Grateful Dead: May 1977 Dancin’ in the Streets Jams

This mix is a continuous, instrumental edit of the jams from all seven May 1977 performances of “Dancin’ in the Streets.”

Every time the band finishes the synchronized riff section of one jam, they slide right into the beginning of another night’s jam. All dancing, no singing.

The segues are seamless, but I’ve presented the mix as seven tracks, so you can compare the performances. Aside from the first track, which includes the opening of the song, each version starts at the same moment. The final version fades out. All performances have been officially released, except for 5/1 and 5/4.

67-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Dancin’ Intro & Jam > (5/8/77)
  • Dancin’ Jam > (5/19/77)
  • Dancin’ Jam > (5/15/77)
  • Dancin’ Jam > (5/12/77)
  • Dancin’ Jam > (5/22/77)
  • Dancin’ Jam > (5/1/77)
  • Dancin’ Jam (5/4/77)

This mix is a companion to this May ’77 “Fire on the Mountain” jams collection. If you want even more edited May '77 madness, here’s a 12-minute version of “Brown Eyed Women” that includes every one of the instrumental breaks. 

Grateful Dead: May 1977 Fire on the Mountain Jams

This collection provides instrumental edits of every Grateful Dead performance of “Fire on the Mountain” in May 1977. It was still a new song, played only six times prior to these versions.

As an improvisational vehicle, the song had three parts, all with variable lengths and approaches:

  • The introduction, up to the first verse
  • The middle jam, between the two verses
  • The rousing final jam, which led to the “Scarlet Begonias” bookend close

In addition to eliminating the verses and choruses, I’ve also removed the return to the baseline groove that occurred between the middle jam and the second verse, so those solo-driven parts flow together without a slow-down. 

Otherwise, it’s all the music - each performance as a pure jam that reveals the essential differences among them. They range from seven to twelve minutes each. All have been officially released except 5/4/77.

72-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Fire Jam (5/4/77)
  • Fire Jam (5/5/77)
  • Fire Jam (5/8/77)
  • Fire Jam (5/11/77)
  • Fire Jam (5/13/77)
  • Fire Jam (5/17/77)
  • Fire Jam (5/21/77)
  • Fire Jam (5/25/77)

You'll find a mix of May '77's "Dancin' in the Streets" jams here

The Grateful Dead: Terraplayin’ (1993-1994)

Pretend that Spotify recommended this music because you listen to a lot of Khruangbin.

I have smashed together more than two hours of improvisational segments from late 1993 and 1994 Grateful Dead performances of “Playin’ in the Band” and “Terrapin Station.” 

At the time, the approaches to those two songs’ jams were closely related, and together they represent one of the highlights of late, improvisational Grateful Dead. Slinky, fusion-y, blue-green, dance music.

Everything on this mix appeared on previous Save Your Face mixes. I made a rough-cut playlist, and it turned out to be great for everything from snow shoveling to copywriting – a Dead “mood” that both rewards close attention and functions as sophisticated wallpaper music. 

So, I decided to take out the remaining vocals and tidy up the edges. Many of the segues originated on the earlier mixes I pulled from, and I welded a few more things together for this mix. Some edits are good illusions and others will be obvious, but they help create a dramatic ebb and flow of the band's Playin’ dilations and Jam-Out-of-Terrapin concentrations. 

This is what the mix will look like in your music player, if you download the zipped mp3 file. Anything that’s named “Terraplayin’” is an edit of related performances, featuring at least one jam from each song. 

2h13m mp3 file zipped up here

The Grateful Dead: Tones (1969)

Nearly every “Feedback” The Grateful Dead played in 1969 included a gentle, gorgeous section of drones, whines, and knob-twiddling. This mix isolates and combines 14 such passages into a 35-minute ambient album. 

This particular aspect of “Feedback” ought to have its own name, since literal feedback is not the dominant feature, and there is great consistency among the performances. When you put them together, they sound like movements of a single, larger composition... or stanzas in a tone poem.

The mix includes 14 tracks, each labeled “Tones (mm/dd/69).” 

35-minute mp3 album zipped up here

Grateful Dead/Bubba Ayoub - "Lost In Space: The Derelict"

I am grateful to Bubba Ayoub (@otdispace) for permission to share his mesmerizing ambient/noise Grateful Dead remix album.

Ayoub is a modular synthesizer performer and builder, and a lightshow artist. I suspect he is also the world’s leading expert on/appreciator of the Phil Lesh/Ned Lagin “Seastones” project from the mid-1970s, which contributes to this remix album. If “Seastones” has eluded you, so far, track 3 on Ayoub’s album might be what you need. 

Ayoub’s Dead reprocessing aligns directly with my own fascination with the band’s 1990s MIDI explorations and the band’s lifelong resonance with avant garde music, including Eno, Budd, Hassell, Frith, Krautrock, etc. If the Dead had addressed their weirdest recordings the same way those artists did, they might have produced documents like Ayoub’s remixes. 

