The Mothers of Invention: Seriously Live Volume 2 (1968-1969 bootleg highlights)

This mix includes almost three hours of thrilling, unreleased, instrumental Mothers of Invention from the final year of the original band’s existence. I reviewed approximately 15 concert recordings, and these are the bits that I think everyone should hear. 

This is my second mixtape of late-1960s live Mothers. The first one is here, with notes explaining my enthusiasm for the original band and listing the musicians. 

Together, these two mixes include five hours of ambitious compositions and live improvisation by a large band at the peak of its powers. They include at least one version of most of the major compositions from this era, plus lesser known themes, lengthy jams, and a glimpse of “Hot Rats” (which would be recorded just a month after the latest Mothers' date on this mix). 

2h45m mp3 mixtape zipped up here 

Disc 1: Possibly Commercial (76 minutes)

This disc concentrates buttoned-up performances with great sound quality, mostly from two shows. This “Trouble Every Day” rides a fantastic, mechano-groove. 

  • Son of Mr. Green Genes (10/26/68 Paris)
  • Behind the Sun (2/23/69 Toronto)
  • A Pound for the Brown > (2/23/69 Toronto)
  • Sleeping in a Jar > (2/23/69 Toronto)
  • Charles Ives (2/23/69 Toronto)
  • Corrido Rock > Pachuko Hop (2/23/69 Toronto)
  • King Kong (10/26/68 Paris)
  • Trouble Every Day (8/3/68 New York)

Disc 2: Fatty Goodness (61 minutes)

This disc collects extended jams, solo sequences, and slinky grooves. “Jam in A” is an A+ dance party. My first mix included a lot of angles on “King Kong”; this one has a lot of “Sleeping in a Jar” variations. 

  • Jam in A (10/20/68 Amsterdam)
  • Jam Fragment (10/3/68 Copenhagen)
  • Sleeping in a Jar excerpt (10/10/68 Amsterdam)
  • Help I’m a Rock > Transylvania Boogie (10/20/68 Amsterdam)
  • Sleeping in a Jar excerpt (6/5/69 Portsmouth)
  • Blues Jam (10/26/68 Paris)

Disc 3: Orchestral Tendencies (32 minutes)

This disc stacks up some smaller compositions/passages that lean away from rock, culminating in the “Big Medley” (OCLT). 

  • Interlude (5/24/69 Toronto)
  • Cabin Boy > Wedding Dress > Little House > Dog Breath (4/28/68 Detroit)
  • Little March (5/24/69 Toronto)
  • Uncle Meat (5/24/69 Toronto)
  • OCLT 1: Let’s Make the Water Turn Black > Harry You’re a Beast > Oh No (10/20/68 Amsterdam)
  • OCLT 2: The Orange County Lumber Truck (4/28/68 Detroit)
  • Octandre (10/6/68 Bremen)

Caveats:

  • To the best of my knowledge, none of these tracks have appeared on official releases, but Zappa and the estate have sprinkled tunes from all eras across so many anthology releases that it is hard to be sure.
  • Dates/cities are based on the bootleg recordings I have and may not all be correct. You can investigate yourself on the Frank Zappa Gig List: 1969 
  • With these two mixes, I’ve used up all the unreleased live 1968-1969 Mothers recordings I have been able to get my hands on. 


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: April 1984 Jams

This mix pulls from the first four shows of The Grateful Dead’s 1984 East Coast Spring Tour – April 13-17, in Hampton, VA, Rochester, NY, and Niagara Falls, NY.

Weird mixes and performance flaws encouraged me to boil this one down to the extensive jamming, which is great. There are some burps in “Help on the Way" (Garcia's guitar may go out for a bit), but it was too good a place to start this mix to resist.

There are a number of strange sounds within these tracks. At several points, chorus vocals are mixed into a huge, echo-filled mass, and there's some wild hand drumming on "Fire" that adds an extra twist to the groove. 

