Jesse Jarnow

#deadfreaksunite 1967

#deadfreaksunite 1967
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via archive.org, though ’67 is a bit messy. For the clearest guide through 1967, consult LIA’s post, which includes a half-dozen or so 30-60 second or so audio fragments heard in the background of contemporary film footage, which I did not annotate unless it was historically interesting.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974]

1/14/67 polo field: the human be-in! 30m of the dead in front of ~20,000 people in golden gate park. free acid, love, turkey, etc.. swooshy soundboard, opening midway through VIOLA LEE BLUES. mix is a total mess, but double-speed jam craziness plays big. GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL dominated by charles lloyd, adding skittering flute & some vocals. mixed bag, but 1st interesting guest. (the MORNING DEW commonly affixed to be-in tapes is likely from 1968.)

3/18/67 winterland: 90m from 2 sets, before & after chuck berry. week of dead’s debut LP release & 1st tape since LA album sessions. so few tapes from ’67, hard to know if they’re representative. opens with last speedy early version of ME & MY UNCLE, gone until 4/69. the real earliest MORNING DEW, similar to album take from january. inside guitar solo & emphatic young garcia shouting outro. “NO!” set 2 opens with 2m THE GOLDEN ROAD, written at label’s behest. 1st of 2 known live versions. more jerry shouting. joyous & garagey. last THE SAME THING save 12/31/71 (& weir’s ’90s revival). 12m with great jam that patiently moves beyond blues.

4/8/67 KPIX: one of several dead appearances on local TV, the only one with an actual live performance. ralph gleason interviews the band & mainly a giggly garcia. final surviving CREAM PUFF WAR, rare song with words/music by garcia & 1st original with modal jam. 2 minutes of non-modal fun here. WALKIN’ BLUES mash-up alternates between the dead’s arrangement & quicksilver’s & is the only known pigpen version. slinky snare.

4/9/67 the panhandle: tiny barely audible fragments in the background of film footage contain a few seconds of garcia singing a blues song i can’t identify & an even short blip of the band (maybe) playing GLORIA.

6/18/67 monterey pop: on after the who smashed gear & before hendrix burned his, dead bummed with their set. 14m VIOLA LEE BLUES opener swings easily into double-time & frenzy beyond with kreutzmann snare flourishes & melting garcia guitar. phil lesh vs. MC peter tork, condensed – tork: “the beatles aren’t here! don’t gatecrash!” lesh: “the beatles would want you to!” bad & still unidentified guest harmonica honking all over other 3 songs. funny how this & woodstock both feature mysterious randos. 1st recorded ALLIGATOR > CAUTION & earliest ALLIGATOR, too. 1st lyrics by robert hunter but pig’s mic ain’t on. already a gnarly jam. 1st taped CAUTION since 5/66 & much more developed. short pig rap & then busy high-speed action with great dialogues near the end. bill graham handles outro MC duties. perhaps the dead scared off (the at least semi-dosed) peter tork.

7/23/67 straight theater: long-delayed opening of only venue in the haight & sole surviving tape of beat legend & merry prankste neal cassady with the dead. long circulating as a puzzling fragment on semi-bootleg flexidisc by ex-lesh roommate (& courtney l0ve’s father) hank harrison. it makes much more sense when heard unedited. on the full 16m version, garcia introduces cassady & he speed-raps as band starts into TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, though pig’s mic isn’t working. the sound is murky, as if the recording is only from cassady’s microphone & the band is just in the background bleeding into it. not cassady’s best, but charming asides/flows/punchlines (“i knew i should have worn more paisley”), dead ends, occasional vocalizing. jam disintegrates with gear issues, but emerges into proto-DARK STAR space as cassady babbles. hard to tell exactly what’s going on. eventually, band gets it going & land in earliest taped LOVELIGHT, presumably with more neal, but fades after 1m.

8/4/67 toronto: bill graham presents the san francisco sound. opens with fragment of last OVERSEAS STOMP, electrified jugband doofery. 1st known NEW POTATO CABOOSE. music: lesh, lyrics: bobby petersen, vocal: weir. most ambitious & psychedelic original yet. deep jerry. 20m VIOLA LEE BLUES hits dazzling froth before last verse. feedback & MERRY-GO-ROUND BROKE DOWN cartoon sign-off.

