This mix collects Grateful Dead improvisations that have something in common with “Fire on the Mountain.” It also includes a live Diga Rhythm Band performance with Garcia, and an early studio take of a vocal “Fire on the Mountain” by The Marin County Collective, which featured Hart and Garcia.
NOTE: This is a much-expanded revision of an earlier mix. I have simply revised the original blogpost and linked to the expanded file. Apologies to those who grabbed the first one, but comments on that one got me to this one, so there you go. Special thanks to @MrCompletely, @DeadsoundApp, and @MarkRichardson, without whom…
Firelike ’68 (10/10/68, Hartbeats) (10:59)
- Starting with a gentle riff that sounds a bit like the Dave Brubeck quartet noodling Scarlet-into-Fire, this jam mutates into a bop-like exploration of the “Dark Star” melody, before revisiting Firelike territory around the six-minute mark, then wandering off again. I kept the jam intact, since it’s good and organic all the way through.
Firelike ’68 (12/16/68, Hartbeats w/David Getz) (9:17)
- This is the earliest instance of this kind of groove that I’m aware of. Garcia brushes up against “Dark Star” and ventures into explicit “China Cat” territory.
Firelike ’71 (8/21/71, Mickey’s Barn) (12:08)
- This jam finds its fire gradually and kicks in hard around five minutes. From the “A Day in the Country” radio broadcast. Players include some combination of Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Ned Lagin, David Crosby, and John Cipollina.
Firelike ’73 (7/27/73, Watkins Glen Jam pt. 2) (5:12)
- The most famous Firelike jam appeared in the second half of the 30-minute “Watkins Glen Jam.” I edited tight, since everyone knows the Watkins jam.
Firelike ’75 (Blues for Allah rehearsal) (14:04)
- I had the most terrible tape of this in the 1980s - 100th generation, with more hiss than music - but I loved it. The five minutes preceding my start-point are also cool, but they kind of turn the beat around and pounce decisively at the place I begin. (The Save Your Face mix, “Knot Jazz,” contains the whole thing.)
Happiness is Drumming ’76 (6/28/76, Chicago) (6:31)
Happiness is Drumming ’76 (6/22/76, Philadelphia) (1:57)
- The Chicago performances is a full-band, full-blown “Happiness is Drumming” – essentially the debut of “Fire.” (The mix, unfortunately, has Keith pretty loud, and he's playing without imagination or swing.) The brief Philadelphia occurrence is just a glancing blow, but in a crazy-fun context.
Firelike ’79 (4/16/79, Brent Mydland rehearsal)
- This is an actual Scarletfire jam – “Scarlet” improv on top of an almost-“Fire” rhythm bed.
Happiness is Drumming ’75 (5/30/75, Diga Rhythm Band w/Garcia) (10:56)
- I decided not to include Diga’s familiar released studio recording of this song (which also includes Garcia) in favor of this long, live take.
Fire on the Mountain 1972-1973 (Melton, Garcia, Hart, Freiberg) (5:09)
- As far as I can discern, the two versions of the Marin County Collective’s unreleased, Mickey’s Barn, “Fire on the Mountain” (1972 and 1973) are based on the same recording, edited shorter and longer (3:17 vs. 5:09). I’ve included only the longer edit (1973). This is the first recording to include the song’s lyrics, with extra and different words, which are rapped by Mickey Hart. Personally, I’m cool with all aspects of that scenario.