November 6, 2012

The Grateful Dead and Trains (Guest Post)

by Ben Miller

As a lifelong Grateful Dead fan, and someone who grew up enthralled by all things train and railroad related (as many boys do), I've often been fascinated by the amount of references to trains and railroads that appear in Grateful Dead songs, both original and cover. To illustrate this connection between trains and the Grateful Dead, I have compiled a list of (hopefully) every song that contains a reference to trains or the railroad in some way. Please let me know if there are any that I have missed. The list is split into three parts: originals, common covers, and rare covers/guest songs. Some songs have multiple train references, but I have included one lyric line (or the reason for making this list) in parentheses.

ORIGINALS:

Casey Jones ("Driving that train, high on cocaine")
Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks) (song title)
China Cat Sunflower ("double-E waterfall" - as in "flaggin' down the double-E")
He's Gone ("Like a steam locomotive rolling down the track")
Jack Straw ("Gotta go to Tulsa, first train we can ride")
Lazy River Road ("Bright blue box cars, train by train")
Might As Well ("Long train running from coast to coast")
New Potato Caboose (song title)
New Speedway Boogie ("This train's got to run today")
So Many Roads ("Thought I heard that KC whistle moaning sweet and low")
Tennessee Jed ("Listen to the whistle of the evening train")
Terrapin Station ("But the train's put its brakes on and the whistle is screaming")
They Love Each Other ("It's nothing they explain, it's like a diesel train")
Tons Of Steel ("She's more a roller-coaster than the train I used to know")
Unbroken Chain ("Ride you out on a cold railroad and nail you to a cross")

COMMON COVERS:

Beat It On Down The Line ("I'll be waiting at the station, Lord, when that train pulls on by")
Big Railroad Blues ("Well that train's rolling down, she's rolling down the line")
Dark Hollow ("So blow your whistle freight train, take me far on down the track")
I Know You Rider ("I wish I was a headlight on a northbound train")
Johnny B. Goode ("Go sit beneath the tree by the railroad track")
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds ("Picture yourself on a train in a station")
Mama Tried ("On a freight train leaving town, not knowing where I'm bound")
Me And Bobby McGee ("Busted flat in Baton Rouge and waiting for a train")
Monkey And The Engineer ("Big locomotive right on time")
Promised Land ("Straight up I bought me a through train ticket")
Smokestack Lightnin' ("Whoa-oh, stop your train, let a hobo ride")
Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again ("Stay away from the railroad line")
When I Paint My Masterpiece ("Train wheels running through the back of my memory")

RARE COVERS/GUEST SONGS:

Are You Lonely For Me ("It's the last train to Jacksonville")
Ballad Of Casey Jones ("Around the bend came a passenger train")
California Earthquake (Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On) ("Lord it sounded like a thousand trains were screaming underground")
Early Morning Rain ("You can't jump a jet plane like you can a railroad train")
Green Green Grass Of Home ("The old home town looks the same as I step down from the train")
How Long Blues ("Hate that train, train that carried my baby away")
In The Pines ("The longest train I ever saw was down that northern line")
It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry ("Don't say I didn't warn you when your train gets lost")
Kansas City ("Well I might take a plane, might take a train")
K.C. Moan ("Well I thought I heard that K.C. whistle moan")
Let It Rock ("Can't stop the train, we got to let it roll on")
Little Sadie ("Put me on the train and sent me back")
Mystery Train ("Train I ride, fifteen coaches long")
Slow Train ("There's a slow, slow train comin' up around the bend")
Two Trains Running ("Well there's two trains a-coming")
Visions Of Johanna ("They whisper of escapades out on the "D" train")

[The Dead also played Wabash Cannonball and Railroading on the Great Divide on 6/11/69, but no tape survives. The Garcia Band also played a number of other train songs, not listed here.]

A FEW SONG NOTES

This page looks at the railroad theme in Grateful Dead songs:
http://www.univie.ac.at/Anglistik/easyrider/data/DEDTRAIN.HTM

Phil Lesh wrote of the Festival Express, "All of the artists involved were of that generation that still considered trains as magnets of adventure and romance, much of our music celebrating the 'high lonesome sound' of train whistles in the night. Riding the rails, like running away with the circus, was a reasonable alternative to the nine-to-five gray-flannel treadmill that had consumed the majority of our contemporaries. The train spoke of freedom, of mythical journeys and heroic quests..."

He talked about one adventure he had in 1960:
"I persuaded my parents to let me try a pretty wild thing for a 20-year-old in those days: hitchhiking to Calgary to try and find work in the oil fields. That's what we were trying to do - got as far as Spokane... That led to one of the great experiences of my life, which was riding the rails - a boxcar, from Spokane back to Seattle. What an experience!...you can't get away with that anymore. The trains are fucked up... It only took like 36 hours, maybe less. I remember sneaking on in the early hours of the morning, and - coming out of Spokane on the railroad - Spokane is on a big bluff, and there's this river at the bottom. The train goes across the river on the other side from Spokane, and there you are looking at this incredible panorama. I'm sure it's changed since... We played there once, but it wasn't the same - we flew in." [interview with David Gans '81]

CASEY JONES
http://www.taco.com/roots/caseyjones.html
(a 1928 article on the original Casey Jones)
http://intranet.library.arizona.edu/users/rmitchel/caseyjones.html
(a history of Casey Jones recordings)

CAUTION
Lesh wrote in his book:
"We received an offer to play three days of a 'Trips Festival' in Vancouver, British Columbia. It seemed like a good opportunity to bring our music to a new audience... Since we couldn't afford to fly, the band took the train, leaving Oakland one morning and arriving the next day, while the gear drove up in a truck. While on the train, we took smoke breaks in the only place where we could have a little privacy: the open vestibule between the cars. At one point, we were standing out there entranced by the rhythm of the wheels clickety-clacking over the welds in the rails; Billy and I looked at each other and just knew - we simultaneously burst out, 'We can play this!' This later turned into Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)... Based on the train rhythm, it had only one chord and was played at blistering tempo...
At the next moment, the train lurched, and Jerry, who was standing near the exit, lost his footing and started to fall! Outward! Quick as a mongoose, Bobby reached out and grabbed his shirt, pulling him back into the car just as another train roared past in the opposite direction at a closing speed of what seemed like 200 miles per hour. Whew!"
[Alas, Caution was actually written the year before this train ride, but it's a good story...]

