhile, the intricate, twining Garcia/Weir duos are a spectacular window into their guitarist mind-meld. I find the “NFA > GDTRFB > NFA” to be particularly wonderful.

This expanded mix pulls everything from the show’s “isolation channel” that I found really compelling, resulting in mono mix downs. 

I have also included the stereo trio edits of the “Bird Song” and “Playin’” jams. It is quite astonishing to play either song as a Garcia guitar solo, followed immediately by the Garcia/Weir/Lesh mix – which seems whole and giant – and then to realize you’re still missing the keyboards and drums. 

I have shortened many of the tracks to edit out stretches where nothing interesting is happening, which is typically where you become very aware that you are listening to an incomplete mix. Often this meant cutting out all the places where vocals should be (and faintly are), but I let the guitars lead my edit choices, so phantom vocals appear here and there.

Several isolation tracks (one channel, full song) made it through unedited, even though you’ll supply the rest of the song in your head: solo Garcia-only “Box of Rain” and “Playin’,” and Garcia/Weir “Friend of the Devil.”

100-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

Disc One: Solo and Duo (71 minutes)

  • Bird Song Edit (Garcia)
  • Stella Blue Solo (Garcia)
  • Box of Rain (Garcia)
  • Friend of the Devil (Garcia, Weir)
  • He’s Gone Edit (Garcia, Weir)
  • Not Fade Away > Goin’ Down the Road > Not Fade Away Edit (Garcia, Weir)
  • Big River Edit (Garcia, Weir)
  • Truckin’ Edit (Garcia)
  • Playin’ in the Band (Garcia)

Disc Two: Trio (30 minutes)

  • Playin’ Jam Edit (Garcia, Weir, Lesh)
  • Bird Song Edit (Garcia, Weir, Lesh)
  • Train on Cocaine (Garcia)
John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1604855 2020-10-15T22:42:24Z 2020-11-13T22:58:38Z Grateful Dead: December ’72 Improvisation (Dec. 10, 11, 15)

This mix pulls together Grateful Dead improv from a little cluster of unreleased California shows that the band played in the middle of December 1972 – three at Winterland and one in Long Beach. These shows followed a two-week break, and the band’s next show would be two weeks later, on New Years Eve. (Highlights from that NYE show are here.) Following 12/31/72, they’d play a 2/9/73 CA show, then start a Midwest tour on 2/15/73. So, these performances are a bit of an island in the performance history.

I’m always reluctant to assert anything about how any Grateful Dead month might be different from the one that preceded or followed. Nonetheless… I want to say that the (probably) unrehearsed Dead of mid-December 1972 is venturing deeper into multiple-chapter open spaces than in the earlier Fall. They anticipate the great New Years Eve “Other One,” which was broken up with three jams that weren’t “The Other One.” It’s hard to say that February 1973 is lurking in December 1972. This still seems to be 1972 reaching its 1974-ish, dissolving/opening conclusion. However, on 12/12/72, Phil played his 1973 “Eyes” jam riff for perhaps the first time – a bonus track at the end of the third disc of this mix.

I’ve almost entirely omitted material from the third Winterland show (12/12), because Phil Lesh’s bass is nearly inaudible. I nonetheless recommend checking out that show's “Other One” and the material surrounding it. It’s clearly a hot performance, and the bass-free mix is thrilling in a weird way, but it’s not really a proper Grateful Dead experience. I also skipped the 12/11 "Playin'," which seemed mundane, compared to the two I included.

I preserved every long improv sequence from the three shows featured on the mix, with the exception of the 12/10 “Other One.” The source SBD tape has a brutal gap in it, possibly the length of a lazy tape flip. I decided to trim out some material after that gap, so the flow would pick up with a fresh, distinct passage.

Three-hour mp3 mixtape zipped up here

Disc One: Winterland 12/10 (59 minutes)

  • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
  • Truckin’
  • The Other One >
  • Jam/ (fade at SBD gap)
  • Jam > 
  • The Other One
  • Playin’ Jam

Disc Two: Winterland 12/11 (42 minutes)

  • Dark Star >
  • Jam >
  • Dark Star >
  • Space/Feedback >
  • Chaotic Jazz Jam >
  • Stella Blue

Disc Three: Long Beach 12/15 & bonus tracks (71 minutes)

  • Playin’ Jam
  • He’s Gone Jam
  • Jam >
  • Dark Star >
  • Keith Vs. Chaos Jam >
  • Morning Dew
  • Sing Me Back Home (12/12)
  • Bass & Drums > Eyes Jam Riff (12/12)

Cover image: Rene Magritte, "The Lost Jockey"

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1603772 2020-10-12T22:11:29Z 2020-11-01T00:22:35Z Grateful Dead: Texas ’72 Improvisation (November 22-26)

This mix compiles highlights from the three November 1972 Texas shows that followed the more familiar Hofheinz Pavilion shows in Houston, on 11/18 and 11/19.

