tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Save Your Face 2024-05-03T05:11:11Z John Hilgart @4CPcomics tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/2065577 2023-12-23T16:14:42Z 2024-05-03T05:11:11Z Grateful Dead: Dark Star Variations (June 1992 - March 1994)

This mix includes the 12 instances of “Dark Star” played by the Grateful Dead in the post-Hornsby period, 10 of which had verses and two of which were jam-only. The final, six-piece combo played its first “Dark Star” in June 1992 and its last in March 1994.

This is a wonderful period for variations on the “Dark Star” theme and for the weird, deep, free improvisation that one traditionally thinks of as part of “Dark Star” – all that stuff that happened between the first hint of the melody and whatever named song eventually followed.

In the 1990s, those two parts were separated: “Dark Star” was primarily an exploration of the melodic theme (6-9 minutes, with a verse), while “Drums” and “Space” became the expansive zone of open exploration, diverse in sounds and musical angles. 

The “Dark Stars” of this period are pleasing because their infrequency prevented them from having any set flavor. The ones that don’t even have the formal opening are often particularly beguiling. On 6/18/92 they played the verse instrumentally. And consider Garcia’s unique approach on the final version from 3/30/94 in Atlanta.

The late versions are, objectively, fresh variations on the eternal, ongoing “Dark Star jam,” an effect I’ve amplified by editing out the verses of all but the first and the last performances on this mix. Listen to the music play.

To demonstrate my assertion that Drums/Space held the other half of “Dark Star” in the 1990s, I’ve made a layer cake mix that intersperses the song/melody with a goodly number of intriguing Drums and Space segments.

The Space passages almost all come from the December 1992 and February 1993 runs in Oakland, CA (eight shows, total). The first of those runs featured “Dark Star” material on three nights (first verse, space jam, second verse).

The passages separating the “Dark Star” material are sometimes quite short, but I think they have a sufficient palette-cleansing/anticipation-of-return effect to make the persistent “Dark Star” recurrences satisfactorily orgasmic for the listener.

If you venerate 1969 suite-like “Dark Stars,” where only part of it is actually the melody, or 1974 “Dark Stars,” where most of it might not be the melody, etc… then you should love this. Tons of melody + lots of carefully curated WTF.

I chose the running order based on the character of the passages and the dynamic flow of the whole. Segues were mostly impossible, but fade-outs where needed worked out fine. There are a few deliberate jump cuts, but otherwise all tracks stand alone.

Two-hour mp3 mix zipped up here (dates/cities included in tags)

  • Walk On Drums
  • Dark Star (first verse)
  • Hectic > Peaceful Space
  • Dark Star
  • Ringing Drums
  • Fluttering Space
  • Dark Star
  • A Jerry Story
  • Dark Star
  • Dark Star w/David Murray
  • A Jerry Story
  • Didgeridoo Drums
  • Dark Star Jam
  • Jamming w/Ornette Coleman
  • Dark Star Space > Jam *
  • Dark Star
  • A Spontaneous Composition (Correction: This is a theme from "Tubular Bells!")
  • Dark Star
  • A Perilous Space
  • Dark Star
  • Chase Sequence Space
  • Dark Star
  • A Jerry Story
  • Dark Star (second verse)
  • Walk Off Space

* I forgot to indicate "> Jam" in the mp3 title tags

Cover art: Holt School Mathematics textbook cover detail (8th grade volume), circa 1976. Graphically, this Holt School series was very nice, each volume iterating on the same abstracted composition of the four basic math functions (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), which I think adequately reflects the philosophy of this mixtape.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/2062353 2023-12-13T23:02:43Z 2024-03-11T22:54:51Z Grateful Dead: Lesh is More Concrète (December 1973)

Jesse Jarnow pointed out that Phil Lesh takes over the Grateful Dead for six, extended, abstract bass adventures during the December 1973 shows.

Here are those passages, in chronological order, gently segued, totaling 39 minutes. The first one gives you a couple of minutes to orient yourself before Godzilla reaches the power station.

These are not bass solos (other players present), but Phil steps beyond the normal zones of 1973-1974 collective abstraction to establish his own soundscape plots - dropping bombs, embracing distortion, shifting an octave, firing off drones and tones. The band generally steps back to give him a canvas, with much of the accompaniment minimal and often gentle. It is paradoxically violent and soothing music.

39-minute mp3 mix zipped up here (dates/cities included in song titles)

Cover art: Howard V. Brown for the May 1934 issue of Astounding Stories. It reminds me a little bit of the cover of Neil Young’s abstract distortion album “Arc,” while also inviting you to hear this music in color.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/2036201 2023-10-14T03:21:31Z 2023-11-09T05:05:38Z Grateful Dead: The Terrapin Bounce Jam (1993-1994)

This mix includes four isolated, exceptional examples of the distinctive jam the Grateful Dead often played after “Terrapin” in the final years. Four musical leaps in the same direction, totaling 16 minutes.

In this period, there is a decisive moment when - or a brief transitional period during which - the climactic Terrapin riff gives way to a breezier space. Instead of grinding the Terrapin riff out forever, the band turns a corner into a different zone.

Does the Terrapin Bounce Jam rise to the level of an official Grateful Dead “thematic jam?” Possibly, because it is distinct from earlier Terrapin jams and contemporary Playin’ jams (which it shares a vibe with). I feel that at many moments, it could turn toward or back to either/both of those zones. It is something like a fresh space in a Venn diagram comfort zone for 1993-1994 Dead - a “Terraplayin’ Jam.”

Whatever its thematic taxonomy, this jam WAS an exceptional comfort zone for the final band. The rhythm section locked into a peppy groove, while responding fluidly to the melodic players – Phil Lesh performing a wild, sinuous ballet across the groove. Bob Weir finding the right accents and places to punctuate. Vince Welnick providing essential melodic elements.

And Jerry Fucking Garcia, genius lead guitarist, operating in a wide-open space - unencumbered by rote requirements - laying down spellbinding narratives. He employed many tones, natural and MIDI, not just changing channels for novelty but seeing the next place he wanted to take things and paying it off.

To illustrate/celebrate this corner of Grateful Dead, I’ve chosen just four particularly developed, short, and corner-turning examples. 

The jam/theme/turn/bounce appeared most of the time after Terrapin in the final years, but not always as an assertively self-contained jam. The Terrapin riff could extend farther in, creating a hybrid. The band could get pretty fierce for a long time within the “Terrapin Bounce” rhythm, without carving out a shape or turning dramatic corners. The jam could open up into a farther out thing or wind itself down, coherently, toward Drums. 

Download 16 minutes/four versions of the jam on mp3s here

  • 9/17/94 (4:39)
  • 7/23/94 (4:25)
  • 1/26/93 (3:11)
  • 4/4/94 (3:23)

Cover art: Gyokusho Kawabata 1842-1914

If you’d like more versions and a bigger 1993-1994 context for this jam, try this older and much longer Save Your Face mix:

Notes and mp3s


John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/2027474 2023-09-20T21:10:20Z 2023-10-13T00:44:12Z Shakedown Street: ’79 Jams

This mix celebrates Brent Mydland’s arrival on “Shakedown Street” in 1979 and the particularly excellent “disco Dead” that resulted. I’ve chosen seven 1979 performances to edit to semi-instrumentals: intro > solo section > final chorus & jam.