MIGHT AS WELL
Garcia on the Festival Express:
"That was the best time I've had in rock and roll. It was our train, it was the musicians' train. There were no straight people. There wasn't any show biz bullshit. There weren't any fans, there were nothing but musicians on the train. So immediately we started pulling furniture out of the two club cars and putting amplifiers and drums in. Jam sessions all the way across Canada, man. Played music all the way across Canada, and we juiced. Everybody juiced because nobody brought dope into Canada, everybody was chickenshit. [It lasted] about five days, six days maybe, but it was really fucking fun. Everybody got to be such good friends in that little world. It was like a musicians' convention with no public allowed... You name it, we did it. We had every conceivable kind of configuration that you could imagine, man. We had singers, lots of singers on the train, all kinds of trips. The most incredible combination of voices, like Delaney and Bonnie and Janis with Buddy Guy singing together, or Bonnie and Buddy Guy, or... Oh hey, man, there was one jam session with Ian and Sylvia and the Great Speckled Bird, me and Weir from our band, Rick Danko, Delaney and Bonnie and Eric Andersen... They got it all down on film. It'll really be far out." (from the Jazz&Pop interview, Feb '71)

October 2, 2012

Dire Wolf 1969

Dire Wolf was a turning point in the Dead’s songs – the point where the Dead turned from weirdness to accessibility. For a group of former folkies like Garcia, Weir, and Hunter, they had done their best to shed any folk influences since the first album, in favor of experimentation and strangeness. Even when writing a bunch of more conventional rock songs for Aoxomoxoa, Hunter & Garcia’s tunes bore little relation to the world at large, tending to withdraw into a more private, esoteric language. While a couple songs like Mountains of the Moon had roots in old English poetry, Dupree’s Diamond Blues had been the only Dead song based on American folk tradition, and it seemed to be a cartoonish one-off. As Aoxomoxoa was finished in the spring of 1969, there was little indication of what kind of songs would come next…

In 1969 Hunter was living with Garcia in a house on Madrone Canyon Road in Larkspur. Dire Wolf’s reference to “the timbers of Fennario” was not so far-removed from their actual situation: the house was in a redwood grove. As Blair Jackson describes it, the house “sat on an acre of land, had a creek running behind it, tall trees surrounding it, and morning light that came through the branches in great golden shafts.”
Hunter wrote, “We were living on Madrone because tunes had been emerging and it seemed sensible to help the process along and incidentally feed me since I had no income source at all.”
Garcia: “We had a nice big house that we could afford to live in together, but probably couldn’t have afforded separately at that point. It was a nice place to be, and Hunter was kind of floatin’ at the time.”
Hunter: “That’s right. I was sleepin’ on floors and stuff and he took me in.”

Hunter didn’t even have his own record player (or, presumably, collection), so the music that came to him was filtered by his environment: “whatever was on KSAN and whatever guitarists, pedal steelers, and country Jerry was playing. I had no sound system of my own…
“There were certain songs more or less universally present on the radios and jukeboxes. It was more a matter of trying to resist rather than succumbing to those influences that sent my lyric writing for the Grateful Dead careening into as many forsaken and out of the way spaces as it did. [Later] I had to go all the way to Terrapin, via a probably post-Elizabethan folk song, to avoid the traffic!”

But one contemporary group did strike him – the Band. Hunter later said, “I was so impressed by the songwriting of Robbie Robertson. I just said, ‘Oh yeah, this is the direction. This is the way for us, with all our folk roots, our country and bluegrass roots.’” He was taken with their second album, and the historical consciousness in the songs, especially The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down – “a real formative moment in directions in American music… Some of those songs are probably the father of Jack Straw and things like that.”
“First heard Big Pink sometime after having written Alligator, China Cat, St. Stephen and Dark Star. [David] Nelson played it for me . . . Big Pink wasn't an immediate ‘take’ with me. Took hearing Dixie Down the next year on the radio to make me aware of what they were up to with any kind of impact.”

Hunter said Robertson “uncovered some germinally great ideas. The direction he went with the Band earlier was one of the things that made me think of conceiving Workingman’s Dead. I was very much impressed with the area Robertson was working in. I took it and moved it to the West, which is the area I’m familiar with, and thought, ‘Okay, how about modern ethnic?’ Regional, but not the South…”
(Dire Wolf is set not specifically in the West, though, but in the no-man’s-land of Fennario, which Hunter probably lifted from the English ballad Peggy-o. Other Workingman’s Dead songs refer more to eastern America, like the Cumberland mines, or the bayou in Easy Wind. Hunter did do some Western songs later, but mostly – with some notable Southern exceptions – his songs would remain placeless.)

In their spare time at home, Garcia would practice scales in front of the TV (with the sound turned off), while Hunter would write songs in his room upstairs.
Hunter: “I wrote endlessly.”
Garcia: “He never stopped… The amount we set was nothing compared to the amount we didn’t set. There are a lot of songs that still deserve to be set…”

Hunter has given a couple accounts of these sessions:
“I’d be sitting upstairs banging on my typewriter, picking up my guitar, singin’ something, then going back to the typewriter. Jerry would be downstairs practicing guitar, working things out. You could hear fine through the floors there, and by the time I’d come down with a sheet and slap it down in front of him, Jerry already knew how they should go! He probably had to suffer through my incorrect way of doing them.”
“When we lived together in Larkspur, the way we’d write a song was I’d sit upstairs banging away at my three chords for days and days working something out. By the time I had it worked out, you know, through the thin walls he’d heard everything I was doing. I’d come down and hand him this sheet of paper, and he’d say, ‘Oh, that’s interesting,’ and he’d play the whole arrangement of it right away, because he’d heard what I was doing and heard where it was going off.”

Mountain Girl adds, “Hunter was up 24 hours a day, chain-smoking, and he’d come down in the morning and he’d have a stack of songs. ‘Wow, Hunter, these are fantastic.’ ‘Do you really think so?’ And he’d challenge Jerry to sit down right then and write a tune for it; or he might have already worked out some chord changes for it and Jerry would say, ‘Oh no, man, that’s not the way it should be; it should be like this.’ But to see Hunter walk out of his room in the morning with a stack of freshly minted tunes was pretty exciting. It was just incredible how fast those tunes fell together once they got on them.”
Garcia said of Hunter’s song ideas, “Things come to him, you know. An idea comes by, or a picture, an image, sort of floats by, it’s all in the air... It’s a matter of being able to tune into it.”

Dire Wolf was written one night in May 1969. Hunter later wrote:
“The song Dire Wolf was inspired, at least in name, by watching The Hound of the Baskervilles on TV with Garcia. We were speculating on what the ghostly hound might turn out to be, and somehow the idea that maybe it was a Dire Wolf came up. Maybe it was even suggested in the story, I don't remember. We thought Dire Wolves were great big beasts. Extinct now, it turns out they were quite small and ran in packs. But the idea of a great big wolf named Dire was enough to trigger a lyric. As I remember, I wrote the words quickly the next morning upon waking, in that hypnogogic state where deep-rooted associations meld together with no effort. Garcia set it later that afternoon.”

Hunter’s also said, “The imagery occurred to me in a dream. I woke up and grabbed a pencil before I was entirely awake and wrote the whole song down. I think I managed to capture the quality of the dream by writing it down before I was wide awake.”
According to McNally, Hunter had been up late watching The Hound of the Baskervilles with Mountain Girl, and she’d referred to the “dire wolf” – and the phrase stuck in his dreams.

“I remember giving Jerry the lyrics for "Dire Wolf" while he was noodling on guitar watching television. He took them and placed them aside without looking at them, continued watching TV. I said ‘I don't live here because of your sweet temper, it's to write songs!’ Somewhat startled at the vehemence of the statement, he picked up the page and got right to work setting it. The old boy often needed jump-starting.”

The song tells a dire story. As Hunter said, the narrator “is the shadow of the man in the song who is dead at this point. It’s a song by a ghost.”
The song tells us right off, “That’s the last they saw of me.” In this land, though, “the black and bloody mire,” people seem to have enough troubles without looking after each other: “the wolves are running round / the winter was so hard and cold,” and in this frozen environment, “the boys sing round the fire / don’t murder me.” Our narrator is on his own, has whiskey for supper, and prays before bed, only to find the Dire Wolf “grinning at my window.” Once the Wolf arrives, there are no more choices to make: “all I said was come on in … but the cards were all the same.” And the scene pulls back – all across Fennario, “the Dire Wolf collects his due,” as the others wait their turn.