Most of the 11/18 Houston show’s second set was released on vinyl, on Record Store Day, in 2014. The 11/19 Houston performance is a famous show and an important cassette from back in the day, though still unreleased. Save Your Face previously posted an mp3 highlights reel of that show.

The three shows sampled in this mix are Austin (11/22), Dallas (11/24), and San Antonio (11/26). The soundboards of all three shows have mix/sonics problems. However, nearly all of the big improvisational performances shine through those issues without difficulty, and this highlight reel focusses on that deep material. 

Fall 1972 was a great period for tight-but-adventurous Dead improvisation, and this mix seeks to make more material from dodgy mixes of unreleased shows thoroughly enjoyable. 

mp3 mixtape zipped up here

Disc One: Austin (73 minutes)

  • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
  • Bird Song
  • Playin’ Jam
  • He’s Gone
  • The Other One >
  • Jam >
  • The Other One
  • Stella Blue

Disc Two: Dallas & San Antonio (72 minutes)

  • Dark Star >
  • Bass Solo > Feelin’ Groovy Jam
  • Playin’ Jam
  • Truckin’
  • Not Fade Away > Goin’ Down the Road > Not Fade Away
John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1600592 2020-10-04T22:39:49Z 2020-11-01T00:26:12Z Grateful Dead: Improvising in St. Louis - October 1972

The Dead’s three-night run in St. Louis (October 17-19, 1972) was an improvisational monster, containing great versions of all the big numbers, and much more jamming beyond them, including “The Philo Stomp.”

This mix presents 90 minutes of that improvisation. The three shows’ mixes are quite different, but that difference almost vanishes without vocals. To keep the jam flowing, I’ve edited “He’s Gone,” “Morning Dew,” and the “Playin’ Reprise” into instrumentals. However, the connections (>) between all songs are as-played. 

There’s no official release from October 1972, and the St. Louis shows are the best-mixed of the Midwest tour. So here’s a double-LP for your shelf of the molten core of that moment’s Dead. Everything here is tremendous, but I'm going to call out the "Bird Song" as extra-sublime. Great Keith solo.

92-minute FLAC-derived mp3 mix here

  • Bird Song
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • The Other One >
  • Jam >
  • The Other One > He’s Gone (intro & jam) > The Other One
  • Dark Star (space removed) >
  • Jam > Space > Bass Solo > The Philo Stomp > Feelin’ Groovy Jam >
  • Morning Dew (instr. edit) > Playin’ Reprise (inst. edit)

Caution: Save Your Face previously posted a three-hour highlights reel from these shows, with 90 more minutes of great “regular” songs plucked from the screwy soundboards. Don’t download that. An improved version will go up in the next week or so. This all-jam mix isn’t meant to replace that bigger mix; I just realized how intense pure St. Louis jamming would be and wanted to have that listening option buttoned-up, too.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1600149 2020-10-03T18:23:56Z 2020-10-11T08:35:13Z Grateful Dead: Refugees from Spaceports (1994)

When I compiled several mixes of 1994 Drumspace highlights a while back, I ended up with a couple hours of isolated passages that I didn’t include. 

I’ve been playing those outtakes lately, and these nine passages turn out to be great.  

36-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Orbital Stabilization (3/27/94)
  • Core Sample (9/28/94)
  • Ore Mine 1 (9/28/94)
  • Field Recording (3/6/94)
  • Malfunction (4/7/94)
  • Beneath the Surface (10/11/94)
  • Interplanetary Feud (3/6/94)
  • Space Ranch (3/4/94)
  • Ore Mine 2 (3/27/94)
John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1596114 2020-09-20T20:57:45Z 2020-09-23T22:59:35Z Grateful Dead Shortlist: March 17, 1993 (Landover, MD)

There’s a gentle Garcia thread running through this show that I’ve concentrated into 50 minutes. He sings “Lazy River Road,” “Crazy Fingers,” and “Days Between” beautifully, and his guitar leads the band through several contemplative places. The dominant vibe is pretty, but melancholy, and the vocal mix makes it feel like an intimate communication.