1979 is arguably the most deeply funky year for “Shakedown Street,” early Brent being exactly what the song - and the rest of the band - had been waiting for. Things really go to outer space in the Halloween performance. 

The seven versions presented here are those for which there’s a soundboard recording that makes every player clearly audible and present – ensuring a properly syncopated and detailed groove. 

“Shakedown Street” is not as easy to edit as many other Dead songs, but it only requires two splices, so I hope you’ll put up with a few moments of awkwardness in exchange for the extended, jammy experience. 

71-minute mp3 mix here

  • 8/13/79 (7:52)
  • 8/31/79 (10:10)
  • 10/25/79 (10:57)
  • 10/31/79 (13:43)
  • 11/25/79 (9:23)
  • 11/29/79 (8:21)
  • 12/26/79 (10:24) 

Cover art: Richard Biffle

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1993758 2023-06-28T21:11:45Z 2023-10-20T05:55:37Z Grateful Dead: Space 1995

The Grateful Dead remained an experimental band to the end. This mix arranges portions of 1995 “Spaces” from 11 cities/runs, February through May, into several listening arcs, totaling two hours.

In 1995, certain themes recurred regularly in the open improv sections of shows, arguably making them a jam or jams that ought to be named. You’ll hear them in the “Philadelphia Suite” that leads this mix, and then more insistently and extensively in the “Thematic Suite” that follows.  

I’ve also assembled a different flavor of improvisation into a “Melancholy Suite,” which highlights a quest for strange, gentle beauty. This portion of the mix sometimes aligns with the decade-spanning Save Your Face compilation “Chamber Music.”

And lastly, there are several great outliers from the above categories, with which I’ve concluded the mix.

Lesh said the Dead were always playing “Dark Star,” even when they weren’t. This is that music in 1995. 

1h 50m mp3 mix zipped up here (dates/cities included in song titles)

Philadelphia Suite (18 minutes)

  • Three nights edited into a single track. It was a run packed with notable passages, which I’ve melded together.

Thematic Suite (49 minutes)

  • Nine segments from various shows, indexed as separate tracks

Melancholy Suite (31 minutes)

  • Eight segments from various shows, indexed as separate tracks

Outliers (13 minutes)

  • Three segments from three shows

Cover art: Detail from “Bed” by Robert Rauschenberg

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1969509 2023-04-25T17:02:54Z 2023-10-20T05:55:24Z Grateful Dead: Go to Alaska (June 19-21, 1980)

In June 1980, the Grateful Dead went to a very nice high school gym in Anchorage, Alaska, for three nights that included the summer solstice. The venue had previously hosted artists such as Dave Brubeck and Leonard Bernstein, and it held 2,000 people. The promoter sweetened the gig offer with a hunting and fishing trip for the band.

The Alaska run (June 19-21) came five days after the band dashed through Portland, Seattle, and Spokane on consecutive nights (June 12-14). A week after Alaska, the band performed in LA and San Diego and then took six weeks off. 

This mix offers a 3-LP (2h 15m) Alaska “album” derived from eight hours of soundboard recordings (mastered by Miller), which I find exceptional.

The vocals are very forward, and every voice and instrument is clearly separated, while blending nicely. The resulting sound experience is very detailed and intimate-feeling, while also having plenty of oomph. 

With very few exceptions, I was able to segue these picks, such that they provide an unbroken listening experience.

Download mp3s

Stream on YouTube

  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • The Music Never Stopped
  • Sugaree
  • Far from Me
  • Loser
  • Let it Grow
  • Althea
  • Estimated Prophet >
  • The Other One
  • Not Fade Away >
  • Black Peter
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Supplication
  • Ship of Fools
  • Brokedown Palace
John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1944670 2023-02-23T17:56:58Z 2023-10-20T05:55:14Z Grateful Dead: Early 1981 (February 26 - March 7)

Out of the gate in 1981, the Grateful Dead were lit. Exploratory and incendiary, it feels like a hard break with 1980. Perhaps the scrappy, early-‘80s Dead were born in February 1981? 

This post wraps together four Save Your Face mixes that summarize the first eight shows of 1981. Created two years ago, these mixes were based largely on Jesse Jarnow’s 40th anniversary listening notes from 2021. Now these mixes are steaming.

When the band got together after a break (for a new year or a new tour), the joy of their reunion as an exploratory musical collective was often palpable and measurable in magic minutes. Early 1981 is one of those events, and these mixes focus on that jammier material.

Chicago - Uptown Theatre (February 26, 27, 28)

Three nights in 2.3 hours, featuring most of the big songs, with many instrumental edits to create long stretches of improvisational playing. 



Original post

Cleveland Music Hall (March 2)

A 3-part “Playin’ in the Band” edited into a single 24-minute track, with “Supplication” for dessert.


Original post

Pittsburgh - Stanley Theatre (March 5, 6)

Second set highlights from each night, totaling 108 minutes. The first night’s second set began with a 7-minute jam without Garcia, who was having equipment issues. Both “Wharf Rat” and “Stella Blue” were given involved instrumental introductions. 


Original post

University of Maryland - Cole Field House (March 7)

74 minutes of highlights, including a 17-minute “Bird Song,” a 9.5-minute jam, and several other extra-long treats.



Original post

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1935893 2023-02-01T15:26:39Z 2023-10-20T05:55:09Z The Grateful Dead: February 1973 Improvisational Highlights

This post offers a three-piece, chronological survey of improvisational Grateful Dead performances from their first seven shows of 1973 – February 9th to 24th – none of which have been officially released. Highlights of the last two shows of the month (2/26 & 2/28) were released as “Dick’s Picks, Vol. 28” (2003).

These are older Save Your Face mixes, but I am taking the opportunity to re-share them now that streaming options are available, in addition to the blog's traditional mp3 downloads.

February 1973 was rough going for nearly all the many new songs the band was learning on-stage that month, and old standards weren’t often particularly tight or exciting, compared to late 1972 or later 1973.

However, the improvisational band leapt into 1973 with a big grin on its face – continuing its rapid expansion into the spaces opened up by Pigpen’s departure from the stage in mid-1972. (He died in March 1973). “Like a steam locomotive, rolling down the track,” the Dead were constantly departing and arriving in this period. 

This mix is a dense collection of February’s more exploratory passages. I included full (sung) songs and made instrumental edits as I saw fit, in order to avoid anything that got in the way of the overall momentum and quality.

