Grateful Dead: Sawmill b/w Seasons of My Heart (Alembic Studios 9/17/69)

This is a fake, studio-recorded, country-and-western single by the Grateful Dead, four months ahead of the recording of “Workingman’s Dead,” at a point when only a few of that album’s songs had entered the live repertoire. 

Captured at an unreleased September 17, 1969 rehearsal session that also included an emphatic effort to play Looney Tunes cartoon music, these are carefully-executed performances of songs that the Dead only played live a few times.

Both tracks are Weir-sung with group harmonies and Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar. Garcia’s first side-band, New Riders of the Purple Sage, played their first shows around the same time. 

7-minute mp3 file zipped up here

  • Sawmill (Horace Monroe, Mel Tillis)
  • Seasons of My Heart (George Jones, Darrell Edwards)

Editing and live performance notes:

  • “Sawmill” is the third of three attempts during the rehearsal. There are three documented live performances, January to April 1970. 
  • There is no complete take of “Seasons” in the studio session, as the band stopped to carefully rehearse the harmonies of the final section. I’ve edited their final attempt (which they approve at its conclusion) onto the rest of the song. There are five documented live performances, August 1969 to February 1970.