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

Grateful Dead: Mind Left Body Jam (1972-1993)

This mix compiles 18 versions of the Grateful Dead’s “Mind Left Body” jam from 1972-1974 – plus an appendix of 12 later manifestations (1975-1993). These eras are presented as separate mixes.

(This is version two of the mix, including volume and EQ improvements on four tracks.)

1972-1974 MLB MVP goes to Billy. If you could isolate his drums, you would find so many killer samples.

All performances are provided complete. I created jump cuts in some places, but those are at or after the moment when the theme vanished from the jam. (Preferable to constantly fading out as some other theme begins.)

I created sequences for each disc that help create a listening experience with some coherence and flow. Every MLB had its own tempo, vibe, and attack - bursting or emerging out of somewhere else, on its way to somewhere else.

You can also sort all tracks chronologically. The song title format of the mp3 files is: “MLB (YY/MM/DD).” Chronological isn't an ideal, continuous listening experience, IMO, but it enables you to use the mix as an audio reference work.

The standard written reference work on “Mind Left Body” is here. Worth reading all the way to the bottom! I believe I checked out every version noted in the post, and I only omitted the ones that are barely there.

While it is true that most of the post-1974 performances aren’t full MLB Jams, by early Seventies standards, they also have the benefit of doing different things with those four chords. The 12/30/83 > 10/20/84 > 11/29/81 sequence combines into a pretty thrilling jam, for any era, with MLB cropping up in interesting ways.

Two-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

Disc One: 1972-1974 (63 minutes)

  • MLB (6/28/74)
  • MLB (5/12/74)
  • MLB (11/20/73)
  • MLB (10/17/74)
  • MLB (5/19/74)
  • MLB (6/16/74)
  • MLB (9/14/74)
  • MLB (4/8/72 w/other themes)
  • MLB (12/2/73)
  • MLB (9/21/73)
  • MLB (12/18/73)
  • MLB (11/11/73)
  • MLB (10/25/73)
  • MLB (10/19/73)
  • MLB (7/31/74)
  • MLB (10/30/73)
  • MLB (9/21/72 w/other themes)
  • MLB (3/5/72 inside “Good Lovin’”)

Disc Two: 1975-1993 (44 minutes)

  • MLB (10/18/78 - w/“Mojo" licks)
  • MLB (12/30/83)
  • MLB (10/20/84 - w/other themes)
  • MLB (11/29/81 - w/other themes)
  • MLB (2/28/75 - “Music Never Stopped” rehearsal)
  • MLB (7/16/90)
  • MLB (3/24/90 - “Mud Love Buddy”)
  • MLB (6/8/92 - out of “Corrina”)
  • MLB (3/10/93)
  • MLB (3/10/85 - AUD)
  • MLB (6/4/83 - AUD)
  • MLB (9/6/79)

Grateful Dead: Scarlet > Fire 1981

Here’s a 52-minute slice of 1981 “Scarlet > Fire,” comprising three unreleased performances. The mighty 3/10/81 MSG version is presented in full. Two more are presented as instrumental edits. Segues weave it all into a non-stop experience that goes like this:

Scarlet Begonias > Fire on the Mountain > Scarlet Jam > Fire Jam > Scarlet Jam > Fire Jam.

Which is to say three transitions!

I was turned on to these performances by a crowd-sourcing tweet I sent out, because I was on a S>F binge and wanted to check out some unknown (to me) versions from years I don’t know very well. Thanks to all who participated. If people enjoy this, I’ll look into samplers from more years (when I can handle listening to more of these songs again). 

52-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Scarlet Begonias > Fire on the Mountain (3/10/81 - MSG)
  • Scarlet Jam > Fire on the Mountain (instr. edit) (5/15/81 - Rutgers)
  • Scarlet Jam > Fire on the Mountain (instr. edit) (9/12/81 - Greek)

Grateful Dead: May 1977 Dancin’ in the Streets Jams

This mix is a continuous, instrumental edit of the jams from all seven May 1977 performances of “Dancin’ in the Streets.”

Every time the band finishes the synchronized riff section of one jam, they slide right into the beginning of another night’s jam. All dancing, no singing.

The segues are seamless, but I’ve presented the mix as seven tracks, so you can compare the performances. Aside from the first track, which includes the opening of the song, each version starts at the same moment. The final version fades out. All performances have been officially released, except for 5/1 and 5/4.

67-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Dancin’ Intro & Jam > (5/8/77)
  • Dancin’ Jam > (5/19/77)
  • Dancin’ Jam > (5/15/77)
  • Dancin’ Jam > (5/12/77)
  • Dancin’ Jam > (5/22/77)
  • Dancin’ Jam > (5/1/77)
  • Dancin’ Jam (5/4/77)

This mix is a companion to this May ’77 “Fire on the Mountain” jams collection. If you want even more edited May '77 madness, here’s a 12-minute version of “Brown Eyed Women” that includes every one of the instrumental breaks. 