The two new-for-1973 songs that were on target, right out of the gate, were “Eyes of the World” and “China Doll.” Both are extensively documented on the mix. With “Eyes,” you can hear the band figuring out how to put the pieces together to create the the structured ’73-’74 jam. There’s no good execution of “Here Comes Sunshine” in the first seven shows of the year, but they nailed it musically once, and that performance flowed seamlessly into “China Cat,” so I took out the sung parts of “Sunshine.” (You’re welcome!)

February 9, 1973: Palo Alto CA (56 minutes)

  • PA: Wavy Gravy
  • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
  • Uncle John’s Band (instr. edit)
  • Playin’ in the Band (instr. edit)
  • Eyes of the World (1st time played) >
  • China Doll (1st time played)

Stream on Youtube

Stream on Archive

Read the original post and download here

February 15-19, 1973: Madison WI, St. Paul MN, Chicago IL (107 minutes)

  • Bertha (2/15)
  • Here Comes Sunshine (instr. edit) > China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider (2/17)
  • Not Fade Away > Goin’ Down the Road > Not Fade Away (2/17)
  • Dark Star (2/15)
  • He’s Gone (2/19)
  • The Other One  > Bass & Drums (edit 2/19)
  • Playin’ in the Band (2/15>2/17) > China Doll (2/15)
  • Birdsong (instr. edit 2/17)

Stream on Youtube

Stream on Archive

Read the original post and download here

February 21-24, 1973: Champaign Urbana IL, Iowa City IA (86 minutes)

  • Truckin’ > Bass & Drums (2/21) > 
  • Eyes of the World (2/21 > 2/22) >
  • China Doll (2/22)
  • Playin’ in the Band (2/22)
  • Dark Star (2/22) >
  • Space (2/22) >
  • Bass > Feelin’ Groovy Jam (2/24) >
  • Sugar Magnolia (2/24) 

Stream on Youtube

Stream on Archive

Read the original post and download here

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1929974 2023-01-17T02:56:53Z 2024-01-23T19:55:51Z Frank Zappa: Instrumental Works (1973-1975-ish)

This Spotify playlist is a shortcut for anyone who wants to explore the immediate sequel to 1970/1972 instrumental Zappa (e.g., “Hot Rats,” “Waka/Jawaka,” “The Grand Wazoo”).

The seven albums Zappa released in 1973 through mid-1978 contained almost no instrumental compositions/performances. This was the period when his vocal music found chart success and established his permanent reputation as a joke song guy (dental floss, yellow snow, STDs, etc.). 

However, Zappa's longstanding instrumental ambition, reawakened in 1972 on two studio albums and tours with 20- and 10-piece live units, continued through 1973-1975 and is highly rewarding. Zappa wrote and recorded many new instrumental compositions and re-arranged his old and recent oeuvre for varied ensembles, including a proper orchestral approach in 1975. 

Some of this recorded backlog would come out belatedly and confusedly (and almost all at once) on “Studio Tan,” “Sleep Dirt,” and “Orchestral Favorites,” from September 1978 through May 1979. To confuse things further, the jokey album “Sheik Yerbouti” - made up of much more recent recordings – would come out in the middle this backlog release schedule. Eventually, archive releases clarified and filled out the early-mid-1970s instrumental story. All Zappa releases and recordings are well-documented on Wikipedia, should you want to delve more deeply into musicians, recording dates, circumstances, and release history. 

ANYWAY, here’s a large Spotify playlist that isolates (nearly all of?) the now-released instrumental material mostly recorded/overdubbed circa 1973-1975:

  • It leads with the instrumentals Zappa included on “Lather,” a proposed four-LP set he compiled in 1977, but which he began conceiving and sequencing several years earlier, around earlier instrumental recordings. It included nearly all the 1973-1975-ish recordings that would later be sliced (by the label) into “Studio Tan” and “Sleep Dirt,” plus a few pieces included on the more comprehensive “Orchestral Favorites.” (It also included later, live vocal tracks, omitted here.)
  • Next up are most of the tracks from a 1973 archival live release of a short-lived, live ensemble that featured Jean-Luc Ponty (“Road Tapes Venue #2”). Nearly the whole set played by this band was instrumental. Zappa complained that the tour was boring because the band wanted to play chess on the tour bus. Counterpoint: Great music, compellingly-executed, via fresh arrangements of classic compositions.
  • Following that are a couple of stray instrumentals from vocal albums of the era – a testament to how rare those tracks were for a half-decade of 1970s releases. Located where they are in the Spotify playlist, because playback volume is increasing. 
  • And lastly, I’ve compiled the instrumental (and nearly so) material from the giant Halloween ’73 and complete Roxy ’73 archival boxed sets. These are performed by the band that immediately followed the Ponty unit and significantly overlapped its membership. The instrumentals from these shows were often the same compositions, but not always, and there are some individual mind-blowers among the repeated tunes. Find your own gold.

Instrumental Zappa over these few years was wildly heterogeneous and greater for that. The composer and bandleader were occupying this space half the time. I have left everything in the order it appeared on the releases used for this mix, aside from shunting 1973 rehearsals and soundcheck recordings to the end - a fascinating but separate trip. This playlist is an ocean, not a take.


I have deferred to Zappa’s 1977 curation by limiting the 1975 orchestral recordings to those he put on the “Lather” track list two years later. The 1975 Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra was a great trip in its own right, now documented by an expanded release (studio/live) that is well worth your while, and that is as important to me as the material in the main Spotify playlist. But I consider it a distinct trip.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1908127 2022-11-25T14:28:24Z 2024-03-03T19:38:40Z The Phil Lesh Quintet: The Planet Jams (June-July, 2001)

Over the course of a summer month in 2001, the Q played seven Lesh-composed instrumentals known as “The Planet Jams.” Each was performed only once.

On the phantasytour.com site, user Brinkdeers30 posted the following:

I interviewed Barraco a few years back and asked him about the Planet Jams Tour. This is what he said..

“Phil got this idea to honor the seven ancient planets. He wrote all of this incredible music and we decided to hire this guy, John Dwork, and have him have a vision of what this could be. Every show we were going to do one of these pieces that would be a special honoring and it would involve the audience and take place during the whole day. It was supposed to be this spectacular tour and somehow it imploded. What we were left with was this big circle Candace Brightman had built, you see them at dead shows... it's like a canvas with lighting.

Each day, we would come out on stage and see a symbol for one of the planets and we knew, that day we would be playing that specific music. But nobody in the audience was hip to what the f*** was going on. We were playing this crazy music but (the audience) didn't understand. In a way, I don't understand why we went through the motions without actually making it happen. It was so bizarre, but the music Phil wrote... Jimmy has said it many times, he said, 'That was the coolest s*** Phil ever wrote.' It was very deep and every single tune was different and really cool.

Phil is a great composer, he really is. This was written music, we actually had to read that s***. Phil's not the most prolific composer, but think about the body of his work, it's pretty impressive. Just think about "Box of Rain" and "Unbroken Chain" alone.

All of the music was very heady and different, but from the audience perspective, they didn't know what was going on. But it was cool for us, we dug it.”