Hunter once explained, “The situation that's basically happening in 'Dire Wolf' is it's the middle of winter, and there's nothing to eat for anybody, and this guy's got a little place. Suddenly there's this monster, the dire wolf, and the guy is saying, 'Well, obviously you're going to come in, and why don't you pull up a chair and play some cards?' But the cards are cut to the queen of spades, which is the card of death, and all the cards are death at this point. The situation is the same as when a street dude, an up-against-the- Establishment guy, approaches the Establishment and says, 'We can coexist.' Also, 'Dire Wolf' is Behemoth; that monster, the Id; the subconscious--it's that, too. Out there in a barren setting, stripped; there's no setting really, just blank white, and these characters in the middle of it.”

As Garcia soon discovered, the song also tapped a deep vein of American paranoia:
“I wrote that song when the Zodiac Killer was out murdering in San Francisco. Every night I was coming home from the studio, and I’d stop at an intersection and look around, and if a car pulled up, it was like, ‘This is it. I’m gonna die now.’ It became a game. Every night I was conscious of that thing, and the refrain got to be so real to me: ‘Please don’t murder me…’ It was a coincidence in a way, but it was also the truth at the moment.”

The Zodiac Killer became known in August ’69 after sending messages to the newspapers about his killings; he became even more well-known in October after another letter to the Chronicle proving he’d killed someone in a car one recent night in San Francisco, and threatening to kill more. He continued to send letters with more threats over the next year, though his actual victims seem to have been few, and he eventually vanished.
So the Zodiac actually emerged some months after the song was finished – but, as we’ll see, Garcia immediately made the connection between the killer and the song in live shows that October, when Zodiac frenzy gripped San Francisco. (He was recording pedal steel in the studio for CS&N on October 24; and on October 26 he mentions the Zodiac and “paranoid fantasies” onstage; so his memory of driving home in fear seems to be quite literal.)

Whether Hunter had a melody of his own in mind, Garcia promptly gave Dire Wolf a cheerful, perky folk-song setting, much simpler than the usual Dead song. (It’s unusual for the music to be in such ironic contrast to the lyrics in a Dead tune.) He thought of it from the start as an acoustic tune, and as early performances would show, may have had trouble thinking of a band arrangement for it. How could the Dead play this little song? – with two guitars? with pedal steel? with bass or organ? who would even sing it? And how could such a short ditty fit into Dead shows without disappearing?
The Dead tried out a number of different answers in the first few months of the song’s history, before it finally settled into its final shape. But one surprising development became clear in those months: it wasn’t the song that would change to fit the Dead; it was the Dead who would change to fit the song.

The early Dead took pride in their dense, unapproachable songs like Caution or New Potato Caboose that no one could sing along to. Mickey Hart boasted, “We were improvisationalists. We’d play for two or three hours, sing for 45 seconds off-key, and play for another hour. We were not one of your better vocal groups… In the old days, we used to play all this really strange stuff hour after hour, and we’d leave the Fillmore laughing, ‘I wonder if they can whistle any of those songs? Nooooo!’ Well, with Workingman’s Dead that changed. You could whistle our songs.”

The sudden change came as a welcome surprise to Hart. “I remember how warm and fuzzy it made me feel. The electric side was so fun and so stimulating and so rewarding and so energetic, and then all of a sudden we were starting to explore the soft side of the GD. And I thought, what a beautiful thing – acoustic guitars. It was cold out there in the electric, feedback GD world. It was a great cold, a wonderful freeze, full of exploratory moments and great vision, but here we were exploring the soft side…”

Garcia was equally pleased by Hunter’s progression in songwriting. In later years he wasn’t thrilled by the songs he and Hunter had put together in 1968:
“All those Aoxomoxoa songs, a lot of them are cumbersome to perform, overwritten… A lot of tunes on there are just packed with lyrics, or packed with musical changes that aren’t worth it… There isn’t a graceful way to perform them… Those were the first songs me and Hunter did together, and we didn’t have the craft of songwriting down. We did things that in retrospect turned out to be unwise, just from the point of view of playing songs that people enjoy…”
Garcia said in ’71, “When Hunter first started writing words for us originally, he was on his own trip and he was a poet. He was into the magical thing of words, definitely far out, definitely amazing. The early stuff he wrote that we tried to set to music was stiff becase it wasn’t really meant to be sung. After he got further and further into it, his craft improved… He’s gotten to be really a craftsman at it lately. In the last year or so, he’s gotten to really understand what it is to sing words… Certain things you can sing real gracefully.”
Garcia felt there was a big advantage to now having songs that could be sung gracefully – on Workingman’s Dead, “I liked all those tunes… I felt that they were all good songs. They were successful in the sense you could sing ‘em, and get off and enjoy singing ‘em.”
In fact, Garcia was so proud of now having a singable song, in fall ’69 he would make a point of repeatedly asking audiences to sing along to Dire Wolf!

Dire Wolf came when it was needed. Garcia’s interest in country & folk music had lain dormant during the early years of the Dead. But in the spring of ’69, the Dead started reintroducing a lot of old covers to their sets that they hadn’t done in a long time – mostly a mix of blues, R&B, folk, and country tunes. (There’s a list in my acoustic-sets post.)
Clearly the Dead were itching for new material. Most of the Aoxomoxoa songs were being played live, but they still sought some more diversity in the sets, more traditional-sounding tunes. Possibly the extended stay in the studio working on Aoxomoxoa limited Garcia’s songwriting time; but after the recording wrapped up around March/April ‘69, he started turning out new songs with Hunter.

More than that, Garcia started immersing himself in country music styles. In May 1969, Garcia started playing pedal steel with John Dawson.
Dawson recalled, “Garcia had stopped in Denver at a music store that had a bunch of pedal steels in it. So he bought one and brought it back. I bumped into him at the Dead’s practice place in Novato near Hamilton Air Force Base. I asked Jerry if I could come over to his house and listen to the steel guitar… I brought my guitar when I showed up so he would have something to accompany. I showed him a couple of tunes that I had been working on… Jerry set his steel up and accompanied what I was doing, building up his chops. It sounded good.”
“I had a gig at this coffeehouse in Menlo Park called the Underground, playing Wednesday evenings, and I invited Jerry to come down and join me. It was just the two of us – me on guitar and Jerry on pedal steel. I would play my own songs and I was also doing covers – Dylan stuff like I Shall Be Released, and Merle Haggard’s Mama Tried, and Del Reeves’ Diesel On My Tail.”
Around this duo, the New Riders would coalesce in June; by that time Garcia had taken to playing pedal steel occasionally in Dead shows as well, and debuted Dire Wolf. It was the start of a turn that would take the Dead deeper into country music over the next few years.

Years later, Garcia talked about the Dead’s entry into country music:
“We're kind of on the far fringe of it, but we're part of that California Bakersfield school of country and western rock 'n' roll – Buck Owens, Merle Haggard. We used to go see those bands and think, "Gee, those guys are great." [Buck Owens' guitarist] Don Rich was one of my favorites, I learned a lot of stuff from him.
So we took kind of the Buck Owens approach on Workingman's Dead. Some of the songs in there are direct tributes to that style of music, although they're not real obvious... But certainly there was a conscious decision. And then that, of course, led Hunter and me into the gradual discovery process of crafting a song, putting a song together that is singable, that has the thing of being able to communicate at once at several levels, and that you can feel good about singing…
Some songs wear well and some don't. You perform them a few times, their time is over, that's it. Others, the more you perform them the richer they get, the more resonant, until finally it doesn't matter what the words are about anymore… Country and western songs are so directly narrative, if you don't get the point the first time you play it, it's a failure.”

