ROAD BOX SET
CD199 - 12 CD set + book
The Golden Road is the most ambitious collection of Grateful Dead music ever undertaken, and the definitive overview of the Dead's early recording career. This massive 12-CD set features all of the officially-issued albums from the Dead's tenure with Warner Bros. Records--from their eponymous 1967 debut to Bear's Choice, released in 1973--but there is much more than that. As in, more than 7 hours of additional, never-before-released material, including: alternate takes and mixes; extended versions of songs; tracks that didn't make the final cut; and contemporaneous live performances. And there are two complete discs, Birth Of The Dead, documenting the band's musical development prior to the Warner Bros. era.
The Golden Road is the product of a close collaboration between Grateful Dead Productions and Rhino Records, the Los Angeles-based company that has become the music industry's preeminent expert in historical reissues and anthologies. James Austin, Rhino's senior director of A&R and Special Projects (and a Deadhead since the early 70s), co-produced the project with the Dead's vault archivist, David Lemieux. Working from their own extensive personal knowledge and with the advice and input of Grateful Dead band members, employees, scholars and fans, Austin and Lemieux mined the combined resources of the Grateful Dead and Warner Bros. tape archives, and struck gold, finding plenty of material with which to supplement each of the official Warner Bros. releases (save for the perfectly self-contained Live/Dead). Never-released studio and live tracks abound--among them are, to name but a few: original songs such as "Alice D. Millionaire," "Tastebud," and one of Pigpen's last performances with the Dead, "The Stranger (Two Souls In Communion)"; and versions of Buddy Holly's "Oh, Boy!" the Coasters hit "I'm A Hog For You Baby" and the old jug band standard "Overseas Stomp (The Lindy)."
The Birth Of The Dead discs, assembled by Grateful Dead historian Dennis McNally and longtime associate Lou Tambakos, is divided into two discs, titled "The Studio Sides" and "The Live Sides." The first contains tracks the band recorded for two San Francisco labels, Scorpio Records and Autumn Records, and features such rarities as "Mindbender," "The Only Time Is Now," and "Fire In The City" (a track the Dead made with legendary jazz singer Jon Hendricks). The band's first single, "Don't Ease Me In," backed with "Stealin'," is presented in both vocal and instrumental versions. The "Live Sides" disc features such cornerstones of the Dead's early repertoire as "Viola Lee Blues," "I'm A King Bee" and "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," plus such seldom-heard selections as Leadbelly's "In The Pines" and Otis Redding's "Pain In My Heart."
And that's just a small sampling of the treasure to be found along The Golden Road. All twelve discs have been brilliantly mastered in the High Definition Compatible Digital (HDCD) format -- the first time the Grateful Dead's Warner Bros. material has been given the sonic treatment it so richly deserves.
The music is augmented by 230 pages of text, photos and artwork, a lengthy historical essay by Dennis McNally, reflections on the Dead by James Austin, David Lemieux and Connie Bonner Mosley (who co-founded the original Grateful Dead Fan Club and remains a member of the GD family to this day), and new notes to accompany each of the Warner Bros. albums, contributed by Blair Jackson, Gary Lambert, Lenny Kaye, Steve Silberman, David Gans, Hale Milgrim, Paul Nichols and Bear.
GRATEFUL DEAD: THE BAND
JERRY GARCIA: lead
guitar, acoustic guitar, pedal steel guitar, piano, kazoo, vibraslap,
Golden Road - DISC
ONE - Birth Of The Dead
The Autumn Sessions
|Blair Jackson's review:||****??|
Blair's play-by-play reviews on DNC:
OH MY GOD! I just got my advance copy of this ('cuz I did some liners) and I am in HEAVEN, man! This is SO great, I can barely contain myself. The packaging is incredible and very, very classy! I've only listened to one CD so far (first album) and it's an amazing experience, hearing FULL versions of "Sitting On Top of the World," "Morning Dew," "Cream Puff War"...I can't tell you how much it improves on the original to hear the songs without the fadeouts. And the bonus material all sounds top-notch, too. It's going to take days, if not weeks for me to get around to listening to all this with the attention it deserves, but what a time it's going to be! Take your old copies down to the used CD store--this makes all of 'em completely worthless. Rob your Aunt Edna of $100 if you need to...this is an absolute MUST to own! Sorry for the gushing, but I haven't been this excited about a release in a long time. AWESOME! YOW!
Haven't heard "Aoxomoxoa" yet, but I just listened to "American Beauty"--SWEET! I'd literally never heard a live "Til The Morning Comes" before and though it's not exactyly perfect, it's hot! The "Candyman" is also great but the real gem is the "Attics"--whoa! It's literally a trio--just Bob, Jerry and Phil--no percussion of any kind and the singing is really strong...and a nice little instrumental thing near the last verse. VERY strong. The live "Truckin' is ragged, but a nice example of the primal '70 variety, the way it builds a couple of times in the jam and then walks out on tiny cat's feet... So far, my only negative reaction has been the inclusion of the single version of "Truckin'" right after the regular version. I mean, who really gives a shit about a truncated "Truckin'"? Not me, that's for sure. Those Rhino folks love that kind of stuff, though. I've never really been into alternate takes (unless there's some good reason to include 'em) and that sort of collectabilia...
I just listened to the "Aoxomoxoa" additions and they're incredible! Three long (over 10-minute) studio jams--one around "Clementine," one around "Nobody' Fault" and other bluesish progressions and, best of all, one around "The Eleven." The sound is remarkable! STUDIO jams as hot as live performances; no lie! Then it closes with one of the first live versions of "Cosmic Charlie," from January '69; also amazing in a different way! Very crunchy and delicious! This morning I also listened to the live disc of the "Birth of the Dead" set of '66 stuff. Really good sound (mostly...a few instrumental warbles here and there from what sounds like tape wear) and good performances, especially "Viola Lee," "One Kind Favor," "He Was A Friend of Mine" (a personal fave always...if I got to do another box, I'd put the Eugene '69 version on) and, what's this? a song I'd never even heard of until this morning--"Keep Rolling By," an original that combines a "Midnight Hour" soul attack with a little modal trip in the middle. Nice vocals by Pig and the band...very cool. What fun to hear a song I'd never heard before! This set just keeps giving me more and more!