This is the 6th from last “Dark Star.” Melodic before and after the verse, it mutates into deranged jazz. After Garcia exits, the rest of the band has a lot of fun with that for another 2.5 minutes.

Space features some beautiful minimalist improvisation, leading to an extremely chill, extended visit to “The Handsome Cabin Boy” – the band’s third and last. 

50-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Lazy River Road
  • Crazy Fingers
  • Dark Star > Jazz Jam
  • Space 1 (Other One “flute” solo) >
  • Space 2 (Getting Handsome) >
  • The Handsome Cabin Boy
  • Days Between
  • Eternity Jam

Edit notes:

  • "Eternity" has been edited to an instrumental. Seemed like the perfect bookend. Mood.
  • The very start of "Dark Star" was rocky (out of a short Playin' jam), but Vince played a decisive "all change" chord, and then everything was in order. It enabled a perfect fake segue from "Crazy Fingers."
  • The end of "Cabin Boy" and the beginning of "Days Between" likewise offered a credible segue. A slight band wobble is more noticeable than the splice. It's almost like this mix wanted to happen.
  • The Space > Space > Cabin Boy sequence is as-is from the source, but it feels like there are tiny gaps. Not intrusive to the listening experience, but annoying if you're me.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1595436 2020-09-18T16:17:35Z 2020-10-01T15:47:14Z Grateful Dead: Mystery Jam #2

I find this lesser-known, very short “Dark Star” to be practically perfect in every way.

  • The band spends the first minute assembling the pieces dramatically, before the emergence of the groove. 
  • At 1:25, Garcia begins a chiseled, minimalist approach to his solo, which he picks up again once the verse is over. 
  • The band wraps itself crisply around Garcia’s series of perfect little ideas. The thrilling shift at 2:17 tells me they were really locked in.
  • At the four minute mark, Garcia surprises with a gorgeous new phrase that leads to the completion of the performance’s narrative arc. 

I edited out the verse, so the jam flows uninterrupted.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1594032 2020-09-14T05:05:35Z 2020-09-18T00:20:46Z Miles Davis: Three from Brazil (1974)

This 45-minute mix compiles three beautiful, surprisingly chill and slinky performances from the Miles Davis band’s concerts in Brazil, in late May and early June of 1974.

At the time, the band’s lineup was a seasoned funk machine that played its songs in startlingly different ways on different nights. Much of the time, they were super-intense, loud, fast, and angular.

These three tracks find the band playing at the other end of the dynamic spectrum – exploring quieter, slower, opener spaces, painting detail on top of grooves that never let you go. The soloists stretch out into sustained, thoughtful, melodic exploration. The rhythm section makes small moves that have a large impact. And when the giant funk hits, it’s a genuine climax. 

45-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • For Dave (5/25/74, Rio) (14:34)
  • Unknown Original 740419 (6/2/74, São Paulo) (15:04)
  • Ife (5/28/74, São Paulo) (15:25)
John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1590150 2020-09-02T23:56:06Z 2020-09-10T16:32:41Z Miles Davis: Tokyo ’73 Compressed

This mix presents an edited version of the Miles Davis band’s fantastic performance in Tokyo, on June 19th, 1973. The mix (for an FM broadcast) is possibly the best from 1973.

Though not officially released, the recording is widely available in bootleg form – which is one reason I decided to edit its 91 minutes down 25% to a more album-like experience, lasting 70 minutes. If you need the whole show, it’s out there. If you have never, or have not recently, melted your face with 1973 Miles, then this mix is the blowtorch you need.

Overall, I sought momentum, and a balance of tension and release, with every minute being a thrill. In pursuit of those things, I sequenced the edits in a different order than the set list. (However, if you loop the mix, the last song segues into the first one.) If you want to know more about the aesthetic considerations, see the notes below the tracklist.

Every composition played is included (except for a passing glance at “Right Off”), but all of them have been shortened in some way(s), with the exception of “Ife.” 