Immediately after Dire Wolf, Hunter & Garcia realized they were onto something, and continued the roll of folk & country-based songs.
Casey Jones, like Dupree, was an actual character transformed into folk legend in the early 20th century. Casey had been the subject of numerous old folk songs (including one, the ‘Ballad of Casey Jones,’ that Garcia later performed acoustically), but Hunter & Garcia decided to put their own slant on it. Garcia later said, “There’s a whole tradition of cocaine songs…then there’s a whole group of Casey Jones songs; so we thought it would be fun to combine these two traditional ideas and put them into one song.”
Hunter said the song was born when “I wrote the words ‘drivin’ that train high on cocaine, Casey Jones you better watch your speed’ on a sheet of paper in a notebook. Just an observation. Chanced on it sometime later and thought it'd make a great hook to a song, which I then wrote.”
Garcia recalled, “He had the words, and the words were just so exquisite, they were just so perfect that I just sat down with the words, picked up a guitar, and played the song. It just came out… I always thought it’s a pretty good picture of what cocaine is like: a little bit evil, and hard-edged, and also that sing-songy thing…”
Casey Jones started out live in June with a long, rambling jam intro, which took a couple months to be dropped entirely. The song became more hard-edged & driving as the year went on, losing its initial bounce - it took a while for Garcia to streamline his aimless solo. Versions of Casey Jones from this year tend to sound lumbering, with Constanten’s jaunty organ rather incongruous – it picked up a lot of steam once he left.
http://archive.org/details/gd69-06-22.sbd.kaplan.17892.sbeok.shnf

Hunter & Garcia then tried their hands at an old-style country ballad, High Time. Hunter said, “For High Time, I wanted a song like the kind of stuff I heard rolling out of the jukeboxes of bars my father frequented when I was a kid. Probably a subliminal Hank Williams influence…a late-‘40s sad feel.”
But later Garcia said that High Time was “the song that I think failed on that record… It’s a beautiful song, but I was just not able to sing it worth a shit.”
(McNally suggests that Hunter wrote it so Garcia could play pedal steel on it. Live, that wasn’t possible; but Garcia does add some pedal licks to the album cut.)
At any rate, High Time also went through some changes – live in ’69, it was very quiet, skeletal & wispy with a long instrumental intro, but was condensed to a more straightforward, poppy version for the album.
http://archive.org/details/gd1969-06-21.sbd-late.bove.2195.sbeok.shnf

Garcia soon went into the studio for a demo session of these three songs:
http://archive.org/details/gd1970-01-01.studio.smith.91324.sbeok.flac16 (Though dated 1970, I think this session is from May or June ’69 – the way Garcia is performing these songs sounds like it’s before he started playing them with the Dead.)
There are several versions of Dire Wolf – the session starts with an extended instrumental intro & false starts. Garcia uses the studio opportunity to overdub himself with a snappy second guitar accompaniment, to see how it sounds. (I’m pretty sure the second guitar is also Garcia, and it’s definitely an overdub.) He starts off the session with a 5-minute version where he runs through the verses twice, but this pales next to track 11, where he repeats all the verses five times in a mammoth 11-minute rendition!

Dire Wolf was first played live on June 7; High Time on June 21, and Casey Jones on June 22. As the new songs entered the setlists, some Aoxomoxoa songs left – the Dead stopped playing Dupree’s Diamond Blues and Mountains of the Moon in July, and Doin’ That Rag in September. (Cosmic Charlie hung on mainly as an epilogue to the Cryptical suite; and it’s hard to say whether China Cat would’ve survived if Rider had not been attached to it.)
It was a couple months later, in August, before the next new song emerged – this one a blues song written for Pigpen. Hunter recalled, “How I wrote Easy Wind was, I’d been listening to Robert Johnson and liking Delta blues an awful lot. So I sat down to write a blues a la Robert Johnson. I played it for Pigpen and he dug it, so he did it. My arrangement was a little bit closer to one of those slippin’ and slidin’ Robert Johnson-type songs because it was just me and a guitar. Then when the whole band got a hold of it, it changed a bit, as they always do. Still, a lot of that original style crept over into the band’s version.”
Even so, Hunter felt that “I wanted it to have the spark and forward drive of one of [Johnson’s] tunes. I failed, but I got another kind of song.”
http://archive.org/details/gd69-08-21.sbd.cotsman.13850.sbeok.shnf

The next batch of Workingman’s Dead songs didn’t arrive until November/December. By then, a new element was in play: the Dead had started hanging out with Crosby, Stills & Nash, and listening to their singing. As a result, some of these late-fall songs feature lots of trio singing. That’s another story; but note that the spring ’69 songs feature mainly just Garcia singing with some key Weir harmonies in the choruses.
It’s also worth mentioning that in spring ’69, as he’d done for most of Aoxomoxoa, Garcia had arranged the songs and brought them complete to the Dead, as finished products; he’d even recorded solo demos. For some of the fall songs, the procedure seems to have been much more elaborate as the whole band was involved in the song compositions – Lesh gets a songwriting credit on Cumberland Blues; Lesh and Weir on Mason’s Children. Garcia mentioned that “Uncle John’s Band was a major effort, as a musical piece. It’s one we worked on for a really long time, to get it working right. Cumberland Blues was also difficult in that sense… [A few months later] Truckin’ is a song that we assembled; it wasn’t natural and it didn’t flow and it wasn’t easy and we really labored over the bastard, all of us together.”
Hunter described the process: “One of the reasons Workingman’s Dead had such a nice, close sound to it is that we all met every day and worked on the material with acoustic guitars, just sat around and sang the songs. Phil would say, ‘Why don’t we use a G minor there instead of a C?’ that sort of thing, and a song would pop a little more into perspective. That’s a good band way of working a song out.”

Here is a brief history of how Dire Wolf progressed through 1969:

