Save Your Face: Garcia Songs Live 1972-1974

SET 1 (73 minutes)

  • Bertha
  • Loser
  • Friend of the Devil
  • To Lay Me Down
  • Here Comes Sunshine
  • Deal
  • Sugaree
  • Tennessee Jed
  • He’s Gone
  • Don’t Ease Me In

SET 2 (62 minutes)

  • U.S. Blues
  • They Love Each Other
  • Loose Lucy
  • Scarlet Begonias
  • Row Jimmy
  • Eyes of the World
  • Mississippi Half-Step > We Bid You Goodnight

SET 3 (74 minutes)

  • Comes a Time
  • Stella Blue
  • Black Peter
  • Morning Dew
  • China Doll
  • Bird Song
  • Wharf Rat
  • Ship of Fools
  • Brokedown Palace

320kbps zipped download

Ripped from official archive releases and edited as AIFF, then reduced to 320kbps mp3s. Tagged files include source concert dates, if you really have to know. 

If you look for “the best” version of any song from any period of the The Grateful Dead, you will fail. There are great versions, average versions, and lame versions, but the great versions will not present a single best version.

With this compilation, I was looking for a live version of the studio albums “Garcia,” “Wake of the Flood,” and “From the Mars Hotel.” I wanted a handy “album” containing all of those songs – and other Garcia compositions – that I could put onto the stereo, with anyone in the room, without caveat or apology. Just great music: “Here’s ‘Eyes of the World” and ‘Stella Blue,” with full-bore Dead behind them.” Strong vocals, strong musical performance, and good sound.

For uniform sound quality, and for selection-sanity reasons, I stuck to officially-released archive concert releases that I could rip from physical CDs. Regarding vocal quality, I was merciless; I never found an acceptably-sung post-Europe ’72 “Uncle John’s Band,” among my official purchases. This and a couple of other great Garcia compositions went by the wayside simply because my available official releases didn’t offer up a version that I could comfortably foist on other humans as proof of the song’s, and the live band’s, excellence. 

Late 1969 through 1975 were clearly Garcia’s songwriting flood years – an amazing catalog of songs written with Robert Hunter, the notable status of which, as an oeuvre, is perhaps partly obscured by both by the relative marginality of the studio albums on which they appear and the dispersion of these songs, in live performance, among both country and western covers and expanses of improvisational playing. Too many of these great songs ultimately ended up as mundane fodder for The Dead's first sets and late second sets, tunes that you weren't especially there to hear, or that signaled the end of surprises in a given show. This compilation highlights "Jerry Garcia: Singer and Songwriter," at his peak, interpreted by The Grateful Dead in arguably their most potent, flexible, and nuanced years as a live band. 

These selections intentionally skew hard toward 1973 and 1974, when the arc of the acid tests was moving through its final mutations with a single drummer, and the songs and sounds of Europe '72 were no longer the dominant traits. Nonetheless, I had to reach back into the Europe ’72 tour for a great, official “Comes a Time.” And, obviously, “Morning Dew” is not a Garcia original, but it had to be here. 

If you enjoy this experiment with an all-Garcia setlist, you might also enjoy this one.