Ayoub is active on many creative fronts:

Check out this live synthesizer rooftop concert video on Youtube. 

View Ayoub’s lightshow work on Instagram @juggableoffense

Or just give thanks that someone is doing Ayoub’s day job, building badass synthesizers at STG Soundlabs

Regarding the Dead appropriations and mutations on this mix, Ayoub explains: “I'm done being frustrated by the lack of completely buckshitfuckwild official releases in the vein of ‘Grayfolded’ and ‘Infrared Roses,’ and that's the driving force behind the Grateful Dead-adjacent portions of the “Lost in Space Tapes.”

63-minute"Lost in Space: The Derelict" mp3 album zipped up here. Ayoub’s track-by-track notes, below.

1. Your Zones Are Short (24:27)

Drums and or Space and or BEAM from 083178, Egypt 78, 072988, 062694, 041882, 041982. Seastones from 071974 and 102074. Two June 68 Feedback segments provide some extreme noise, and finally littered throughout are bits and pieces of the 012278 Close Encounters Jam. 

This was the sort of test case for cramming in as many of these little nuggets of weird Dead as possible onto a cassette 4-track to create a way of exploring a kind of econo plunderphonics. 

2. All Your Zones R Belong To Us (7:23)

Combines a bass/drums jam from 062273 with various Seastones in a sort of reimagining of what Seastones could have been had the stars aligned differently.

3. Seazzzones (24:23)

Combines every Seastones from the October 1974 Winterland run. This is where I wanted to end up once I got the idea to plunderphonicize as much weird Dead as I could get my hands on. 

I was listening to a version of Seastones and reviewing it on Twitter one afternoon and I tweeted out something to the effect of "jeez, I wish this was just drenched in reverb and delay" to which Jesse Jarnow responded "why don't you just do that to it yourself?" I ran with the idea and immediately knew I wanted to try layering Seastones. 

There's a lot of dead air in Seastones performances, so putting them on top of each other helped me create a more cohesive, all consuming mass of sound that doesn't recreate the experience of perceiving all those strange frequencies beyond the human range of hearing but does hit the listener's perception centers with less "what the fuck were they doing up there in the 16 second pause between one blip and the next?" 

4. Out of Pocket Guest Spot Zones (7:36)

This tape combines a bunch of Space segments with special guests - the Guyto Monks and Edie Brickell specifically, as their appearances with the Dead are my favorite guest appearances. Long story short I just think it's real cool when people join in on the one truly, fully improvised vintage psychedelia moment in every Dead show so I wanted to see what it was like when I put a bunch of them together.

Cover art by Ruth Poland adapted from a Seastones concert poster

Grateful Dead: Ambient 4 – The Plateaux of MIDI

This 100-minute mix compiles 28 space and drums segments from The Grateful Dead’s 1994 Summer Tour. 

These selections previously appeared on my wider-ranging Summer ’94 compilations, which blended them into sequences of regular Dead music. I’ve pulled them together because sometimes you just want to listen to music for spaceports. 

Track titles are the same as on the original comps – to avoid confusion - but otherwise this mix is tagged as an entirely discrete album – to avoid confusion. I’ve added some fades and unified the volume. I created a space disc and a drums disc, but everything should shuffle pretty smoothly, too.

100-minute mp3 mix zipped up here.

This is the fourth mix of this kind of material. The others are:

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

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 Grateful Dead: Stone House Sessions (Jan-Feb 1983)

This mix presents some of the oddest Grateful Dead music I’ve heard. In January and February of 1983, the band spent several days recording at Stone House, in Marin County, near Fairfax. 

They mostly didn’t pursue songs, but instead worked extensively on several patterns. The tapes we have might be reels of the more together passages, pulled aside. There are also indications that additional parts were recorded on some tracks that have been wiped from the edits we have.

Stone House is not a studio but rather a large, historic building in the country. Mickey Hart, Dan Healy, Betty Cantor, and Rex Jackson worked in Stone House in 1974, recording Zakir Hussain’s album “Venu” in the building's large, central room. Check out this reminiscence of what that space was like, and the ambience it created.   

In 1983, perhaps Hart encouraged the band to shake things up by experimenting at Stone House. Perhaps everyone was supposed to bring in one idea. What was the actual intent of the sessions? What do the circulating tapes represent? I have no idea – but there’s very cool music to be heard. It's definitely not what you'd expect from 1983 Dead, nor what the Dead recording in an old building in the countryside might imply about the character of the music. 

90-minute mp3 mix here

  • Stone House Disco Mix (16:00)
  • Stone House Dub Mix (24:34)
  • Victory (Long Edit) (15:38)
  • Knot Jazz ’83 (Composite Edit) (7:42)
  • Molly D (2:56)
  • Stone House (Straight Edit) (23:03)


Stone House Disco Mix

Stone House Dub Mix

Stone House (Straight Edit)

The band spent a day working on a pattern built around a programmed drumbeat, which isn’t titled on the tapes. I pulled all the most together pieces, removed stumbles from them, and edited them into a 23-minute version (straight). 