http://archive.org/details/gd69-06-07.sbd.kaplan.9074.sbeok.shnf - Garcia starts the show by playing it on acoustic, mostly solo. (Did the others even know the song yet?)
At the Bobby Ace show on 6/11/69, Dire Wolf was the only new song played among a bunch of country & Everlys covers. Alas, there’s no tape!
http://archive.org/details/gd69-06-14.sbd.skinner.5182.sbeok.shnf – closer to the later Dead versions, with Garcia on electric (turned down); Garcia still sings it by himself, and is accompanied only by Lesh and some light drums. Some moments of awkwardness when Garcia attempts to solo.
http://archive.org/details/gd1969-06-21.sbd-late.bove.2195.sbeok.shnf - a rethink! Now Weir plays acoustic and sings, while Garcia plays pedal steel.
http://archive.org/details/gd69-06-27.sbd.samaritano.20547.sbeok.shnf - the same, but jauntier. (Released on the Workingman’s Dead CD reissue.)
Dire Wolf was done the same way on 7/4; but by 7/11 they’d reverted back to Garcia on lead, and he even gives the song an intro: “This is a song about the dire wolf.”
http://archive.org/details/gd69-07-11.sbd.hanno.4644.sbeok.shnf - very energetic; also notable for Constanten playing in Dire Wolf for the first time. (Garcia still sings solo.)
We’re then missing a few weeks of Dire Wolves; the next one on 8/29 is much more subdued & sloppy, as the other players slowly join in. It’s also notable since Garcia sings the whole song twice in a row, which he’d do a few times.
http://archive.org/details/gd69-08-29.sbd.cotsman.8996.sbeok.shnf
Our next surviving Dire Wolf, from 9/27, is a poor audience recording, but is notable since it’s the first one where Weir sings harmony. (And Garcia sings the song twice through again.) Garcia’s guitar breaks are starting to get snappier.
http://archive.org/details/gd1969-09-27.early.aud.warner-jupillej.12064.sbeok.shnf
A month later, on 10/24, Dire Wolf has slowed down, and Constanten gives it a tootling organ intro, which makes the audience clap along. The song is much stronger now.
http://archive.org/details/gd69-10-24.aud.jools.19527.sbeok.shnf
On 10/26, in the wake of the Zodiac killer revelations hitting the newspapers, Garcia makes his first reference to that. It’s also his first request for the audience to sing along: “This song is dedicated to the Zodiac, and also to paranoid fantasies everywhere. And everybody can sing along if they feel up to it. It’s real easy to sing.”
http://archive.org/details/gd69-10-26.sbd.fink.9509.sbeok.shnf (The song drags - either the tape’s slow or the Dead were really tired that night. The next version on 10/31 is better.)
On 11/1 Garcia gives an unusual double intro to the song: “This is a song about the wolf’s at the door and what you do when the wolf comes to the door.” After singing the song once through, he adds, “It’s an easy song - you can all sing along really easy, man, it’s super easy – fun.” Then he sings it all again!
http://archive.org/details/gd69-11-01.sbd.cotsman.6298.sbeok.shnf
We’ll pass over the rather lethargic versions of the next month, to note Garcia’s various introductions. Generally at this time the Dead would vamp a long, bouncy two-chord intro to the song, encouraging people to clap along, and sometimes Garcia would ask them to sing as well. For instance –
12/5: “This is a song you can all sing along on.”
http://archive.org/details/gd69-12-05.sbd.cotsman.11256.sbeok.shnf
12/11: “You can sing along if you like; a little paranoid fantasy tune.”
http://archive.org/details/gd1969-12-11.fob.brady.motb.91109.sbeok.flac16
1/2/70: “This is a song with an easy chorus, and you can even sing with it – it’s fun!” (This version is much chirpier than the December renditions.)
http://archive.org/details/gd70-01-02.early-late.sbd.cotsman.18120.sbeok.shnf
1/16: “This is a song you can sing along with, a little paranoid fantasy song.”
http://archive.org/details/gd70-01-16.sbd.popi.7111.sbeok.shnf
1/23 has an amusing bit where, over the intro, Pigpen sings “gonna find her” a la Searchin’, and Garcia says, “This is 1970, Jack, not ’56!”
http://archive.org/details/gd70-01-23.sbd.fixed.connor.18153.sbeok.shnf
1/31: “Gonna do a little paranoid fantasy song for ya, which you can sing along with if you can pick up on the chorus; the chorus is real easy.”
http://archive.org/details/gd70-01-31.sbd.cotsman.7045.sbefail.shnf
2/1: “It’s a simple little song and I oughtta teach you the chorus to it… This is a little song you sing when you’re walking home alone and it’s dark, and there’s phantom figures stirring in the background. (Weir: “Things that go scrape in the night.”) The chorus goes like this…” Then he starts with the chorus.
http://archive.org/details/gd70-02-01.sbd.kaplan.9629.sbeok.shnf
After this, Garcia stops introducing the song pretty much, with perhaps some isolated exceptions like 5/7/70 – “Here’s a song you can all sing along with us. This is a little paranoid in the streets mantra - if you want to think of it that way.”

The song was tightened up a bit in 1970, as they stopped doing the long intros in March. (Perhaps an example of studio discipline rubbing off on the live shows.) A couple times it segued out of the Cryptical reprise: 2/11/70 and 4/15/70. Dire Wolf would also migrate between the acoustic & electric sets that year. Most of the acoustic examples on the Archive are in audience copies, but here’s one good SBD:
http://archive.org/details/gd70-07-14.sbd.cotsman.17815.sbeok.shnf

According to the Workingman’s CD liner notes, Dire Wolf was recorded on February 16, 1970. By this time they’d played it at least 40 times live, so it would not have been a hard song to do. (Apparently the album mixing wasn’t finished until April, though, even if the actual recording went quickly.) Garcia adds a chirpy pedal steel part to give it a country feel – actually a little reminiscent of his Teach Your Children licks (which had been recorded in October ’69). I wonder if, ever since June, Garcia had intended to record Dire Wolf with pedal steel?
The Rolling Stone review of the album noted that Dire Wolf “is a country song. Garcia’s steel guitar work is just right, and everyone sings along to the ‘Don’t murder me’ chorus. The country feeling of this album just adds to the warmth of it.”

Dire Wolf made an instant impression with audiences and reviewers, even when they hadn’t heard it before. Before the album release in June 1970, it was known as ‘Don’t Murder Me,’ and you see it referred to that way sometimes in show reviews. (Casey Jones was known as “the Train Song.”) The Cash Box review of the 9/27/69 show singled out one song from the Dead’s show: “Don't Murder Me, surely one of the finer blues renditions to be heard around these parts in some time.” Robert Christgau in his review of the 6/20/69 show called it “a brilliant original.”

Aside from a few lapses in the ‘70s, Dire Wolf remained in the Dead’s sets up to 1995. It’s probably a song that will never grow old, one that will always be accessible even to people who dislike or have never heard of the Dead. Its role as a turning-point in the Dead’s songwriting has not often been remarked – but after some earlier false starts, this is when the new, catchy campfire-song band emerged, and when they learned how to use traditional Americana in their songs.
Hunter said of this time, “It was pretty much a start in writing a narrative based lyric whose antecedents were folk, country and old timey – definitely not pop-based… Dire Wolf is probably as close to a definitive ‘Hunter’ lyric as you're gonna find. I believe it to be sui generis, opening up a field of personal mythos that proved fruitful over the years.”


See also:
http://artsites.ucsc.edu/GDead/agdl/direwolf.html (annotations)
ftp://gdead.berkeley.edu/pub/gdead/interviews/Hunter-SilbermanGoldenRoadInterview-2001.txt (I used many Hunter quotes from this interview)

September 4, 2012

How Keith Joined

On September 17, 1971, Pigpen went into the hospital, seriously ill and near death. The Dead were faced with a dilemma - just a month later, a midwest tour was to start in Minneapolis. Would they go on without a keyboard player? The decision was made quickly. From September 28, we have our first tape of their rehearsals with Keith Godchaux.
What happened in between?

From the Dead's perspective, Godchaux came out of nowhere. They had several other keyboard players they had been working with, who could have joined:
Ned Lagin had played on American Beauty, and guested with them at the Berkeley shows in August '71, along with several other '71 shows and backstage experiments. But as far as we know, he wasn't considered, or turned them down.
He mentions in his interview with Gans, "That fall I went back to Boston for graduate school. Brandeis gave me a fellowship that included all expenses, plus recording tape and all sorts of stuff to work with in their electronic music studio." Many college students wouldn't think twice between the option of another year at school or joining the Grateful Dead; but Lagin was on his own path. (Ironically, he became unhappy with Brandeis and soon dropped out, to resurface on a later Dead tour...)