Grateful Dead: May 1977 Fire on the Mountain Jams

This collection provides instrumental edits of every Grateful Dead performance of “Fire on the Mountain” in May 1977. It was still a new song, played only six times prior to these versions.

As an improvisational vehicle, the song had three parts, all with variable lengths and approaches:

  • The introduction, up to the first verse
  • The middle jam, between the two verses
  • The rousing final jam, which led to the “Scarlet Begonias” bookend close

In addition to eliminating the verses and choruses, I’ve also removed the return to the baseline groove that occurred between the middle jam and the second verse, so those solo-driven parts flow together without a slow-down. 

Otherwise, it’s all the music - each performance as a pure jam that reveals the essential differences among them. They range from seven to twelve minutes each. All have been officially released except 5/4/77.

72-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Fire Jam (5/4/77)
  • Fire Jam (5/5/77)
  • Fire Jam (5/8/77)
  • Fire Jam (5/11/77)
  • Fire Jam (5/13/77)
  • Fire Jam (5/17/77)
  • Fire Jam (5/21/77)
  • Fire Jam (5/25/77)

You'll find a mix of May '77's "Dancin' in the Streets" jams here

The Grateful Dead: Terraplayin’ (1993-1994)

Pretend that Spotify recommended this music because you listen to a lot of Khruangbin.

I have smashed together more than two hours of improvisational segments from late 1993 and 1994 Grateful Dead performances of “Playin’ in the Band” and “Terrapin Station.” 

At the time, the approaches to those two songs’ jams were closely related, and together they represent one of the highlights of late, improvisational Grateful Dead. Slinky, fusion-y, blue-green, dance music.

Everything on this mix appeared on previous Save Your Face mixes. I made a rough-cut playlist, and it turned out to be great for everything from snow shoveling to copywriting – a Dead “mood” that both rewards close attention and functions as sophisticated wallpaper music. 

So, I decided to take out the remaining vocals and tidy up the edges. Many of the segues originated on the earlier mixes I pulled from, and I welded a few more things together for this mix. Some edits are good illusions and others will be obvious, but they help create a dramatic ebb and flow of the band's Playin’ dilations and Jam-Out-of-Terrapin concentrations. 

This is what the mix will look like in your music player, if you download the zipped mp3 file. Anything that’s named “Terraplayin’” is an edit of related performances, featuring at least one jam from each song. 

2h13m mp3 file zipped up here

The Grateful Dead: Tones (1969)

Nearly every “Feedback” The Grateful Dead played in 1969 included a gentle, gorgeous section of drones, whines, and knob-twiddling. This mix isolates and combines 14 such passages into a 35-minute ambient album. 

This particular aspect of “Feedback” ought to have its own name, since literal feedback is not the dominant feature, and there is great consistency among the performances. When you put them together, they sound like movements of a single, larger composition... or stanzas in a tone poem.

The mix includes 14 tracks, each labeled “Tones (mm/dd/69).” 

35-minute mp3 album zipped up here

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: Ambient 4 – The Plateaux of MIDI

This 100-minute mix compiles 28 space and drums segments from The Grateful Dead’s 1994 Summer Tour. 

These selections previously appeared on my wider-ranging Summer ’94 compilations, which blended them into sequences of regular Dead music. I’ve pulled them together because sometimes you just want to listen to music for spaceports. 

Track titles are the same as on the original comps – to avoid confusion - but otherwise this mix is tagged as an entirely discrete album – to avoid confusion. I’ve added some fades and unified the volume. I created a space disc and a drums disc, but everything should shuffle pretty smoothly, too.

100-minute mp3 mix zipped up here.

This is the fourth mix of this kind of material. The others are:

Grateful Dead: Halloween '79 (Nassau Coliseum - Oct 31-Nov 2, 1979)

Here’s 76 minutes of jamming from The Grateful Dead’s 1979 Halloween run at Nassau Coliseum (10/31 – 11/2). Jesse Jarnow pointed out these highlights to me, and also suggested that the “Eyes” and “Saint” might be cool as instrumentals. I didn't know that "Saint" had ever been a long-jam song!

76-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

All tracks are from 11/1, except “Eyes” (10/31) and “Saint” (11/2):

  • Scarlet Begonias > (17:56)
  • Fire on the Mountain (16:44)
  • Jam (1:54)
  • Playin’ Jam (13:32)
  • Eyes of the World (instrumental edit) (11:33)
  • Saint of Circumstance (instrumental edit) (14:46)

The “Scarlet > Fire” was released as a “hidden track” on “Dick’s Picks” #13, which otherwise featured a later Nassau show – 5/6/81. The two 1979 songs were attached to the ’81 “Saint of Circumstance,” forming a 45 minute track at the end of disc 2. 

Artwork by Andrei Verner. Check him out here