The objective for this mix was to extract these pieces as cleanly as possible from the music that directly flowed into and out of them. They were almost all tightly sandwiched – one of them in the middle of Viola Lee Blues. So, I found the best starting place I could for each and faded all of them. Thank you to the audience tapers for their beautiful work. I’m sorry my files do not contain the info to credit all of them.

The band:

  • Phil Lesh
  • Warren Haynes
  • Jimmy Herring
  • Rob Barraco
  • John Molo

73-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Intrada > (7/28)
  • Saturn (7/28)
  • Luna (6/30)
  • Mars (7/22)
  • Comes a Time jam > Venus (7/17)
  • Sun (7/20)
  • Jupiter (7/26)
  • Mercury (7/6)

This mix is a sequel to the Save Your Face “PLQ Jazz 1" mix.  Posted here. Streaming here. Thank you to Josh Klay for introducing me to The Planet Jams and serving up the perfect concept for volume 2 of the series. 

Cover art: “Round,” Amaranth Ehrenhalt, 1961.   PLQ Jazz logo: John Hilgart & Ben Powers

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1901241 2022-11-09T15:05:30Z 2023-10-20T05:54:48Z Grateful Dead Shortlist: Merriweather Post Pavilion, Summer 1985

This mix curates the Dead’s unreleased June 30 - July 1 run in Columbia, Maryland. The soundboard mix is immaculate, and exceptional performances abound. 

The two shows are strong overall, and I’ve listened to them several times. However, as always, I think the best Dead minutes become even better, and a show’s stature greater, when you cut until you can’t bring yourself to cut anymore.

The only edits are segues to connect tracks toward the end of each of the two parts of the mix. There are crackles on a couple of songs that seem to be native to the sound boards. 

2.5-hour mp3 mix zipped up here (dates included in song titles)

Part One:

  • Shakedown Street >
  • Samson and Delilah
  • Walkin’ Blues
  • Big Railroad Blues
  • Looks Like Rain
  • My Brother Esau
  • Let It Grow
  • U.S. Blues
  • Sugar Magnolia

Part Two:

  • Scarlet Begonias >
  • Fire on the Mountain
  • Playin’ in the Band >
  • Uncle John’s Band
  • Drums > Space
  • The Other One
  • Good Lovin’
  • Satisfaction

Cover art: Framing photograph - JR Eyerman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images. Inset detail: Yayoi Kusama

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1867331 2022-08-16T02:08:56Z 2023-10-20T05:54:38Z Grateful Dead Improvisation 1972-1974

One of the most common inquiries I get is where to look for improv-only 1972-1974 Dead mixes on the Save Your Face mixtape blog. Here’s the shortest answer: There are lots of SYF mixes that focus on the jammy side of ’72-’74 Dead, but the mixes below focus on zones of pure, spontaneous creation, largely detached from any particular song.

This is improvisational music of the highest order, full of indelible moments of delicate intricacy, collective synchronicity, individual virtuosity, melodic forward-motion, and complete narrative arcs... in real time. To me, this is where the Grateful Dead planted a flag that no one in the rock and jazz categories can dispute or directly compete with.

Bookmark this page, and you'll have instant access to hours and hours of that kind of music.

Dark Starlets: Europe ’72

This mix offers two hours of non-spacey listening from all the Europe ’72 tour “Dark Stars.” It is not every cool passage from those performances, but it is an ongoing melodic adventure that highlights the earliest signs of the improvisational Dead that would follow Pigpen’s departure. While the Dark Star theme returns many times, there are also numerous pure improvisations beyond that theme.

Original post/download


Improvisation Vol. 1: 1973-1974

The original SYF “jazz years” improv mix, isolating 10 passages/74 minutes that are among the most revered “out of nowhere” playing from the era. Bits you surely know well, but carved out as stand-alone tracks that reveal the GD’s ability to create something amazing from nothing. Henry Kaiser approved this mix at some point. 

Original post/download


Improvisation Vol. 2: 1972-1974

Nine passages/96 minutes more of improvisation that has little or no relation to song-themes - while coming across as wholly-formed ideas. This mix compiles the best open passages I discovered over a year or so of listening to unreleased shows from the era. 

Original post/download


Theme from Summer of ’73 (The Phil Jazz Jam)

Sixteen tracks/67 minutes of Summer ’73 improv that slightly overlap the 72-74 mix above - again avoiding song themes for pure improv. Summer bliss circling around multiple takes of “The Phil Jazz Jam.”

Original post/download


Pouring Light into Jazzes: Drifty Dark Stars (1973-1974)

Nine passages/two hours focused on some of the most diffuse and open Dark Star zones of the era. It’s Dark Star, but it’s also infinity. A perfect sequel to the more structured, era-beginning “Dark Starlets” mix, above. 

Original post/download


The Mind Left Body Jam

The first "disc" of this multi-decade anthology complies the 1972-1974 performances of the theme.

Original post/download


The Spanish Jam

The second “disc” of this multi-decade anthology compiles the 1973-1974 performances of the theme.

Original post/download


Cover art: Luigi Serafini - detail from a page of "Pulcinellopaedia Seraphiniana"

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1856569 2022-07-18T14:35:11Z 2023-08-04T16:37:31Z Magazine: Live in Boston (August 4, 1979)

This is a customized remix of one of the best live documents of the classic Magazine lineup that included guitarist/composer/occasional-sax-player John McGeoch. By the time they toured in 1980, and recorded their live album “Play,” McGeoch was gone.

In addition to McGeoch’s presence, what I like about this recording/show is the aggressive crunch, which is lacking in nearly all of the (scant) other 1978-1979 recordings that exist in good fidelity. Instead of coming across as a mannered post-punk/proto-synth-band, they hit with the punch of punk - bass, guitar, keyboards, drums, and Howard Devoto all coming for your ears in equal measure. 

The Boston ’79 recording is probably not a complete set list, but it’s close. I’m guessing the ultimate source was an FM broadcast.

The proximate source of the version presented here is the early 1980s vinyl bootleg “Back to Nature,” which I believe remains the only source for the show. The raw LP contains quite a bit of distortion, but when I scrutinized it, I discovered that it was a mono recording, and that the distortion was almost entirely in one channel. 

The customized version presented here is therefore the clean vinyl channel doubled to two-channel mono for the digital rip, with some mild EQ applied. Without the noisy channel, the recording really stands up.

51-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • My Tulpa
  • Give Me Everything
  • Definitive Gaze
  • Back to Nature
  • Parade
  • Boredom
  • Permafrost
  • The Light Pours Out of Me
  • I Love You Big Dummy
  • Thank You
  • My Mind Ain’t So Open 

For the curious, I’ve compiled a Spotify playlist of 1978-1979 live performances of songs that do not appear on the Boston ’79 tape. The first three - released as 12-inch b-sides in 1980 (but recorded earlier) - are the sonic peak of available McGeogh-era recordings, including the definitive version of “20 Years Ago.” The additional tracks come from the other official sources, all of which I find less compelling than the Boston tape - but great to hear the extra songs live.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1846318 2022-06-24T14:23:17Z 2023-10-20T05:54:21Z Grateful Dead: 4th Day of July (1981, 1984, 1986)

Although there’s a lot of Americana and flag-stuff associated with the Grateful Dead, The 4th of July is not strongly associated with the band as a show date.