There is no repetition within the edit; it’s all different bits of real-time playing. You’ll hear one or more members exhorting the others, vocally or with handclaps, at several points. You’ll hear Garcia’s guitar at the beginning and end; otherwise he’s absent.

The three versions presented here are the exact same edit, straight and reprocessed two different ways. I think the band was playing this too slow AND too fast, so I’ve taken the liberty of @#$&ing around with tempo, pitch, and reverb.

Victory (Long Edit)

It’s called “Victory” on the tapes. Here, too, I’ve edited together many pieces without repeating any. It’s a gorgeous, narcotic groove, somewhere between VU’s “Ocean” and something far more contemporary. There’s plenty of richness within the super-low-key musical texture, and I’ve done my best to provide good dramatic turns in the places where I stitched bits together – or to hide the stitches entirely. (Listen at 9:18 for four seconds of a Garcia guitar lead – a trace of a track that wasn’t included in the mixdown/transfer we have.)

Knot Jazz ’83 (Composite Edit)

This is an edit made from three “takes” of everyone but Garcia moving back and forth through a structured pattern that has multiple references to the jams of old. 

Molly D

Grateful Dead ska, more or less! This is presumably an instrumental version of this Hunter/Hart composition, but I don’t have a vocal version for comparison’s sake. There are five versions of this on the tapes, and they seem to represent a process of recording to a drum track and then creating an edited track without the drums. I’m not sure who all is playing. 

Thank you Jesse Jarnow (@bourgwick) for tipping me off to these recordings and for providing the background sources.

Jamming with Brent: April ’79 Rehearsal Remix

Here’s another one of those unique and miraculous – but also shaggy – Grateful Dead events, boiled down to something more like an album fit for everyday listening. 

Rehearsing ahead of Brent Mydland’s first live performance with the band, the Dead jammed and jammed and jammed in their Club Front studio. The results are an exciting sequel to the “Blues for Allah” rehearsal tapes. I’ve always said that I’d have been cool with the Dead staying on the jazz-fusion path out of 1975; this music could be from that path. 

My mix presents 60-minutes of the best bits, sliced and diced into a nearly continuous 60-minute jam, plus a 17-minute Space/Drums/Feedback freak-out, made up of several other bits. All told, it includes about half the minutes of the circulating tape, which is dated April 16, 1979. 

78-minute mp3 mix here (Cover: John Hilgart, cassette insert art, c. 1989)

  • Herbie Prelude >
  • Herbie 1 >
  • Herbie 2 >
  • Another Fire on a Different Mountain >
  • Scarlet Begonias Jam >
  • Fire on the Mountain
  • Harbor Traffic >
  • We Could be Genesis
  • Not Fade Away Jam
  • Dancing Between Thunder
  • Summer of ‘73
  • We’re Here All Week, Folks >
  • Closing Time
  • Booji Boy’s Bad Trip (space, drums, and feedback)

You can listen to the full 2h45m tape here: 

Compared to my own excitement about this material, the 15 years of comments on the post, above, are surprisingly ambivalent. Methinks they haven’t seen the trees for the forest. I hope that my tightening and track differentiation will make it easier for some to enjoy these unique Dead performances. Imagine if this had been a second set in front of a live audience, in 1979 or any year. People would have lost their minds.

Editing notes:

  • Two of the links indicated by “>” are real: “Herbie 1 > Herbie 2,” and “Scarlet > Fire.” I’ve created simple connective tissue anywhere else I could. There were few real stopping points in the music, but the drummers and odd noises provided some good opportunities for fake connections. The fade-ins on “Harbor Traffic” and “Summer of ‘73” come from the source tape. 
  • The only vocals are on “Fire on the Mountain.”
  • “Herbie Prelude” is a combination of two small Brent noodles, the second of which gave birth to (what I have called) the Herbie theme. 
  • I removed many minutes from the “Herbie 2” jam, joining approximately the first five, Mydland-centric, minutes to the final minute-and-a-half, which brought it to a Garcia-led close. 
  • “We Could Be Genesis” begins with some tightened up elements that preceded the full-fledged execution of the theme/idea, so it would be even more Genesis-like.
  • “Not Fade Away Jam” removes two sections of reference-recording-level singing. There was a tempo change across the first vocal section, so you’ll feel that shift, but both the fast intro and slower jam are worthy.
  • “Summer of ‘73” is an abbreviated version of the full jam, faded out when it disintegrated beyond a certain point.  
  • “Booji Boy’s Bad Trip” combines three separate episodes of noisy fun and trims out some extraneous stuff within one or two of those episodes. 
  • Every effort was made to hide the fact that these were stop-start rehearsals and to fake an album out of them.