92-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

Disc 1 (46 minutes)

  • Help on the Way > Slipknot!
  • Eyes of the World
  • Scarlet Begonias Jam > Fire on the Mountain Edit
  • Estimated Prophet Jam > Jam

Disc 2 (46 minutes)

  • Playin’ Jam >
  • Terrapin Station > Playin’ Mini-Jam
  • Jam >
  • The Other One > Jam > Other One
  • Shakedown Street Edit

Editing Notes: Aside from some of my usual abbreviation moves (skipping the song-parts of “Scarlet,” “Estimated,” and “Playin’), a couple of tracks are edited more esoterically. “Fire” is instrumental except for the final two choruses, which includes that massed, echo effect. I think you’ll find the whole “Scarlet Jam > Fire” sequence quite compelling. “Shakedown” is instrumental until the final verse, after which it flows uninterrupted. The vocal chorus effect is used here, too. Don't miss this "Other One," which ventures far from the main theme.

Grateful Dead: April 13-14, 1985 – Irvine, CA

Here’s another early-1980s Grateful Dead “Road Trip” mp3 mix that finds an extensive convergence of exciting performances and inviting soundboard mixes. Plus, statistically significant events!

I already hit October 1985, so here we step back six months to April. The two official, whole-show releases from the year are from June and November.

2.5-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

Disc 1: April 13 (66 minutes)

  • Why Don’t We Do It in the Road
  • West LA Fadeaway
  • Little Red Rooster (edit)
  • Terrapin Station >
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Drums
  • Space > 
  • The Wheel
  • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

Discs 2-3: April 14 (93 minutes)

  • Hell in a Bucket >
  • Sugaree
  • Down in the Bottom/Ain’t Superstitious
  • Brown-Eyed Women 
  • Big Railroad Blues
  • I Need a Miracle >
  • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
  • Women are Smarter
  • Space Jam >
  • Dear Mr. Fantasy >
  • The Other One
  • Sugar Magnolia
  • Gloria

Notes:

  • This may be the only instance of “Miracle” opening a 2nd set, and the only time it flowed into “China Cat.” Garcia’s voice is ragged on “China Cat.”
  • This is one of only four 1980s “Glorias.”
  • “Down in the Bottom” was played nine times, and “Ain’t Superstitious” eight times. They appeared together this way four times.
  • The band played “Do It in the Road” seven times.
  • Edits on this mix are limited to removing a second Weir slide solo from this otherwise fine and slinky “Rooster,” and skipping over a messy “Sunshine Daydream.” On the April 13th mix, you’ll hear a segue from “Drums” to “Space,” but that’s fake; I cut out the second half of drums. 
  • The April 14 SBD source I’ve used is one generation back from the latest, which has bigger dynamics, but which also includes a maddening, gargly defect. The 13th board mostly sounds great, but the “Terrapin” and “Wheel” vocals could have been handled more forthrightly. 
  • Cover art elements obviously swiped from Rick Griffin. 

Grateful Dead: April 17, 1982 – Hartford, CT

I’ve been listening to this set for more than three decades. I rank the “Shakedown Street” as a top 10, and the soundboard quality available today makes it that much better. In addition to clarity, the set has gained some much-needed Phil Lesh. (Thank you, Dalton/Miller/Klugston!)

There’s a different SBD source for the first set, and I like a few tunes, but they don’t belong with this second set. Of the second set, I haven’t omitted very much – a Drums/Space that are nothing special, and the last three songs of the set (Wharf Rat, Around & Around, and Saturday Night). None of them are bad, and the mix is always good, but I just don’t think they’re exemplary in any way. I don’t need to keep them as close as the rest of the set. 

I listened to this tape so much back in the day that I began to expect the yuk-yuk-duck sounds Weir makes in UJB (4:24) in every version of the song.

One-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Shakedown Street
  • Lost Sailor >
  • Saint of Circumstance >
  • Jam > Spanish Jam
  • Uncle John’s Band >
  • Not Fade Away
  • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

Grateful Dead: April 9, 1983 – Hampton, VA

At the time of this show, “Esau,” and “West LA” were very new songs, and “Help>Slip” had just returned to the rotation. Though compact, the “Help > Slip > Franklin’s” is very much on point, with Garcia handling the “Help” verses effectively. 