That’s because, after 1969, the Grateful Dead didn’t play on the 4th of July until 1981. They then played the date repeatedly through the Eighties – 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989 (released), and 1990 - and then, never again.

Deadheads put a lot of weight on the circumstances of shows - venues, cities, seasons, eclipses, New Year’s Eve, etc. So, let’s shake that magic 8-ball of tapes for the 4th of July… all signs point to a real good time.

It turns out the band played a considerable amount of great stuff on 7/4 in the 1980s, captured on soundboards you can inhabit happily. In the mixes below, I’ve curated the 1981, 1984, and 1986 shows, tagging them as separate mixes/albums in the usual SYF “shortlist” way.

Enjoy them separately, or as a 2.75 hour Grateful Dead, Fourth of July soundtrack. 

2.75-hour mp3 download of all three mixes here

7/4/81: Austin, TX (63 minutes)

  • Jack Straw
  • Loser
  • Birdsong >
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • Not Fade Away
  • One More Fourth of July

7/4/84: Cedar Rapids, IA (70 minutes)

  • Hell in a Bucket >
  • Don’t Ease Me In
  • Help on the Way > Slipknot! >
  • Franklin’s Tower
  • Estimated Prophet >
  • He’s Gone
  • Wharf Rat
  • U.S. Blues

7/4/86: Buffalo, NY (32 minutes)

  • Cold Rain and Snow >
  • Fire on the Mountain
  • The Wheel
  • Goin’ Down the Road, Feelin’ Bad
  • Dupree’s Diamond Blues


“>” above indicates an as-played, GD fast-change in the real-time performance, but not an actual musical segue, other than Help > Slip.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1843778 2022-06-18T22:17:53Z 2023-10-20T05:54:10Z The Other Ones: “Banyan Tree” (June-July 1998)

“Banyan Tree” is the most beguiling new song created by the initial lineup of The Other Ones - the first post-Garcia reunion band, which only performed in June-July 1998. 

  • Bob Weir - guitar, vocals
  • Phil Lesh - bass, vocals 
  • Mickey Hart - percussion, RAMU, vocals 
  • Bruce Hornsby - piano, keyboards, vocals 
  • Dave Ellis - saxophone, vocals 
  • Mark Karan - guitar, vocals 
  • Steve Kimock - guitar 
  • John Molo - drums

Credited to Hart, Hunter, and Weir, “Banyan Tree” is a sleepy, tropical groove, with a brief Hunter text that Weir narrates-sings. If you enjoy the jazzy Phil Lesh Quintet from the same period (overlapping musicians), you'll enjoy "Banyan." As one would expect, this first post-Garcia outing, just three years after his death, also has strong ties to the Grateful Dead sound - refracted through Diga Rhythm Band and post-"Eternity" Weir vibes. Though this tune is nothing like anything from the 1983 Stone House Sessions, it feels like kin. It could be an "Apocalypse Now" river journey. It's a cool addition to the Dead-legacy canon, and in the next iteration of the band, Kreutzmann was playing it as a new member. 

This mixtape knits together edits of three rehearsal takes from the beginning of June, 1998, ahead of the band’s first concerts. It’s a 40-minute, drifting ride, with monkeys.

On 6/2/98 at Club Front, the band stretches out in the groove for the first time, Hart turning on the beat out of a spacey passage and Weir eventually trying out his idea for the vocals. The next day (6/3), they work on bringing more shape to it and joining it to “Playin’ in the Band.” 

Some of the band’s chatter while playing remains in these edits. Weir: “Take it from the top!” Lesh: “Take what from the top?!” Someone improvises some arch vocal commentary, beginning with, “NPR’s world of music… morning becomes eclectic…” Weir: “More monkeys!”

I have appended a live version from July, by which time the song had become structured and muscular. (This is the only live non-audience version circulating that isn’t the one on the official album, “The Strange Remain.”)

48-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Banyan Tree (6/2/98 - studio, Club Front)
  • Banyan Tree > Playin’ Jam > Banyan Tree > Playin’ Jam (edit, 6/3/98 - studio, Club Front)
  • Banyan Tree > Playin’ Demise (edit, 6/3/98 - studio, Club Front)
  • Banyan Tree (7/25/98 - live, Shoreline)


The 6/2-3/1998 conversations on the Club Front Tapes offer a great, documentary perspective on Lesh, Weir, Hart, and Hornsby getting the band back together and working out songs. Check them out on Relisten or Archive. 

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1837328 2022-06-02T01:42:47Z 2024-01-21T20:32:50Z The Phil Lesh Quintet: Jazz Vol. 1 (2000-2001)

No Dead-related band, including the Grateful Dead, could turn on a dime like The Phil Lesh Quintet. They were a nimble jazz unit that happened to play Grateful Dead songs some of the time.

This mix curates the jazziest of their performances from the earliest months of their existence, using only the available soundboard tapes. There are a few brushes with Grateful Dead material, but most of the passages come from stretches of pure, twisting, improvisation. 

I’ve often fantasized about an alternate history of post-1975 Grateful Dead that sounded something like this.

You can’t easily, artificially splice PLQ passages together the way you can with the Grateful Dead live tapes. PLQ kept you spellbound until a logical and seamless shift into the next song, without wasting a single beat. I’ve therefore faded these passages, which is probably for the best, because it’s all intensely involving music, and an unbroken chain might be overwhelming.

Tracks span October 2000 through April 2001. They are all titled “Jam,” except for a few, including “Milestones,” “Help on the Way > Slipknot!,” and “Blues for Allah.” Performance dates are included in the song title tags. 

Thanks to Ben Powers for helping me bring the logo concept to the right destination. Cover art: Basquiat

2-LP set zipped up here (as mp3s)

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1830980 2022-05-19T01:57:30Z 2023-10-20T05:53:41Z Shortlist: Grateful Dead w/David Murray (2/26/95)

This mix curates 47 minutes of the Grateful Dead’s final performance with saxophonist David Murray as a guest.

This show was not represented on Save Your Face’s “Dead is Jazz” compilation, which included some fantastic, earlier Murray performances. That’s primarily because there is no ideal tape for this show. Murray is very quiet on the audience and soundboard tapes, and he is very loud on the circulating monitor mix. None of those options would have slotted into the “Dead is Jazz” mix smoothly.

However, the monitor mix is fab, in its own way, with Murray’s sax punching you in the face like Ornette Coleman. 

I’ve narrowed the focus to the vocal return/jam section of “Estimated,” an instrumental edit of “Eyes,” “Space,” and a “Days Between” that mostly succeeds (few/brief Garcia lyric lapses), with Murray figuring it out and delivering a great close. 

