Grateful Dead: 1982 Summer Tour Mixtape #2 (Sing Me Sweet & Sleepy)

This 2-LP-length mix gathers together wonderful Summer ’82 takes on the Grateful Dead’s subtler, slower, prettier songs. The band was tight, the singers were in strong voice, and the soundboard mixes put it all together very nicely. 

It’s a great moment to check in on these songs and on the band’s capacity for beauty and nuance in the early 1980s.

In performance, these songs were flanked by utterly different material and vibes - bombast on all sides. On this mix, birds of a similar feather get to vibe together. 

When you pull aside an artist’s gentler material, the dynamic range of that material expands to fill the listening universe. But even without that effect, I wouldn’t call the material on this mix “mellow,” by any measure. It is tremendously muscular music, thanks to the combination of snug grooves, well-narrated tales, synchronized turns, fine detailing, and good soundboard mixes.

I’ve arranged things to provide an accelerated first-set > second-set arc (without consideration for where the songs appeared in the actual shows).

This is the second of five mixtapes drawn from the tour, which I’m numbering and posting in no particular order. Each tries to provide a different angle on the music. With exceptions for “Playin’” and “The Other One,” no songs are repeated. They’ll collect under the blog tag GD Summer ’82. Please don’t complain until all five mixes have posted.

102-minute mp3 mix zipped up here (dates and venues included in mp3 tags)

  • Improv: Jerry’s Whimsy (Austin)
  • To Lay Me Down
  • Althea
  • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
  • Black Peter
  • Peggy-O
  • Row Jimmy
  • Looks Like Rain
  • Friend of the Devil
  • Bird Song
  • Improv: Jerry’s Whimsy (Red Rocks)
  • Improv > The Wheel
  • Lost Sailor >
  • Saint of Circumstance

Grateful Dead: 1982 Summer Tour Mixtape #1 (Skullfu*k Revisited)

This 2-LP-length mix approximates 1971’s “Skull and Roses” album using selections from the Grateful Dead’s 1982 Summer Tour. Substitutions have been made to round out the affect/effect and anomalies included to honor some as-performed continuities. 

The 1982 Summer Tour was very strong, and the soundboard mixes are mostly quite satisfying, though their ambiance varies. (I skipped one audience-only show and one soundboard-sounds-weird show - both Red Rocks at the start of the tour.)

This is the first of five mixtapes drawn from the tour, which I’m numbering and posting in no particular order. Each tries to provide a different angle on the music. With exceptions for “Playin’” and “The Other One,” no songs are repeated across the mixes. They’ll collect under the blog tag GD Summer ’82. Please don’t complain until all five mixes have posted.

For this mix, the basic Skullfu*k recipe holds: half a crackling, short-song, high-on-cocaine, rock-and-roll-cowboy album, and half a deeper dive into more expansive territory. 

97-minute mp3 mix zipped up here (dates and venues included in song tags)

  • On the Road Again
  • Mama Tried
  • Big Railroad Blues
  • It’s All Over Now (I Used to Love Her)
  • Me & My Uncle
  • I Need a Miracle >
  • Bertha
  • Don’t Ease Me In
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Jam > The Other One >
  • Not Fade Away
  • Wharf Rat
  • Goin’ Down the Road, Feelin’ Bad
  • Johnny B. Goode
  • Satisfaction >
  • Brokedown Palace

Cover art: Hilgart, a high-resolution scan of a detail of a classic comic book ad, channel-shifted.

Grateful Dead: Alpine Valley ’88 (6/23/1988)

This mix presents 74 minutes from the fourth and final show of the ’88 Alpine Valley run. It was the best of the four and is the only one with a good soundboard. 

These were the first shows I attended. Spread over five days, during a heat wave and drought, in the middle of nowhere, it was a massive tribal experience of the first order. I’d see better shows later, but I never experienced anything like this scene again.

The big deal of this show is the tremendous “Morning Dew.” I'm no "Hey Pocky Way" expert, but this is instantly my favorite version, with Brent on fire and the mix doing all the right things. The drummers are too thumpy on "Roses," but it's a pleasing version of a song that was uncommon in the later years.

I’ve struggled to get into 1988 via tapes, but the sweet spots of this show have given me a foothold. 

