An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. All shows streamable via archive.org.
11/3/65 golden state recorders: 18m 5-song demo by the emergency crew, formerly the warlocks, soon the grateful dead. the only known ’65 tape & earliest recorded electric music, 6 months after band’s founding. amazing recording, hinting at the dead’s undocumented early months, an alternate universe with phil as lead singer.
CAN’T COME DOWN: dylan-y rave-up about gettin’ real high, lyrics/vocals by garcia, tight harmonica breaks. no surviving live versions.
MINDBENDER: stilted but ambitious pop, vocals & dense lyrics mostly by lesh. mystic farfisa. sweet spaghetti western licks by garcia.
ONLY TIME IS NOW: the dead’s lost sunshine-pop gem. cool beatles-y tremolo. lyrics by jerry pal dave parker, future dead bookkeeper.
CAUTION: cribbed from Them’s MYSTIC EYES. blues-clang condensed into ultra-busy & well-packed 3m. already they’re all soloing at once.
I KNOW YOU RIDER: brighter/faster than iconic later arrangement. slop-rock guitar chug. lead singin’ by phil. but who’s on tambourine?
EARLY MORNING RAIN: gordon lightfoot tune, sung by lesh. groovy fun with a good urgent bounce. phil’s vocals are goofy, but i can dig.