As there is a non-band-member memoir that claims that no one was listening to Vince in their monitors, I need to point out that about two minutes into this “Eyes” edit you’ll hear Garcia asking for Vince to be turned up. “I can’t hear Vince at all.” 

47-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Estimated Prophet > (edit)
  • Eyes of the World (instrumental edit)
  • Space
  • Days Between

Cover art: Robert Rauschenberg 

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1830496 2022-05-17T03:19:42Z 2023-10-20T05:53:31Z Shortlist: Dead & Company - New England, September 2021

Save Your Face makes its first foray into Dead & Company mixtape territory with the help of Josh Landes (@JoshLandesWAMC). Josh has been sharing choice D&C material with me for a while, and in this case, he served up a pre-curated, four-hour road-trip from the three September 2021 New England shows played in Mansfield, Massachusetts (9/2 - 9/3) and Hartford, Connecticut (9/5). 

I’m a fan without being anything remotely like an expert, so I limited my interventions to listening happily and fiddling with the sequence, based on gentle segue opportunities and some mood considerations. (I did nix one song – "Saint of Circumstance" - resulting in a jump cut out of "Lost Sailor.") My personal thoughts on Dead & Co. are below the track list.

Thank you, Josh!

4-hour mp3 mix zipped up here (song dates included in file titles)

  • Jack Straw
  • Playin’ in the Band >
  • The Wheel
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Sugaree
  • Lost Sailor
  • Deal >
  • Dark Star >
  • El Paso
  • He’s Gone
  • Truckin’ >
  • Dark Star
  • St. Stephen >
  • William Tell Bridge >
  • The Eleven
  • Terrapin Station
  • Drums >
  • Space >
  • The Other One >
  • Morning Dew

Cover art by Johnny Gruelle.

John’s Comments:

I don’t know why people get so worked up - in a negative way - about this band. Ain’t no time to hate.

I never spent any time with post-1995, Dead-member-involved bands while they were active, though I’ve checked them all out subsequently. I remain pretty ignorant, based on total hours logged, but all those bands have paid off for me in greater and lesser degrees. Or maybe the better way to say it is that there’s always an arrangement or a jam that’s going to turn my head. Good musicians who are familiar with each other are always going to make some delightful, distinctive music.

One of my limitations is that I’m not that into Grateful Dead covers, and the ones that please me most are the ones that are farthest from what Garcia Dead played. Dead member legacy and Dead tribute bands are therefore not a big draw for me. 

However, I feel nothing but respect for every human who has experienced transcendence at any Dead-related live show since 1995. I had multiple ecstatic events and massive amounts of overall scene delight when I saw the Dead 1988-1993, and that was very late in the game by anyone’s measure. 

Now it’s 30 years later, and the kids still dance and shake their bones. Ain’t no time to hate.

What I like best about Dead & Company are the jammy spaces, where fidelity to the traditional song gives way to the band being itself, doing what comes naturally in the improvisational zones. This mix has plenty of those zones, sometimes cropping up in places you wouldn’t expect, if the track list were from a Grateful Dead run.

I am not immune to the “Dead and Slow” complaint, but I’d also say that I don’t have a problem with the tempo of any given song. A tempo change is a great way to explore a song, if it works. Nonetheless, I understand why people struggle with this aspect of the band.

Which is all the more reason to slant a Dead & Company mix in the way Josh Landes has here, ensuring a good balance of song-parts and improvisational zones – tempo being irrelevant to improvisational zones. I've endeavored to use the lead-off sequencing to recalibrate your Grateful Dead tempos to Dead & Co.'s vibe, in the hope that you can ride that vibe happily. 

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1825141 2022-05-01T03:41:32Z 2023-10-20T05:53:25Z Faust for Beginners: Pastoral (1971-1975)

Get lost in an album’s worth of melancholy beauty from the early-1970s German band Faust – better known for its whimsy, chaos, progressive grooves, and metallic dub slabs. 

Faust was many bands at once, and their albums insisted on keeping them mixed up.

This mix pulls their most gorgeous recordings together into the Faustian equivalent of the 3rd Velvet Underground album.

Most of the band's music was created in an old schoolhouse in rural Wumme, Germany, which doubled as studio and home. The engineer the record label sent turned out to be Faust's perfect George Martin - genius Kurt Graupner.

The band's melancholy side matches the pastoral recording setting and seems to have been defined by Rudolf Sosna, who wrote, sang, played guitar and keyboard, and was involved in the mixing/production that achieved the atmospheres you'll find on this mix. 

49-minute mp3 mix zipped up here. (Source information and alternate titles included in song title tags.)

  • Hermann’s Lament >
  • I’ve Heard That One Before
  • Jennifer (alt mix)
  • Rudolf Der Pianist >
  • Party 8
  • Purzelbaum Mit Anschubsen >
  • Chère Chambre
  • Läuft ... Heisst... (alt mix) >
  • On The Way To Abamäe 
  • Flashback Caruso
  • Das Meer (full length)
  • Lampe An, Tür Zu, Leute Rein! >
  • Schön Rund
  • Rémaj7

Editing Notes:

• No internal edits of tracks.

• Starts and ends cleaned up in some cases.

• Several segues added, as noted by “>,” above.

• Volume equalized to match “The Wumme Years” boxed set, the baseline master I recognize for the bulk of Faust’s catalogue. (“Das Meer” volume adjusted in various ways.) Sources are that box, the 2006 “IV” expanded reissue, and the 2021 box including extra material.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1814630 2022-04-04T03:56:54Z 2023-10-20T05:53:14Z Grateful Dead Shortlist: Shoreline 1991 (August 16-18)

This unreleased run featured a 1st set “Dark Star,” a 2nd set “Feel Like a Stranger”-into-drums, a robust “Playin’ Jam” out of Space, and a “Scarlet > Victim > Fire” combo with all songs and transitions in full working order. Frisky! Feisty! Tight!

I consider the tracks I've included to be truly outstanding Grateful Dead, recorded beautifully. At this point, the band was about a year into the Hornsby/Welnick era and seven months away from Hornsby’s departure. A version of the Dead in its prime.

I cut quite a bit of very good stuff, because the best performances made very good not enough. There were also several tragic vocal fumbles that took some otherwise great takes out of the race.

Although the soundboard mixes were screwy in several places during this run, they are fantastic on all the material compiled here. A particular feature is the combination of very present singers and a very present vocal mix. Garcia/Hornsby musical dialogues are also foregrounded in a few places. Though I’m a Vince defender, his keyboards are minimized in these selections, so you get something akin to a Hornsby-only Dead.

I’ve made some artificial segues to create continuities across non-consecutively-played tracks. The “>” below represent as-played musical links and one adept pause-and-relaunch (Fire’s conclusion into Truckin’s start). The "(>)" below show where I've created a hinge.