74-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Iko Iko
  • Hey Pocky Way
  • It Must Have Been the Roses
  • Bird Song
  • He’s Gone
  • Gimme Some Lovin’ >
  • All Along the Watchtower >
  • Morning Dew
  • Believe it or Not
  • Brokedown Palace

Grateful Dead: U. Maryland ’81 Jams (March 7)

This mix compiles the extensive jammy material from the Dead’s Spring ’81 Cole Field House show. Check out the track list and timings to get a sense of what’s special about this show. Jesse Jarnow breaks it down here.

The source is Barry Glassberg’s excellent audience tape. I have added gentle segues to connect Bird Song to Lost Sailor and Jam to Truckin’, so the only pause is between Black Peter and Deal. Songs are in as-played order, except for the placement of Deal as the big finale.

73-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Bird Song (17:08)
  • Lost Sailor > (6:10)
  • Saint of Circumstance > (9:20)
  • Jam (9:27)
  • Truckin’ > (11:39)
  • Black Peter (9:16)
  • Deal (10:04)

Grateful Dead: Pittsburgh ’81 Jams (March 5 & 6)

Try out the best seat in Pittsburgh’s Stanley Theatre with Frank Streeter’s glorious tapes of two nights in 1981.

This mix curates and edits material from the second set of each show, preserving the real segues and creating a couple of imaginary ones. (“>”in the track list, below, indicates a real one.)

My 40th anniversary, on-this-day, listening guide to 1981 is Jesse Jarnow, via his @bourgwick show-by-show histories and listening notes – for 3/5 here and for 3/6 here.

108-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

March 5th (64 minutes):

  • Jam (w/o Garcia) >
  • Passenger
  • Scarlet Begonias Jam >
  • Fire on the Mountain
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Not Fade Away >
  • Intro Jam > Wharf Rat

March 6th (44 minutes):

  • Estimated Prophet (edit) >
  • Franklin’s Tower
  • Spacey Improv >
  • The Other One >
  • Intro Jam > Stella Blue (edit)

Grateful Dead: Playin’ in the Band (March 2, 1981 Cleveland)

Here’s a 24-minute 1981 “Playin’ in the Band” jam to fight your favorite 1974 version.

I’ve edited the epic, unreleased, 3-part, 3/2/81, Cleveland performance into a continuous, instrumental event that includes the relevant passage from space. (“China Doll” and drums broke up the performance.) This was the first “Playin’” of the year.

 A longish, spicy, instrumental edit of  “Supplication” is the encore. I’d hoped to weave it into the “Playin’” sequence, but it didn’t work. Still, a logical pairing with “Playin’."

Half-hour, mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Playin’ in the Band (3-parts + space instrumental edit) (23:35)
  • Supplication (instrumental edit) (4:50)

Cover image: Detail of Nora Hilgart-Griff photograph

Grateful Dead Shortlist: Uptown ’81 Jams (Chicago, Feb. 26-28)

This mix curates improvisational material from the Dead’s first shows of 1981, at the Uptown Theatre in Chicago. The band and the mix are crackling.

I’ve edited large swaths of the music into instrumental versions. One reason is Garcia’s exceptionally weird, small voice. The other is that I like to make instrumental edits for every era/year. 

Instrumental edits eliminate the distractions of song-tightness and vocal quality altogether, leaving only the pure playing. As an improv-head, listening to vocal-free Dead has made me an advocate of nearly every year in the band’s history. 

The band certainly played a lot of exciting and surprising minutes of music at the Uptown Theatre in February 1981. I’d never heard these performances, but Jesse Jarnow’s @bourgwick show-by-blow account persuaded me to baste in them on their 40th anniversaries and to pay particular attention to the material on this mix.

The first set includes unedited vocal performances, plus one big, stand-alone jam. The second set is all-instrumental, except for “Not Fade Away” and “The Other One.”

