Thursday, August 9, 2012

74 Tracks of a Dylan/Dead Rehearsal

There doesn't appear to be anything new about this recording, but thanks to this article on   that I was tipped off by  and  on Twitter, I am now listening to 74 Tracks of Dylan with the Dead on

The recording is from June 1st 1987 and was recorded at Grateful Dead's rehearsal spot - Club Front in San Rafael.

I've never been too hot on the Dylan and The Dead album and live recordings I've heard, but this is  really great listening.  It's a very relaxed rehearsal session with the band calling out songs, discussing the instrumentation, and finding their way haphazardly through a slice of the Dylan catalog.

The OpenCulture article has some interesting quotes from Dylan's autobiography about his surprise at these sessions because (in his words),

 "the band wanted to rehearse more and different songs than I had been used to doing with Petty [on his recent tour with Tom Petty]. They wanted to run over all the songs, the ones they liked, the seldom seen ones."

Jerry is playing spritely and seems to be very confident on the Dylan repertoire.  There's even some beautiful pedal steel in these recordings.  Occasionally, the band starts really gelling, but this seems to be more of a discovery expedition to see which songs might feel good on the upcoming tour.

I've got to say, there's a lot of Dylan songs in this collection that I have not heard yet (and I'm a pretty big Dylan fan too).

I am Grateful to the twittersphere for tipping me off to this recording.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Grateful Dead to Release Spring 1990 Box Set

You may or may not know that I really love the late era Dead from the 1990's.  (See my "Open Letter for the Release of all 1990s Grateful Dead Audio and Video").

Well, I just heard about a new box set from Spring of 1990... NICE!  It's expensive ($200) but I will purchase it on principal  - to show strong support for the release of this era of Dead music.

I should have all of these shows on file and before I accept delivery of this new release (ships in late August) I will listen to them on my iPod so I can hear them without any "spoilers" from reading the CD liner notes. In fact, I don't even like to spend much time on the page about these shows because I don't want to know what epic songs are included.

Yes, I know I'm kind of weirdo, but I like to listen to the Dead like I am at the concerts  -without any idea of what's coming next. Actually, I don't think I'm alone at all in this preference.

I will follow up and write more about this run of shows after I listen.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Bob Weir's Cool Deal at TRI and Move Me Brightly Jerry Celebration TONIGHT

In a very cool article in Business Week, Bob Weir discusses how he is using TRI studios (Tamalpais Research Institute) to stream live music to Yahoo's users.   The money made on these streaming concerts will be split generously with the musicians (which is rare in the music industry).

Tonight (August 3rd) will feature a concert called "Move Me Brightly" which is a celebration of Jerry Garcia's music.  The show will feature members of Vampire Weekend, Phish, and the Hold Steady (with Luke Wilson as the master of ceremonies - did not know, is he a Dead Head?)

Here is TRI Studios website, where you can see the concerts and learn a lot more.

Nice going Bobby!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Far From Me - Grateful Dead Song Review

"You are so far from me!"

I feel like I should have a disclaimer for all songs that I never got to see the Dead play live (which is most of them - and all Brent songs).  If I had been able to experience this song in the crowd happily dancing during a show maybe I would have great memories that would soften me toward Far From Me.

But to be honest, from listening to tapes, this is another Brent song that just doesn't really do it for me.

Far From Me has a nice shuffle and a really interesting chord progression (keyboardists always come up with great chord progressions).  There's a really unique "middle section" ("it's just too late, and we can't relate at all") which strangely reminds me of similar middle section in Billy Joel's It's My Life.

Far from Me appears on 1980's Go To Heaven and fits right in that album.  That album has some great songs but something about it is a little 'off.' Even the Cover art seems to say "too much cocaine." 

Certainly the 1980's were bizarre time culturally in America and there was a dearth of good music.  The Dead felt the oppressive energy with this lackluster album and wouldn't release another studio album for 7 years after Go To Heaven.

"Words and Music by Brent Mydland"

I've said this about Brent songs before but Far From Me sounds like a "singer songwriter" pop song from the 80s - like something from Michael McDonald or Kenny Loggins. It just doesn't feel like a Grateful Dead song. And of course, there's no other members of the band who get a writing credit on this one.

Didn't Jerry once posthumously talk about Brent's struggles in life by pointing out he had limited life experience (no college, no acid tests, etc)? I've always heard that Brent was insecure.

In the recent Easy to Love You review, I concluded that it was a "cheesy love song" and that's harsh, but I can't say that I don't feel the same way about Far From Me.

Easy to Love You Song Rating on a Scale of 1-10: 5.0

Disclaimer: This is part of my blog that reviews all things Grateful Dead for fun. Music is a beautiful thing because it is so personal and subjective, so keep in mind that this is one man's opinion.