  • Miles Davis - trumpet, organ
  • Dave Liebman - tenor and soprano saxophones
  • Pete Cosey - guitar, percussion
  • Reggie Lucas - guitar
  • Michael Henderson - electric bass guitar
  • James "Mtume" Heath - congas, rhythm box, table percussion
  • Al Foster - drums

70-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Aghartha Prelude (5:48)
  • Zimbabwe (9:37)
  • Funk (7:17)
  • Unknown (5:57)
  • Turnaround Phrase (10:43)
  • Tune in 5 (8:38)
  • Ife (22:01)

Editing notes:

My edits were mainly motivated by the too-much-of-a-good-thing principle; less is theoretically more, from a repeat listening POV – or a one-time, stoned-out-of-your-mind encounter. 

In several cases, I omitted the conclusions of performances, which tended to be collective rave-ups on the theme that didn’t add much new information. Some of fusion jazz’s assumptions about a “rock” audience were incorrect. If you’ve explored the crap out a riff, you don’t have to come back and beat it to death before turning a corner. Be more like the Grateful Dead. (One "Sunshine Daydream" event per show is enough.)

I also reduced the number of times the music went down to a minimalist percussive hush. That kind of dramatic move isn’t needed more than once or twice during a listening arc. (Might have been fantastic, while watching the band live.)

And I made a few more surgical cuts, eliminating dull solo stretches that took away from the more incendiary parts of the performances. These edits are few. Mostly I shortened, rather than plastic surgerying. But I assure you that you prefer in advance this Aghartha edit that has the guitar solo jumping in right away. 

Cover based on a photograph by Christian Rose.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1589334 2020-09-01T01:48:24Z 2020-09-01T01:48:24Z Miles Davis: Turnaround Phrase (11/19/73 violin mutation edit)

Imagine the frontline of the 1973 Miles Davis band as several violinists playing a frantic bop homage to Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. 

Then listen to this pitch-and-tempo shifted, re-EQ’ed performance of “Turnaround Phrase” from London on 11/19/73.

The balance on this show’s soundboard is really off, which I think is what allowed me to achieve this weird effect.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1589129 2020-08-31T18:29:56Z 2020-08-31T23:52:25Z Miles Davis: Antibes Festival ’73 Edits

The Miles Davis band’s July 20, 1973 performance at the Antibes Jazz Festival in in Juan-les-Pins, France, is off the charts.

Unfortunately, the sound board recording of the show leaves Miles’ trumpet almost entirely out of the mix. He's extremely quiet compared to all the other players. You can successfully lock your ears on him and enjoy the whole show - on headphones, paying attention - but the mix doesn’t work for general listening enjoyment. 

What this Save Your Face mix does is edit several performances down to shorter tracks that are dominated by fantastic solos by Dave Liebman (sax, flute) and guitarists Pete Cosey and Reggie Lucas. 

Cosey’s soloing is berserk and amazing – think Fred Frith or Snakefinger. This short edit of “Turnaround Phrase” is probably the most punk rock Miles I've heard. 

27-minute mp3 file zipped up here

  • Turnaround Phrase (edit, 4:29)
  • Unknown (edit, 5:28)
  • Ife (edit, 16:42)

Musicians: Miles Davis (tp, org); Dave Liebman (ss, ts, fl); Pete Cosey (g, pc); Reggie Lucas (g); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d); James Mtume Forman (cga, pc)

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1585478 2020-08-21T20:43:04Z 2020-09-11T14:27:46Z Grateful Dead Shortlist: October ’87 (Shoreline)

The Grateful Dead played only one run in October 1987. This 100-minute highlights mix pulls from those three Mountainview California shows on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of the month.

Most of the selections come from the first two shows, which have really nicely mixed soundboards that highlight the quality singing and the exquisite musical detailing. 1987 seems to be a notable year for performances that could sell anyone on songs they've never heard in any other version.

If you enjoyed the Save Your Face September '87 mix that focused on great versions with killer Garcia vocals, you'll enjoy many of these tracks on the same terms.

102-minute mp3 mix zipped up here (dates included in song title tags)

  • Cold Rain and Snow
  • Cumberland Blues (w/Maggie’s Farm intro)
  • Me and My Uncle
  • Candyman
  • Bird Song
  • High Time
  • West LA Fadeaway
  • China Cat Sunflower > Rider Jam
  • Hey Pocky Way
  • Lovelight
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Let It Grow
  • Stella Blue
  • My Brother Esau
  • Brokedown Palace

Edit notes:

I edited “Rider” to an instrumental because there were crackly defects on the source. It’s a hard edit (I’ve done it a few times), and this one isn’t perfect, but there’s always something to be said for not having to listen to “Rider” in order to enjoy the “China Cat” jam. 