Merl Saunders, of course, was playing with Garcia all the time, plus he had done studio overdubs on several songs for the Dead's 1971 live album that summer. But if they asked him, he was not interested. In later interviews, he sounds like he preferred the independence & freedom to work on his own projects.
When he was asked why he hadn't joined the band in 1990, he said, "I've always done my own thing. Before the Dead, I was working with Lionel Hampton, Muhammad Ali, Miles Davis. Why would I want to work in the Dead and just be the way they worked?" He was proud of doing music theater: "During the late '60s, I was doing a Broadway play in New York at the George Abbott Theatre. I was musical director for...Muhammad Ali. So those are the things that if I was with the Grateful Dead, I couldn't do. I played with Miles Davis for about a year. The Lionel Hampton Band. Did a lot of recording with Harry Belafonte and Lena Horne. I wanted to be myself and go the direction I wanted. Although I did record with the Dead. But when they asked me to come in and do their thing — to join them — I didn't really want to join the band. When it's Grateful Dead time you have to do a Grateful Dead thing."
His associations with these other people may have been very brief in real life, but it should be noted he was much prouder of his work with them than any work he could have done with the Dead.
http://www.digitalinterviews.com/digitalinterviews/views/saunders.shtml
http://www.musicbox-online.com/merlint1.html

Howard Wales had also played on several songs on American Beauty, and had jammed with the band back in '69, and had a close personal connection with Garcia - although he hadn't played the Matrix club dates with Garcia for a year. The Dead even planned to play a benefit with him at the Harding Theater on September 3-4, 1971:
http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2011/03/gd19710903-4-harding-theater-sf-ca.html

It's not known whether this benefit actually happened (probably not). But McNally tells the story of Wales auditioning with the Dead around this time. Weir (no doubt rolling his eyes) recalled: "We spurred him towards new heights of weirdness and he spurred us towards new heights of weirdness...much too weird much too quick...everybody backed off, scratched their head and said, 'Well, maybe, uh, next incarnation.'"
Apparently Wales's free-flowing weirdness, which Garcia enjoyed fitting into, was a bit too strong for a band that was now more focused on shorter 'normal' songs. Garcia would soon get the chance to play some more with Wales in the January '72 east-coast tour supporting the Hooteroll release. (I would imagine Lesh might also have liked to play with Wales more - back in '69 he had complained to Constanten: "Phil pointedly remarked how much he preferred Howard Wales's playing when he sat in with the band.")
On the other hand, from Wales' perspective, the Dead might have been a little too big for him. He had apparently stopped playing at the Matrix when too many people started coming to see Garcia! John Kahn remembered, "One night there were a lot of people out there, and Howard realized that that's not what he wanted to do, and he stopped doing it." Garcia also said, "Howard went off...periodically he gets this thing of where he just can't deal with the music world any more, and he just disappears."

Of course there were plenty of other keyboard players around San Francisco who might have auditioned. It was Godchaux, though, who showed up at just the right moment and grabbed the baton.
Keith & Donna Godchaux, who'd married in November 1970 shortly after her first Dead show, were both already Dead fans. Donna had gone to the 10/4/70 Winterland show (drug-free), taken by some deadhead friends, and had quite an experience. As she said in a Relix interview, "The Grateful Dead came on, and it was more than music...I just could not even believe it. I had not taken anything, and I was just blown away." She told Blair Jackson, "I couldn't sleep that night because I was so excited. I kept thinking, 'What did they do? How did they do that?' They weave a spell. There's this whole mystical energy that happens when you see the Grateful Dead and you're ready to receive it. I was ready to receive it, and I got it. So every opportunity, every rumor that we heard that they might be playing, there we were... We'd all go see the Dead together, or at the very least get together and listen to Dead records."
One of these friends of friends turned out to be Keith, who was also in these Dead listening parties. As he said in the Book of the Dead in '72, "I first saw them play with a bunch of my old lady's friends who were real Grateful Dead freaks. I went to a concert with them and saw something I didn't know could be really happening... It was not like a mind-blowing far out, just beautiful far out. Not exactly a choir of angels, but some incredibly holy, pure and beautiful spiritual light. From then on I was super turned-on that such a thing existed. This was about a year and a half ago, when I first met Donna... I knew I was related to them."

As it happened, they were introduced almost simultaneously to the Dead and to each other, and soon married. Getting connected with the Dead took a little longer, but surprisingly, in hindsight neither of them had any doubt it would happen.
Donna: "I had a dream that it was supposed to happen. It was the direction our lives had to go in. The only direction."
Keith: "It had to happen. I knew it had to happen because I had a vision... Flash: go talk to Garcia... I wasn't thinking about playing with them before the flash. I didn't even try to figure out what the flash was...I just followed it, not knowing what was going to happen. I wasn't playing with anyone else before that. Just playing cocktail lounges and clubs."

He played jazz piano & cocktail music in a Walnut Creek club, but was just starting to get into rock & roll. As Donna said, "Keith would practice his rock & roll piano at home, and I was basically supporting the two of us." He'd had no rock experience at all, and apparently listened to little rock music. Though he'd played with small jazz bands before, he was tired of bar gigs: "When other kids my age were going to dances and stuff, I was going to bars and playing... I was completely burned out on that. Then I floated for about six months, and then ended up playing with the Grateful Dead."
He'd played piano in club bands since he was 14: "I spent two years wearing dinner jackets and playing acoustic piano in country club bands and Dixieland groups... I also did piano bar gigs and put trios together to back singers in various places around the Bay Area...[playing] cocktail standards like Misty the way jazz musicians resentfully play a song that's popular - that frustrated space... I just wasn't into it... I was looking for something real to get involved with - which wouldn't necessarily be music." (Getting a job was out of the question: "I could never see working during the day, and nobody would hire me for anything, anyway.")
Considering what he would play later, it's surprising that when his jazz trio went "in the Chick Corea direction," Keith decided "I didn't really have any feeling for that type of music," and instead listened to big-band jazz, Bill Evans, and bebop: "the musicians the guys I was playing with were emulating... After gigs we'd go to somebody's house and listen to jazz until the sun came up. They dug turning me on to bebop and where it came from. So I understood those roots, but I never got taken on that kind of trip with rock and roll - and I never had the sense to take myself on it."
Until he met Donna, who turned him on to rock & roll. He sighed in '76, "I'm just now starting to learn about the type of music I'm playing now... I never played rock and roll before I started playing with the Grateful Dead." (Shades of Constanten!)
The interesting thing is that when he saw the Dead, he thought they needed more energy: "When I'd heard them play a couple of times, they really got me off; I was really high. But there were still a lot of ups and downs. Like [they] didn't quite have the strength to pull the load..."