Cover art: Victor Moscoso

2.5-hour mp3 mix zipped up here (dates included in the mp3 tags)

Disc One (70 minutes):

  • Feel Like a Stranger (>)
  • Samson and Delilah
  • West LA Fadeaway
  • Bertha
  • Scarlet Begonias >
  • Victim or the Crime >
  • Fire on the Mountain >
  • Truckin’

Disc Two (78 minutes):

  • Smokestack Lighting >
  • He’s Gone >
  • Jam
  • Dark Star
  • Improvisation (space excerpt) (>)
  • Playin’ in the Band (out of space jam > reprise) (>)
  • China Doll (>)
  • Dark Star Jam >
  • Morning Dew
  • Improvisation (space excerpt)
John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1786844 2022-01-24T05:15:56Z 2023-10-20T05:52:19Z Grateful Dead: 30 Days of Dead - 1983

This mix includes every 1983 Dead track Dave Lemieux chose for the 2010-2021 “30 Days of Dead” releases. There have been a notable number of full-show, 1983 releases in this period, but these tracks are not on them.

Dave has served up a delicious 100-minute selection – something like a giant first set with a deeper dive. I wasn’t shy about leading off with 1983’s most notable breakout, setting the whole in motion as an impossible, but desirable trip.

These tracks are a reminder that among all the sterile, poorly-mixed early-80s soundboards, there are scores of tapes that are as beefy and immersible as those from any year, allowing the Dead of the era to make their case on even terms.

100-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • St. Stephen (10/15/83)
  • Bertha >
  • Greatest Story Ever Told (12/30/83)
  • Sugaree (10/17/83)
  • My Brother Esau (4/10/83)
  • Dupree’s Diamond Blues (4/19/83)
  • Jack Straw (3/26/83)
  • Far From Me (4/13/83)
  • Might as Well (4/10/83)
  • Cassidy (8/31/83)
  • To Lay Me Down (10/17/83)
  • Playin’ in the Band >
  • China Doll >
  • Playin’ Jam > Jam (8/31/83)
  • Don’t Ease Me In (8/31/83)

Editing notes:

Everything is volume equalized. I found numerous places to add gentle segues. I addressed a dramatic volume shift in “Jack Straw” and a tape gap in “Bertha.”

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1785382 2022-01-20T04:01:46Z 2023-10-20T05:52:13Z Grateful Dead: 30 Days of Dead - 1985

This mix includes all but two 1985 tracks released on “30 Days of Dead” (2010-2021). The omitted tracks are the 6/24/85 “Brother Esau,” released on “30 Trips,” and the 9/3/85 “Don’t Ease Me In,” cut to avoid song repetition.

Two 1985 concerts have been released in full: 6/24/85 on “30 Trips” and 11/1/85 as a “Dick’s Picks.”

There’s lot of 1985 fun to be had, when the band and soundboard recordings converge correctly. They do here - where Dave Lemieux has micro-curated four unreleased shows.

78-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Feel Like a Stranger (9/3/85)
  • They Love Each Other (9/3/85)
  • The Music Never Stopped (9/3/85)
  • Hell in a Bucket > (6/27/85)
  • Don’t Ease Me In (6/27/85)
  • Lost Sailor > Saint of Circumstance > (4/4/85)
  • Deal (4/4/85)
  • Estimated Prophet > (6/28/85)
  • Terrapin Station (6/28/85)

Aside from the two track-omissions noted above, the only editorial interventions were track start-and-end points, volume equalization, and sequencing.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1783657 2022-01-16T03:57:44Z 2023-10-20T05:52:09Z Grateful Dead: 30 Days of Dead - 1970 Selections

This mix includes most of Dave Lemieux’s 1970 selections for the first twelve years of “30 Days of Dead” (2010-2021). Dave’s plucks provide a vivid take on the emergent, post-psychedelic band (acoustic and electric), as well as tracking the evolution of the jam songs that originated further back.

I have sequenced, volume-equalized, and established start/end-points, based on the raw “30 Days” tracks.

2.5-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

Disc One: New Stuff (75 minutes)

  • Friend of the Devil (6/7/70)
  • Little Sadie (2/23/70)
  • Candyman (5/1/70)
  • Uncle John’s Band (3/1/70)
  • I Know You Rider (5/1/70)
  • New Speedway Boogie (6/7/70)
  • Dire Wolf (12/31/70)
  • Cumberland Blues (2/11/70)
  • Black Peter (2/11/70)
  • Easy Wind (1/6/70) [WMD bonus track, 2001]
  • Mason’s Children (1/10/70)
  • Operator (9/18/70)
  • Attics of My Life (12/27/70)

Disc Two: Oldies (76 minutes)

  • Cold Rain and Snow (12/28/70)
  • New Minglewood Blues (12/26/70)
  • Cryptical Envelopment > The Other One > (6/7/70)
  • The Main Ten (6/7/70)
  • Dark Star (2/14/70) [Long Strange Trip track, 2017]
  • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider (2/1/70)

Inclusions and Exclusions:

  • I omitted one track that subsequently appeared on a Dave’s Picks.
  • I included two tracks that subsequently appeared as strays on later releases (see track list annotations, above). The 2/14 “Dark Star” is a great performance that fell through the cracks of both “Bear’s Choice” and “Dick’s Picks Vol. 4.” Cool that it was featured on “Long Strange Trip.”
  • I chose one “Friend of the Devil” from three Dave included in the “30 Days” series – the one Dave chose to include in three different years!
  • I chose the slow, 3/1/70, “Uncle John’s Band” over the two, additional fast ones from “30 Days” (2/11 and 5/1).
  • I chose the crispy, vocal-proper 2/11/70 “Cumberland Blues” over the somewhat murkier singing of 12/31/70.

Art: Marshall Frantz

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1782115 2022-01-12T02:04:12Z 2023-10-20T05:52:04Z Grateful Dead: 30 Days of Dead - Fall 1973

This mix brings together most of the September-December 1973 Dead performances that have been released exclusively via “30 Days of Dead” (2010-2021), as of January 2022.

Official Dead curator Dave Lemieux has used the annual, November event to pluck extraordinary, individual Dead performances from shows the haven’t been released in full and perhaps never will be. 

The Fall ’73 selections combine into a mighty set.

105-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Weather Report Suite (11/23/73)
  • Let Me Sing Your Blues Away (9/17/73)
  • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider (9/24/73)
  • Playin’ in the Band (11/25/73)
  • Dark Star > Mind Left Body > Dark Star >
  • Feedback Chaos > 
  • Eyes of the World > 
  • Stella Blue (10/25/73)
  • Ramble of Rose (12/19/73)

What was omitted:

  • Tracks that were subsequently released on whole-show/road trip/etc. albums (as of January 2022).
  • The 12/8/73 “Weather Report,” cut in favor of this 11/23/73 version, which is sonically-beefy on the bottom end and has extremely well-performed and mixed vocals.
  • The 10/23/73 “Black Throated Wind,” which has a weird mix that highlights Keith’s exciting keyboard part, but which isn’t repeat-listen/album-worthy as a recording.