8/5/67 toronto: last of 6 days/nights with jefferson airplane & luke & the apostles, presented by bill graham. only 19m, but great. 1st fully taped TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT, just over 7m. pigpen still tentative in beginning/end raps, but wild jerry shred in between. 1st complete ALLIGATOR is fire, garcia solo subtly shifting to full band deep zone & silly vocal freak-out end.

9/3/67 rio nido: labor day dead, gigging/woodshedding at a resort by the russian river. essential. the classic early quintet dead tape. primal thrills, full tilt boogie, blissed improv, & 1st taped 20+ minute jams. 32m MIDNIGHT HOUR opener, at big weave from 1st jam. patience, left turns, volume swells, cool pockets, jerry sparkles, more pig raps. DANCING IN THE STREET jam melts instantly into long, slow garcia ideas, pulling on bright colored threads, proto-DARK STAR flows. 23m VIOLA LEE BLUES centerpiece is glorious, my favorite early dead jam, deep & conversational. pigpen right there, too, throughout. 15m surprise-filled ALLIGATOR is swinging/swaggering, weir high in mix & playing great, even some lead figures. feedback/organ coda. also, robert hunter’s 1st dead show (or maybe since 5/65) & 1st time hearing band sing his lyrics, on ALLIGATOR.

9/4/67 rio nido: 6m from end of CAUTION. quizzical fuzzed-out jerry at edges of early space jazz. organ coda & feedback dissolve. phil: “well, we’ve been turned off again. it’s now 1-o-clock, folks. now the only thing to do is go home & screw.”

9/15/67 hollywood bowl: 1st circulating audience tape & pretty cruddy. bill graham presents, with the airplane. big brother cancels. decent 15m VIOLA LEE BLUES opener is a hungry band showing off chops. molten moments, but audio quality makes it hard to dig, dig? garcia seems to tease donavan’s 1-month-old THERE IS A MOUNTAIN ~8:10 in ALLIGATOR, predating the allman brothers by a few years. 1st recorded ALLIGATOR > CAUTION is hearty 29 minutes. with noise dissolve. already-bad tape gets worse during jam, like the taper is walking around? goofy drums/vocals vaudeville tag after a feedback session feels very cartoony or, er, phish-y.

9/29/67 straight theater: formerly known as “5/5/67 fillmore” but more likely from the night before mickey hart 1st played with band. shows billed as dance class to get around restrictions. phil: “i just saw a narc down in the audience… if you see one step on him.” 1st taped HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE since previous july, properly mark spoelstra’s JUST A HAND TO HOLD, harmonies & jangle channel warlocks. spidery jerry. choice stoned call/response. weir: “say DOPE!” (crowd: “DOPE!”) weir: “say PRIMATE!” (garcia: “say whaaat?”) weir: “say WHAT!” last recorded GOLDEN ROAD (of 2), unchanged at a boisterous 132 seconds. can see how this didn’t fit into their plans, but pure joy. GOLDEN ROAD also serves as cool drop into deep 10m NEW POTATO CABOOSE, picking up swing & weird-jazz swagger around odd turns. can hear the space for 2 drummers in ALLIGATOR especially, already a pretty snarling jam. cool organ moves by pigpen. (tape re-dated from weir’s NEW POTATO dedication, likely to KMPX DJ chandler laughlin, released from jail in 9/67.)

10/22/67 winterland: crispy warts-&-all soundboard. last document of the dead as a quintet before mickey hart joins as 2nd drummer. legend has hart joining immediately after 1st jamming on 9/30, photos/audio suggest otherwise. definitely only 1 drummer here. except NEW POTATO CABOOSE, glittering psychedelia, all 7 songs will be in repertoire when they return to quintet lineup in 4 years. MORNING DEW opener remains high octane, purposeful but speedy garcia solo. HURTS ME TOO is warlocks quintet at intimate best. major: 1st recorded THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE suite. specifically, 15m CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT/THE OTHER ONE/CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT. blazing 3m of jerry jams before OTHER ONE vocals, both verses 1st drafts. “when i woke up this morning, my head was not intact…” but the real fire comes on CRYPTICAL reprise, 8m of garcia building methodically in curling psychedelic monologue.