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1583953 2020-08-16T04:18:59Z 2020-08-18T03:49:04Z Grateful Dead Shortlist: Garcia Sings Hunter/Garcia (September 1987)

If you don’t already think of 1987 as one of those years in which the Grateful Dead often played their original compositions perfectly, then you’re in for a happy surprise. Following his 1986 illness, Garcia repossessed his catalogue of songs with massive joy and a voice that was mightier than it had been in years. 

This is a very narrow mix of Garcia singing his heart out on classic Hunter/Garcia compositions (plus “Dew”) in September 1987.  I selected from soundboards with mixes that make his voice the center of the performances. The cities are Providence, Washington D.C., New York, and Philadelphia.

    Two-hour+ mp3 mix zipped up here (3 LPs or two discs, as you wish. Dates and cities included in mp3 title tags.)

    Side One:

    • West LA Fadeaway
    • Ship of Fools
    • High Time

    Side Two:

    • They Love Each Other
    • Fire on the Mountain
    • China Doll

    Side Three:

    • Dire Wolf
    • Wharf Rat
    • Eyes of the World

    Side Four:

    • He’s Gone
    • Row Jimmy

    Side Five:

    • Black Peter
    • Morning Dew
    • Brokedown Palace

    Side Six (Encore w/different sound board balance):

    • Loser
    • Might as Well
    • U.S. Blues


    • The last three selections don’t have Garcia’s vocals as forward and clear in the mix as the rest of the tracks, but the singing and band performances insisted that they be included.
    • There are two edits on this mix. “Wharf Rat” and “He’s Gone" switch from 9/16 to 9/20 to combine the better sung version with the more amazing conclusion.  
    John Hilgart @4CPcomics
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1581188 2020-08-05T02:31:16Z 2020-08-10T15:30:10Z Grateful Dead Shortlist: Deer Creek, June 21-23 1993

    This is a 3-hour mix of highlights from the Grateful Dead’s three-show, June 1993 run at Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN. It is pulled from matching SBD sources, except for “Loser” and “High Time,” where the audience recording worked better.

    The band was crackling on a lot of first set tunes during this run, particularly in the good times and old-timey zones, with a heavy Garcia-song tilt. Twangy, funky. Some of it has a light touch, but much of it is surprisingly fierce, given the songs. The first disc of this mix pulls that kind of material together into a really fun, unconventional first set. No jam necessary.

    The second and third discs collect the big numbers, which have a nice dynamic range. There’s plenty of intense exploration in the 24-minute “Terrapin,” and the first two-thirds of “Fire” are fiery. In contrast, there’s a chill, focused vibe to much of the rest of the improvisation – “Scarlet,” “Dark Star,” “Eternity,” and “Victim.”  (I edited the latter two songs to instrumentals specifically to nestle them up alongside this short-but-sweet “Dark Star.”)

    “High Time” was played very rarely after 1991; this is the sixth from last. “Dark Star” is the fifth from last. This mix doesn’t include Drums>Space highlights, which I’m reserving for a future mix dedicated to only that stuff. Caveat: The first few minutes of "Terrapin's" sung parts are rough, but the performance gains steam as the song progresses, flowing into a great jam, so I didn't edit it down.

    3-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

    Disc One (70 minutes)

    • Jack Straw >
    • Friend of the Devil
    • Jack-a-Roe (slight edit)
    • Loose Lucy
    • Way to Go Home
    • Let the Good Times Roll (edit)
    • It’s All Over Now
    • Lazy River Road
    • Black Peter
    • Loser
    • High Time

    Disc Two (49 minutes)

    • Scarlet Begonias >
    • Fire on the Mountain
    • Terrapin Station > Jam

    Disc Three (53 minutes)

    • Dark Star
    • Eternity Jam
    • Victim or the Crime Jam > 
    • Crazy Fingers
    • He’s Gone
    • I Need a Miracle Jam >
    • Days Between (edit)
    • Encore: I Fought the Law (slight edit)
    John Hilgart @4CPcomics