The Save Your Face blog has gradually accumulated a pretty nice mixtape tour of the Grateful Dead’s rise to maturity - 1968-1970. The mixes start with the first recorded appearance of the big-jam-sequence in January 1968 and end with Mickey Hart's last month with the band in 1970 (until 1975).
These mixes almost entirely dodge officially-released material and only include well-recorded, exciting performances.
The objectives are to:
- Fill in calendar gaps on your shelf of official live releases and favorite tapes
- Highlight transitional and secret-history moments in the band's musical attitude and lineup
- Draw circles around notable moments in the band's improvisational evolution
- Blow out some beguiling "lost songs" into album-length experiences
- Reveal 1968-1970 to be the most heterogeneous and routinely surprising period of the band's musical history
Below are links to all the 1968-1970 SYF mixes so far, in chronological order.
To the Eagle Palace: The earliest possible, most-inclusive-possible, draft of the jammy sequences that would change and mature in time for “Live Dead,” a year later.
January 1968 - January 1969
Clementine (1968-1969): An extensive dive into the Dead’s first jazz jam, including full performances and instrumental edits.
Live highlights from a lesser known month/moment-of-development, taken from little-known tapes.
June 1968 - November 1970
At Tens & Sevens: A compendium of The Main Ten, The Seven, and a little bit of The Eleven.
August - December 1968
Late 1968: Live unreleased highlights from a period of intense maturation.
October - December 1968
Fate Music: The juiciest minutes from the Mickey & The Hartbeats recordings.
January - December 1969
Tones: An album’s worth of the quiet passages that often followed the noisy part of “Feedback.”
February 7-15, 1969
Do Not Step on Alligator: Alligator Jam > Caution Jam > Feedback is the earliest zone of Dead “thematic jamming,” captured here in three versions from the same week “Live Dead” was recorded – with the “Cautions” edited to instrumental jams.
Late Summer 1969 (August 2 - September 7)
Not the Wild East: Live passages, recorded mostly at The Matrix (a tiny venue), within a month of Woodstock. This mix finds the band as broadly heterogeneous as at any moment in their career, with guest musicians almost being the norm.
August 1969 - October 1971
The Tighten Up Jam
September 17, 1969 (Alembic Studios)
Single – Sawmills b/w Seasons of My Heart: A couple of adorable studio outtakes of cover songs that slide into the nascent “Workingman’s” ethos.
Cartoon Music: Highlights of the band seriously practicing and taking taking random shots at Looney Tunes and other cartoon music.
December 1969 - January 1970
Mason’s Children Jams: A half-hour of five performances of “Mason’s Children,” edited into instrumental jams.
November 6, 1970
Instrumental Electric Set: A ripping, audience-only recording edited into an extended, vocal-free jam.
November 20, 1970
Grateful Airplane (Garcia, Lesh, Weir, Kaukonen, Kreutzmann, Hart): A unique jam-band formation that produced unique results.
December 15, 1970
Grateful Dorks (Crosby, Garcia, Lesh, Kreutzmann): The only live recording of David and the Dorks, purified into an instrumental jam. IMO, some of the most remarkable music of the Dead's recorded history.
December 12-31, 1970
Skullf*ckery: Live highlights from the very end of the first two-drummer period, featuring songs from the 1970 albums, while also prototyping the one-drummer "Skull & Roses" recordings that would happen a few months later. This mix also provides extensive coverage of the moment's big jam, "Good Lovin'."