10/31/67 winterland: formerly “1/27/67,” new dating speculative, math below. but: 1st tape with 2 drummers. ugly audience recording. brief organ jam in 22m VIOLA LEE BLUES before garcia takes over, though lots of cool B3 as jam spirals. good stuff hidden in murk. 37m ALLIGATOR/CAUTION is huge & chaotic. jerry-fired jams & 2-drummer propulsion, cowbell/2nd snare providing constant movement. ALLIGATOR’s structure hints at date: 2 drummers (putting it post-9/29) but no early drum break (pre-11/10). not many candidates. detonation of (presumably) onstage cannon around 9:30 in CAUTION suggests the arrival of mickey hart into the grateful dead. alt. theory #1: based on 2 misdated songs (both AUD versions of hart-less 10/22), maybe just 2nd set of that, with mickey joining in. and yet the 2 recordings feature different versions of COLD RAIN & SNOW (“1/27″ has a count-off), suggesting different shows. alt. theory #2: after joining the dead, mickey didn’t immediately play on every single show & this is 10/14 in santa clara. furthurmore, @corry342 doesn’t think the 10/31/67 show actually happened, which narrows it to 10/14. alt. theory #3: actually mickey’s 1st show. he claimed there was a “2-hour” ALLIGATOR/CAUTION, but drugs.

11/xx/67 unknown venue/studio: a multi-track recording, either of a studio jam or a live show, the earliest good-sounding tape with 2 drummers. LIA speculates that it’s live based on ambience & the echo of the vocals & i’m mostly inclined to agree, though i could also hear this as a live-in-studio rehearsal to hear what they sound like with mickey. early THAT’S IT FOR THE OTHER ONE (with no weir vocals). dating comes (via LIA) via the placement of 1st drum break in 20-minute ALLIGATOR/CAUTION. nicely conversational, including the barest earliest hints of garcia playing with the BID YOU GOOD NIGHT melody as the band hits the choogle eternal, followed by a well-executed dissolve into feedback.

11/10/67 shrine expo hall: the dead in LA, between buffalo springfield & blue cheer. 1st big tape of new era with mickey hart as 2nd drummer & fullest realization of their psychedelia yet. 16m VIOLA LEE BLUES opener soars into all-soloing frenzy, neat organ leads. band swings even harder as they pull back into tune. enjoying mickey on songs proper. 2nd snare is manic on BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE, but somehow carves new spaciousness on pigpen blues. great instrumental separation underscores MORNING DEW’s conversational arrangement, jerry/bob/phil weaving around each other. charming chatter after weir busts a string. later, before ALLIGATOR, pigpen coos (sort of) at baby sunshine kesey, gurgling nearby. drummers don’t hit the churning triplets yet on 11m OTHER ONE suite, but nifty snare dialogues on CRYPTICAL ENVELOPMENT outro. 1st appearance of “cowboy neal” verse in THE OTHER ONE, 5 months before cassady’s death, when weir usually places its writing. 36m ALLIGATOR/CAUTION subdivides from blues shred to flickering jeweled jerry/phil duo jams (& back). nice dissolve.

11/11/67 shrine expo hall: 1st 2-drummer TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT opens. no weird rhythmic pockets yet, but new propulsion is evident. forgot to mention yesterday: mickey’s adding nice sparing glockenspiel to NEW POTATO CABOOSE, making it officially sound like 1967. the overly ambitious structures/harmonies are all too obvious, but NEW POTATO’s jazz moves make for the most mature jamming yet. ‘cuz it’s ’67 there’s are labeling mysteries. i think this is the real 11/11 ALLIGATOR/CAUTION. new ALLIGATOR twist (on 11/10, too): post-verse breakdown to cowbell/guiro/drumz/garcia. jambandy af but fierce.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974]

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