Most of the soundboard of this show is egregiously quiet-Weir, but not all of it. That’s a good thing, because most of the other features of the mix are great. At the center is big, warm, wiry, funky Phil Lesh bass, the drummers are handled well (no thumping), Brent is at a good volume (not too much plink), and the singing sounds great. Garcia’s guitar is quieter than you’d like, but not in a problematic way.

So, this short mix pulls together an hour of music on which the performances and mix result in powerful early-80s Dead. In spots where Weir is still too quiet, the rest of the band fills the space with chonk. Yay, Phil.

60-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Help on the Way > Slipknot! >
  • Franklin’s Tower (slight edit)
  • My Brother Esau
  • West LA Fadeaway
  • New Minglewood Blues
  • Candyman
  • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
  • The Other One Jam

Notes:

  • The band missed a change in “Franklin’s,” but let things ride for a few measures and then re-approached it successfully – so I edited the error out.
  • Though there are some quick vocal slips in “Esau,” and the lyrics hadn’t entirely settled down, I still love it. 
  • “The Other One Jam” is a dangling chad, but I thought it was cool enough to preserve. They didn’t play the song that night, and this jam is typically called “Smokestack Lightning Jam,” because they touched on that theme in first minute or so. But the interesting stuff comes with the turn to “The Other One.”


Grateful Dead: Jamming at The Scope 1982 (Norfolk, VA – April 3)

1982 seems to be a tough year for SBDs that capture full-spectrum, six-member Grateful Dead. Weir’s guitar comes and goes, and Phil’s bass is too often subterranean – hitting on the low end, but not really present as a melodic string part, weaving its way through the rhythmic/harmonic tapestry. Vocals/verses sometimes sound puny, compared to the jamming. 

The SBD mix of this April 3, 1982 Norfolk, Virginia show’s second set gets close to the good place, and the playing is all you’d ask for. Phil could occupy a lot more mid-range in this mix, but I’m not going to quibble, given the options.

The whole show is well played (stream link below), but the first set has a different mix with very little bass. So, for this short mixtape I've stuck to the second set's thicker sound and its jammier moments. I edited a couple of songs down to instrumental (or nearly-instrumental) versions to avoid some not-well-mixed song parts that break the momentum and clarity of all this open playing. 

Where did this beautiful, swinging “Eyes” comes from, in an era of skittery, too-fast takes? 

52-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Scarlet Begonias (instr. edit) >
  • Fire on the Mountain >
  • Estimated Prophet (edit) >
  • Eyes of the World
  • Jam >
  • Not Fade Away

If you enjoy these highlights, stream the whole show in the latest Charlie Miller SBD master on the archive, posted August 2018.

If you’re wondering where this music fits in with official releases, the adjacent April 5-6 shows were released as a Road Trip, and two summer 1982 shows have been released in full. 

Grateful Dead: October ’83 (17th & 18th – Lake Placid & Portland)

Here are 90 minutes of unreleased October 1983 Grateful Dead in well-mixed soundboard recordings.

There are three official, whole-show releases from 1983, all from the Fall – 9/2, 10/14, and 10/21. This mixtape mines a SBD sweet spot in between those two October shows, from back-to-back, single-show, two-state stops: Lake Placid, NY and Portland, ME.

Each of these soundboards suffers from bad mixing in a lot of places (mostly quiet Weir guitar), but the good sound and good performances align in enough places to produce a sturdy little 2-LP mix with punch. Thick Lesh throughout.

90-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

Disc 1: 10/17/83 Lake Placid, NY (55 minutes)

  • Sugaree
  • Bird Song
  • Hell in a Bucket
  • Deal
  • To Lay Me Down

Disc 2: 10/18/83 Portland, ME (48 minutes)

  • They Love Each Other
  • Dupree’s Diamond Blues
  • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
  • Supplication
  • Jam >
  • Not Fade Away

Notes:

  • The 10/17 “Sugaree” was the show opener. Weir’s guitar gets too loud for a stretch, but it’s otherwise quite epic (16:22), so I resisted editing the weird passage out. 
  • Healy or whoever often seems to have suppressed Weir’s guitar during verses/choruses, but he chimes brightly in most places on each of these songs. 
  • If you’re wondering about the second set of 10/17, it’s a good performance, but the mix is shrill, compared to the first set. Only “To Lay Me Down” made it through my filter. 