2h20m mp3 mix zipped up here (dates included in song title tags)

Set One (65 minutes):

  • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
  • Bird Song
  • Truckin’
  • Jam
  • Let It Grow >
  • Deal

Set Two (75 minutes):

  • Scarlet Begonias (instr. edit) >
  • Fire on the Mountain (instr. edit) >
  • Estimated Prophet Intro & Jam >
  • Eyes of the World (instr. edit)
  • Drums > Space > 
  • Quiet Improvisation >
  • Not Fade Away >
  • Wharf Rat (instr. edit)
  • Terrapin Station (instr. edit) >
  • Jam
  • Quiet Improvisation >
  • The Other One

Cover artist: unknown

Grateful Dead: Supplication Jam 1985-1986

From Spring 1985 to Spring 1986, the Supplication jam was set free. Without the complications of Lazy Lightning or the need to land the jam at the Supplication vocals, the band enjoyed themselves thoroughly. The missing melodies crop up and here and there, as part of the jammy fabric. 

This mix compiles the period’s eight full-blown performances, which are individually and collectively an outstanding demonstration of 1980s Dead. 

I’ve used fades rather than attempting fake segues, because the band worked hard at landing or crashing the jam into all sorts of songs – Promised Land, Esau, Might as Well, Let It Grow, Don’t Need Love, Playin’ Jam. 

Those songs are beyond the scope of this mix (except Playin' Jam!), but I’ve left in the interesting transitions and faded them just before the next song bursts into full existence.

43-minute, 8-track, mp3 mix zipped up here (all dates included in tags)

Grateful Dead: Formerly The Warlocks (1981-1985)

This mix attempts to find a good setting for the early ‘80s rarities “Dark Star,” “St. Stephen,” “That’s It for The Other One,” and “The Eleven” jam. I decided to flesh it out with other songs that featured in the band’s 1969 sets, with one outlier. 

The earliest track is December 1981 and the latest November 1985. During this period, the band played “Dark Star” twice (’81 and ’84), “St. Stephen” three times (October ’83), “Cryptical Envelopment” five times (1985), and an “Eleven” jam once. Some performances were slipshod, and most are in shows that aren’t particularly great in whole.

Nonetheless, there is plenty to love in the music and in joining the audience as it responds to the sudden appearances of these rare, loved songs.

The mix combines soundboard, matrix, and audience tapes – whatever version of my pick I thought put the performance across. Sequencing does an okay job of gently shifting you among the various ambiances. Some parts of the sequence offered nice opportunities for fake segues. (In the song list, below, “>” indicates a real, as-performed segue.)

Many thanks to twitter Deadheads and Heady Versions users for providing great leads on some of the supporting songs. Several of these selections have been released or have appeared on previous SYF mixes.

The mp3 files are tagged with date and source tape info for each track. 

But don’t worry about those details now. Just imagine that this was a legendary, early ‘80s second set, click download, and strap yourself in.

2-hour mp3 mixtape zipped up here

  • Cold Rain and Snow
  • Dancin’ in the Street
  • Jam >
  • Not Fade Away
  • Dark Star
  • The Eleven Jam
  • That’s It for the Other One >
  • Comes a Time >
  • That’s It for the Other One
  • Jam >
  • St. Stephen
  • Dark Star
  • Space >
  • Morning Dew
  • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

Artwork by L.B. Cole.

Brent Mydland (Featuring The Grateful Dead)

Possibly the best way to enjoy the compositions that Brent Mydland wrote and sang for The Grateful Dead is all by themselves. Pretend the band joined a solo artist to provide backing for a mid-80s album of his songs. An extended, soulful ride on an emotional rollercoaster. 

I didn’t struggle too hard picking versions, since there are lots of good ones for most songs. Some are released. 

68-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Just a Little Light (3/26/90)
  • Far from Me (7/12/89)
  • Easy to Love You (3/22/90)
  • Never Trust a Woman (10/16/89)
  • Tons of Steel (4/8/85)
  • Revolutionary Hamstrung Blues (3/27/86)
  • Don’t Need Love (11/5/85)
  • Gentlemen, Start Your Engines (7/31/88)
  • Maybe You Know (4/20/83)
  • Blow Away (3/26/90)
  • We Can Run (9/29/89)
  • I Will Take You Home (6/88)

I think this includes every song Mydland wrote or co-wrote - and sang.

Caveat: "Far from Me" and "Easy to Love You" somehow got switched in the running order. The emotional energy works much better Easy > Far. I recommend you swap 'em.