Cover art: Leo Morey

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1781694 2022-01-10T22:13:48Z 2023-10-20T05:52:00Z Grateful Dead: 30 Days of Dead - 1994 Selections

Official Dead curator Dave Lemieux has used the annual “30 Days of Dead” event to highlight and release extraordinary, individual Dead performances from shows the haven’t been released in full and perhaps never will be.

This mix melds Dave’s big-jam selections from 1994 into a single, volume-equalized, segued, trip. “Eyes of the World” appeared twice in Dave’s 1994 picks, and I chose to omit the 7/3/94 version that preceded this “Fire on the Mountain.”

Only one 1994 show has been released in full (10/1/94), on the “30 Trips Around the Sun” box. This mix provides a more concentrated Lemieux-curated case for 1994 being great - a take that I wholeheartedly agree with. 

mp3 mix zipped up here 

  • Feel Like a Stranger (10/19/94)
  • Shakedown Street (10/15/94)
  • Playin’ in the Band > (10/05/94)
  • Uncle John’s Band > Jam (10/05/94)
  • Saint of Circumstance (09/19/94)
  • Victim or the Crime > (06/26/94)
  • Eyes of the World (06/26/94)
  • Fire on the Mountain (07/03/94)

Art by Leo Morey

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1776518 2021-12-28T15:43:58Z 2023-01-08T21:01:44Z Joy Division: The Rarest Studio Outtakes

As far as I can tell, the four tracks provided here continue to be the hardest Joy Division studio outtakes to find. While certainly not essential for the casual/moderate fan, they will scratch the completist's itch.

You will need these four tracks to complete the studio recording jigsaw puzzle, all the other pieces of which are provided by:

  • The releases from the band’s active period (proper albums, “Still,” singles/b-sides)
  • The semi-official bootleg, “Warsaw”
  • The official boxed set, “Heart and Soul” 
  • The official BBC Sessions

Four tracks zipped up here

  • Atrocity Exhibition (June 4, 1979 - Piccadilly Radio Session)
  • Digital (March 4, 1979 - Eden Studios, Genetic Records demo)
  • Novelty (mid-July, 1979 - Central Sound Studios)
  • Transmission (mid-July, 1979 - Central Sound Studios)

If you’re looking for curated live Joy Division, try this collection.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1775649 2021-12-26T02:54:32Z 2023-01-08T20:29:31Z Echo & The Bunnymen: The Happy Loss (alts, 1982-1983)

This is an LP-length, Spotify mix that curates non-album material from the period of “Heaven Up Here” and “Porcupine.” The idea is to create a concise companion to those albums – the best b-sides and the most interesting alternate versions of album songs. 

This was the period when the young Bunnymen quartet was peaking at doing what came naturally, ahead of the greater circumspection/confection/long-term-template of “Ocean Rain” (1984) and beyond. It’s hard not to love the moment when a fixed group of musicians figures out how far it can take doing what comes naturally.

Though produced under very different biographical/developmental circumstances, the second and third Bunnymen albums fell together at the time and still do. This mix blurs their alternative edges into one trip.

Forty years on, the attempted, at-the-time, critical anatomization of Bunnymen music into psychedelic, proto-goth, post-punk-Doors, etc., categories makes sense and isn’t relevant anymore. There was nothing like the original Bunnymen recipe, nor will there ever be. 

Spotify Playlist

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1762067 2021-11-21T19:28:13Z 2023-10-20T05:51:42Z Grateful Dead: Victim or the Crime Jam (1989-1991)

This mix presents an hour of vocal-free “Victim or the Crime” jams. 

I want to call “Victim” the Dead’s “Sister Ray” – a chugging, ecstatic, downer groove that pounds, drones, gets quiet, freaks out, dissolves, reforms, etc. Stringing 10 performances together does the same thing on a larger scale.

Resistance is futile. PLAY IT LOUD.

53-minute mp3 mix here

The sequence:

  • 1991-09-25
  • 1990-07-12
  • 1991-09-13
  • 1991-06-19
  • 1991-03-21
  • 1990-02-27
  • 1990-07-04
  • 1990-05-06
  • 1990-04-01
  • 1989-12-31

Note on selections:

I asked twitter for suggestions of good versions, and the responses mostly guided this mix, augmented with some poking around of my own. The mix doesn’t reflect a comprehensive review of all versions from the period covered. The date range bridges the 1990 keyboard player changeover without diverging in character very much. I’m also a fan of the 1993-1994 approach, which is quite different.

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1759129 2021-11-13T21:28:22Z 2023-09-17T15:07:01Z Jon Hassell: Actual Musics (Live 1981-2006)

I discovered Jon Hassell’s music in the Fall of 1983, soon after I arrived in Ann Arbor for college. Schoolkids Records had all the EG label “ambient” albums in their cut-out bin for three or four bucks each. In addition to finding out what Eno and Fripp were doing outside of rock and roll, I heard Harold Budd and Jon Hassell for the first time. 

This short mix draws from several of the live Hassell bootlegs I happen to have. It’s my audio argument in support of an expansive, official, live release program.

You can support that goal by contributing to this official fund dedicated to preserving and releasing Jon Hassell's archives. I hope you'll donate, if you enjoy this sampler of unreleased music.

I started with the intention of including one excerpt from every tape I had, but I ended up pruning and adding tracks in pursuit of a more aesthetically satisfying double-LP experience.

The mix's mp3 song title tags provide details in this format:

Charm (Live 1981-11-13 Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario (Hassell, Eno, Brook, Dieng))

92-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Nice 3 (1998)
  • Nice 1 (1998)
  • Berlin 8 (1988)
  • Nice 5 (1998)
  • Missing You (2006)
  • Charm (1981)
  • Courage > Dream Theory (1982)
  • The Elephant and the Orchid (1985)

John Hilgart @4CPcomics
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1757368 2021-11-09T16:02:48Z 2023-10-20T05:49:39Z The Grateful Dead: Europe 1990 (London October 30 - November 1)

This mix curates material from the final three shows of the Dead’s Europe ’90 tour, at London’s Wembley Arena.

The final night - 11/1 - was a particularly strong performance. Unfortunately, Jerry’s voice was ragged at the end of the tour and was completely shot for the middle show, Halloween. I skipped everything with that problem.

The mix features 66 minutes from 11/1, 45 minutes from 10/30, and an instrumental edit of Halloween’s Bird Song (which extends the Dark Starriness). Some fortuitous segues enabled me to make the second set flow continuously.

2-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

Set One:

  • Cold Rain and Snow
  • Cassidy
  • Valley Road
  • Picasso Moon
  • Let It Grow >
  • Interlude
  • Stander on the Mountain

Set Two:

  • Terrapin Station
  • Victim or the Crime
  • Bird Song (instr. edit)
  • Playin’ in the Band >
  • Dark Star >
  • Interlude >
  • Dark Star >
  • Weirdness >
  • Playin’ in the Band
John Hilgart @4CPcomics