Grateful Dead: October ’84 (17th & 18th - Meadowlands)

Here’s a tightened album of two nights in 1984 that fell on the 10th anniversary of The Grateful Dead’s October 1974 run at Winterland – October 17 and 18.

Featuring exceptional sound board mixes for the era, and archive mastering by Charlie Miller, these unreleased 1984 East Rutherford, NJ shows are full of tight, fiery, and adventurous material. Each might be weak as a “Dave’s Picks” whole-show release, but together they offer an impressive “road trip,” adding up to the length of a single show.

2.5-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

10/17/84:

  • West L.A. Fadeaway
  • My Brother Esau
  • Slipknot! (edit) >
  • Franklin’s Tower (edit)
  • Terrapin Station >
  • Space Jam >
  • The Other One
  • Stella Blue >
  • Goin’ Down the Road, Feelin’ Bad
  • Big Railroad Blues (10/18/84)

10/18/84:

  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • Candyman
  • Little Red Rooster
  • Cassidy
  • Dancin’ in the Street
  • Playin’ in the Band >
  • Uncle John’s Band > Playin’ Jam >
  • China Doll > Jam
  • Playin’ Jam > Reprise
  • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

Notes:

  • Slipknot > Franklin’s edit: Garcia screwed up the lyrics to “Help,” so I just used its intro to get to the delirious “Slipknot!” Something went wrong about six-and-a-half minutes into “Franklin’s,” so I spliced around a verse/chorus to extend the jamming (If you get confused, listen to the music play). 
  • I’ve tightened the “Playin’” sandwich by eliminating the drums/space that separated the final jam/reprise from the other main ingredients. These are fine renditions of “Uncle John’s” and “China Doll,” so this is a tasty sandwich. 
  • These two discs are tagged as separate albums, by their show dates.
  • To stay within a 2-CD frame, I had to put “Big Railroad” onto the other night’s disc, which just goes to show that it and “Goin’ Down the Road” are the same song.


Grateful Dead: October ‘85

It’s amazing how much punch mid-1980s Grateful Dead packed, when the sound guys saw fit to include Weir and Lesh in the mix. “Hey, it’s The Good Old Grateful Dead, right there!” 

The compilation pulls together hot October ’85 performances that were captured in mixes that satisfy. Even within the shows surveyed, the mix varied wildly, but when you narrow the focus to the beefy moments… Proper Grateful Dead, definitely not sucking in the Eighties.

The shows included are the first five of the tour, leading up to the famous (and officially released) 11/1/85 Richmond, VA show: Two shows in Florida, two in Atlanta, and one in Columbia, SC – 10/25 to 10/31. 

Tracks per show:

  • 10/25: 5
  • 10/26: 1
  • 10/28: 8
  • 10/29: 6
  • 10/31: 8

3h30m mp3 mix zipped up here (source dates in track names)

Disc 1:

  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • Friend of the Devil
  • Dire Wolf
  • Mississippi Half-Step >
  • Franklin’s Tower
  • Peggy-O
  • Scarlet Begonias >
  • Touch of Grey
  • Black Peter
  • Looks Like Rain

Disc 2:

  • Werewolves of London
  • Shakedown Street >
  • Playin’ in the Band >
  • Ship of Fools >
  • Jam >
  • Drums >
  • Space > Jam
  • Comes a Time

Disc 3:

  • Morning Dew >
  • Estimated Prophet >
  • Eyes of the World (instr. edit)
  • Man Smart, Woman Smarter
  • Terrapin Station
  • Jam
  • The Other One
  • Stella Blue
  • Brokedown Palace
  • Day Job