As far as I know, all the accounts of Keith's joining the Dead come from Donna's story - as told to Blair Jackson for the Golden Road magazine in 1985. The turning point came during a visit to their friends Pete & Carol (who had introduced them and turned them on to the Dead, and so played a hidden part in Dead history).
"One day I came home from work and we went over to Pete's and he said, 'Let's listen to some Grateful Dead.' And Keith said, 'I don't want to listen to it. I want to play it.' And it was like, 'Yeahhh! That's it!' We were just so high and in love! We said to Pete & Carol, 'Hey guys, we're going to play with the Grateful Dead!' And we really believed it. We had no doubt.
We went home, looked in the paper and saw that Garcia's band was playing at the Keystone, so we went down, of course. At the break, Garcia walked by going backstage, so I grabbed him and said, 'Jerry, my husband and I have something very important to talk to you about.' And he said, 'Sure.'
...I didn't realize that everyone does that to him. So Garcia told us to come backstage, but we were both too scared, so we didn't. A few minutes later, Garcia came up and sat next to Keith, and I said, 'Honey, I think Garcia's hinting that he wants to talk to you. He's sitting right next to you.' He looked over at Jerry and looked back at me and dropped his head on the table and said, 'You're going to have to talk to my wife. I can't talk to you right now.' He was just too shy. He was very strong but he couldn't handle that sort of thing. So I said to Jerry, 'Well, Keith's your piano player, so I want your home telephone number so I can call you up and come to the next Grateful Dead practice.' And he believed me! He gave me his number.
The following Sunday the Dead were having a rehearsal and Jerry told us to come on down, so we did. But the band had forgotten to tell Jerry that the rehearsal had been called off, so Jerry was down there by himself. So Keith and Jerry played, and we played him some tapes of songs that I had written and was singing on. Then Jerry called Kreutzmann and got him to come down, and the three of them played some. Then the next day the Dead practiced, and by the end of that day Keith was on the payroll.
They asked me to sing right away, but somewhere in my ignorant wisdom I said I wanted to Keith to do it first, so he did two tours and I stayed home... So Keith and I went into it as green and innocent as we could be. I'd never sung before an audience before, really, and Keith had done only very small gigs."
She also pointed out to Relix that "Keith and I didn't know that Pigpen was sick or anything."
http://www.blairjackson.com/chapter_twelve_additions.htm
http://www.levity.com/gans/Donna.980328.html
http://www.tonibrownband.com/donnajg24-4.html

McNally has but a few details to add:
He notes (from a different Donna interview) that after meeting Jerry, she tried calling the Dead's office a few times with no luck - "she called the office and left several messages, but was ignored. Finally she got him at home." So it may have been a more circuitous path between the first meeting and the rehearsal, but in Donna's memory it was about a week.
He identifies the Dead's rehearsal space as "a warehouse off Francisco Boulevard in San Rafael." (The tapes of Keith's rehearsals are labeled as being from an unknown location in Santa Venetia - but Santa Venetia is basically a neighborhood of San Rafael, so it is likely the same place. Possibly they could have moved to a studio to tape some of the sessions, though.)
And he says that "Keith and Donna played Garcia a song they'd written, Every Song I Sing."
Donna told Blair Jackson, "When Keith and I first got together, we wrote some music that we wanted to be meaningful and spiritual. We wanted to write music to the Lord, because it didn't seem like there was much out there that was spiritual. But when we heard the Grateful Dead...it seemed to have such spiritual ties. It had a quality that was magical, ethereal, spiritual, and that's part of what was so attractive about it."
What's interesting here is that they're playing Garcia THEIR music, in order to convince him of their rightness for the band. And there does seem to have been a spiritual tie - this moment prefigures not just Keith's time with the Dead, but the later Keith & Donna band with Garcia sitting in, and the Garcia Band circa '76 with Keith & Donna, bringing gospel music into the shows. (I think she has mentioned how she, Keith & Jerry would listen to lots of gospel music at home circa '76.) So they hit Garcia with just the right note.

Blair Jackson observes that Keith had also played on a James & the Good Brothers record (a band the Dead were friends with) - Kreutzmann played drums on one track, and the album was recorded by Betty Cantor, so Keith may not have been a complete unknown to Garcia. (On the other hand, Keith is not mentioned in the album credits, so it's a mystery where Jackson got this info.)

In early 1972, the Dead had a little promotional flurry, releasing a few band biographies for the press & fans. These offer a less detailed, but slightly different course of events. The Dead's spring '72 newsletter recounted:
"Pigpen was extremely ill, and unable to travel. Jerry had about this same time met Keith Godchaux, a piano player he and Billy had jammed with at Keystone Korner, a small club in San Francisco. With Pigpen sick, three major United States tours facing them, and the desire to have another good musician to add to their music, Keith was asked to join."

Promo bios of each of the bandmembers released at the same time include this about Keith:
"After jamming with Jerry and Billy at a small club, and getting together with the Dead to work out some tunes, he joined the band in September of 1971."
Keith was also quoted in the Book of the Dead: "We went into this club in San Francisco where Garcia was playing, and just talked to him. A couple of days later I was playing with him and Bill, and it just sort of came together."

While these bios are brief and lacking in detail (Donna's role is not mentioned at all), they were written only a few months later, so they should be taken into account.
The first surprise is to read that Keith had jammed with Jerry & Bill at the Keystone. This seems to have entirely slipped Donna's memory! Is it possible there was a "lost" Jerry & Keith jam at the Keystone sometime in September '71?
(Perhaps someone mixed up the Keystone and the rehearsal space - either way, Jerry & Bill jammed with Keith before the rest of the band did.)
It's also a curious detail that Keith initially got with the Dead "to work out some tunes." This is frustratingly vague - it may mean nothing; or it may mean that the initial intention was not to actually join the Dead.
Keith confirms that no time passed between meeting and playing: "a couple of days later..." This is even briefer than in Donna's account!

This brings up the question of just which was the Keystone show where Keith & Donna met Garcia. He had a couple shows with Saunders in this month:
Tuesday, Aug 31
Thursday, Sept 16
The 16th has been considered the most likely date, since it's closest to Keith's first rehearsals. Note that Pigpen went into the hospital the next day. Donna remembered the Dead rehearsal being scheduled for "the following Sunday," but the Dead canceled and only Jerry came. I have to think that, if it was Sunday the 19th, due to the sudden turmoil of Pigpen's illness, it seems unlikely Jerry & Bill would have jammed with anyone that day. (It also may explain why Donna had a hard time reaching Jerry on the phone that week, though there doesn't seem enough time for multiple phone calls.)
But note: the jerrysite lists the New Riders playing the Friends & Relations Hall in San Francisco on Sept 17-19, which wouldn't preclude daytime rehearsals. And Keith did say he played with Garcia just a couple days after meeting him.
Or, if Donna's memory is right, possibly Sunday the 26th was the first day Keith played with Jerry. This seems superhuman, though - it means his first day with the full Dead would have been the 27th. Our first rehearsal tape comes from the 28th, and it by no means sounds like Keith's second day with the band. In fact, it sounds like he's already settled in. (Not only that, it would mean they lost no time in taping rehearsals with the new guy, in fact starting immediately. Pretty speedy, for the Dead!)

So while it's possible that Keith only started playing with the Dead near the end of the month, I think it's also possible that he'd met Garcia on 8/31, and perhaps even jammed with him & Kreutzmann a time or two at Keystone Korner; and rehearsals may have started earlier than we think. The Dead may have been considering a new keyboard player even before Pigpen succumbed, and if Keith had already been playing with Garcia informally, their next candidate was right in front of them. (We don't know how poor Pigpen's health was in early September, but the Dead may have been aware before 9/17 that he was in decline.)
Or perhaps the Dead initially saw Keith as a temporary stand-in, a Hornsby-like figure until Pigpen could be eased back in. It would've become obvious pretty soon, though, that Keith was born to play with the Dead.
Or, the traditional story could be true: the Dead suddenly discovered after the 17th that they needed a new player; Garcia met one that very week, and they snatched him up immediately; and he learned all their songs in a week or less. Serendipity in action...

