Grateful Dead: The Spanish Jam (1968-1995)

This mix compiles 47 performances of the Grateful Dead’s “Spanish Jam” – which may be every recorded version. Lasting 4.25 hours, the mix stretches from January 1968 to June 1995, nearly the band’s whole career.

The performances are divided into five “discs” of various lengths, which align with the band’s discontinuous engagement with the theme. All performances have been volume equalized and edited to have ear-friendly start and end points.

The disc/track indexing is strictly chronological, except for the 1973-1974 disc, which is sequenced for a better-than-chronological listening experience. If you don’t like that, the song title tags are formatted to enable a full chronological sort.

Multiple members of the Dead have credited Miles Davis’ “Sketches of Spain” album as the band’s source/inspiration. Drop the needle on the song “Solea” around the 9:30 mark to hear why that makes sense.

"Solea" and “Spanish Jam” may share an origin in the widely-recorded composition “Malagueña” by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona. Here’s Lecuona playing it in 1954. Here’s Chet Atkins playing it in 1956. Here’s the Stan Kenton big band playing it circa 1961.

You can follow Dead-scholar trails about the song here, among other places.

The mp3 mix has been divided into four separate downloads, so that you don't have to deal with a single, gigantic file. The two 1980s discs are combined into a single file for downloading. 

Disc One: 1968-1970 (download)

  • Four performances
  • 49 minutes

Disc Two: 1973-1974 + 1976 (download)

  • Nine performances
  • 45 minutes

Disc Three: 1981 (download)

  • Nine performances
  • 41 minutes

Disc Four: 1982-1987 (included with 1981 download)

  • Seventeen performances
  • 79 minutes

Disc Five: 1992-1995 (download)

  • Eight performances
  • 38 minutes