A closer listen may reveal more, but for now it sounds to me like there is not one attempt to teach Keith a single new song in these rehearsal tapes, only practiced run-throughs of already-learned songs. Very few songs even stumble or break down. At least when they rolled the tapes, Keith was ready to go on every song. This suggests that at the least, there were more than one or two days of rehearsal before these tapes were made.
Admittedly, Keith was quite familiar with the Dead's music before playing with them; also, some of these songs were as new to the Dead as they were to Keith!
Lesh was quite impressed with Keith: "He was so brilliant at the beginning. That guy had it all, he could play anything... It's like he came forth fully grown. He didn't have to work his way into it."
Lesh wrote in his book that in the first rehearsal, "all through the afternoon we played a whole raft of Grateful Dead tunes, old and new. That whole day, Keith never put a foot (or a finger) wrong. Even though he'd never played any Grateful Dead tunes before...[he] picked up the songs practically the first time through...everything he played fit perfectly in the spaces between [our] parts."
Kreutzmann later told Blair Jackson, "I loved his playing. I remember when we auditioned him. Jerry asked him to come down to our old studio and the two of us threw every curveball we could, but he was right on top of every improvised change. We just danced right along on top. That's when I knew he'd be great for the band. He was so inventive - he played some jazz stuff and free music that was just incredible. He had a heart of music."
Manager Jon McIntire remembered when he first heard about Keith: "I saw Garcia and asked him what it was about, and he shook his head, very amazed, and said, 'Well, this guy came along and said he was our piano player. And he was.'"

Surprisingly to anyone who ever saw him, Keith said in '72 that "what I've contributed to the band as a whole is an added amount of energy which they needed, for my taste... I have a super amount of energy. I'm just a wired-up person and I relate to music super-energetically... The part of their music which I played fit in perfectly, like a part of a puzzle."

It's notable that Keith plays both piano and organ equally during the rehearsals. (Possibly the first instrument he played with Garcia was the organ, though I don't think Keith had any experience with it; at any rate, organ was the Dead's first choice for many of the new songs.) Over the course of the tour, though, he gradually dropped the organ altogether, and played it only rarely thereafter. When he is on piano during these rehearsals, the honky-tonk sound from many fall '71 shows is very clear.

Our tapes come from several days - they're cassette copies with variable mixes and shifty sound quality. (Note that on some tracks Keith can hardly be heard, being too low in the mix.)
http://archive.org/details/gd71-09-29.sbd.cousinit.16891.sbeok.shnf - Keith mostly on organ
http://archive.org/details/gd71-09-30.sbd.cousinit.18109.sbeok.shnf - Keith mostly on piano
http://archive.org/details/gd71-10-01.sbd.rehearsal.cousinit.16896.sbefail.shnf - very little Keith can be heard
http://archive.org/details/gd71-09-xx.sbd.unknown.16897.sbeok.shnf - compilation; Keith mixed up on some tracks
http://archive.org/details/gd1971-09-29.unsurpassed-masters-vol4-vol6.116951.flac16 - bootleg comp; different mixes, sometimes very trebley, but Keith comes out more (for instance Brokedown #2, where he takes over)

The Keith highlight is the first few tracks of 9/30, with Keith in full barrelhouse mode. It's also interesting to hear him on organ on songs like Jack Straw, Tennessee Jed & Truckin' on 9/29. (There's also an oddly assertive moment before Cold Rain & Snow on the compilation, where Keith channels Keith Jarrett for a little solo riffing.)
There are almost no jams here, just straight songs (there is a short, interesting band jam on 10/1, and a rehearsal of the Uncle John's jam on 9/29). I would guess there must have been more rehearsals over the next couple weeks (they had to have tried out some of the 'deep' jams), but no more tapes have come forth. Perhaps the Dead did not bother recording more improvisational jams.

We know Garcia gave Keith a batch of live tapes that had been recorded at the August shows, so Keith would also have been able to listen & practice the songs at home before his 10/19/71 live debut. Not that he did!
From a note on the Dick's Picks 35 "Houseboat Tapes": "In the late summer of 1971, just before Keith Godchaux began rehearsals with the Dead, Garcia handed him a big box of tapes and said, "Here, this is our most recent tour. Learn our music." The irony was that Donna Jean doubts mightily Keith ever bothered to listen to them - he'd never listened to the Dead all that much before he auditioned... In any case, he left the tapes on his parents' houseboat in Alameda, and there they stayed."
In fact, in one interview with Lemieux it was speculated that Keith never even took the reels out of their box. But it makes sense - when you can rehearse with the band each day, there's little need to check out their tapes.

So Pigpen stayed at home until December, while Keith went out and surprised Dead audiences. (Some were thrilled, others dismayed.) This was the second time Pigpen had been replaced by another player; but he probably took it in stride, as he had more serious things to worry about. He was still eager to rejoin the Dead, though, and went back on tour perhaps sooner than was wise. Lesh later felt guilty about this: "It would have been better for him if we'd just canceled the tour and let him recover all his strength at his own pace... It was agreed that Pig would rejoin the band when he felt up to it. Without realizing it, we put a lot of pressure on him to hurry up and get better."
That was the band's pattern, though, as the future would reveal - they wouldn't cancel a tour no matter who was dead or dying. (And though no one knew it, Pigpen was likely beyond recovery by that point anyway.) Though he didn't necessarily live for the road, Pigpen's identity was bound up with the band, and he lashed himself to their mast as long as he could, whatever the cost to himself.
He would not be alone. The years on tour wouldn't be kind to Keith either - indeed, the damage Dead keyboardists inflicted on themselves would become well-known - but Keith started out feeling cosmically optimistic. "The Dead's music is absolutely 100% positive influence. When I met them, I knew these were people I could trust with my head. They would never do anything which would affect me negatively... They are righteous people."

August 1, 2012

Dead Sources

All has not been quiet on the blogging front! Preparations have been going on behind the scenes, and I have started a new site to go along with this one:
http://deadsources.blogspot.com/

I've often lamented how many newspaper or magazine articles about the Dead from the early days are now quite inaccessible or hard to find. Aside from their value as source material on the band's history, it's often interesting to see how the band was perceived by the media at the time, or how a show was described by reviewers who were there. But very few of these pieces have been reprinted - the Grateful Dead have no "Press Reports" book like some other bands have.

So the idea behind Dead Sources is to collect & transcribe as many important articles from roughly the first ten years of the Dead as I can find. There are many different kinds of pieces - news reports, show reviews, album reviews, some interviews, a letter or two, even a few ads or promo materials. My main rule is that each piece be interesting & informative in some way. (On the other hand, things like generic journalistic recaps of the band's history, or brief upcoming show announcements, I'll try to avoid.)

The Dead.net archive has been invaluable, but of course is very incomplete. And in terms of finding, searching, reading or quoting an article, a typed text is much more accessible & useful than an image scan (though it's another step away from "the source").
When taken from a scan, the articles are very faithfully transcribed. (Some glaring typos are fixed, but some I leave in.)
I also gladly include pieces that are already up elsewhere on the Web, with links to the original locations. My principle is that duplication is far better than watching an article disappear when its website changes or goes down. And there are some sources from, say, underground or college newspapers that have been put online, but are little-known or not easily found in any case.

I've also added many of my own comments to the articles, pointing out things that struck me, or some obvious errors.

It is a site in progress - so far I've gone mostly chronologically, up through 1971. There are many more pieces to include, and numerous articles or reviews I'd still like to find.
So, if you collect such things, or have found old articles somewhere online that I've overlooked, please let me know or leave a comment!

July 13, 2012

Marty Weinberg

*
PROLOGUE

Tape collector Harvey Lubar got to meet Marty Weinberg in late 1972. By that time, Weinberg was already famed for his tapes – he was “known as the Legendary Marty, and his tapes as Marty Tapes.” In fact, Lubar used his collection of Weinberg’s tapes to start the Hell’s Honkies Tape Club, one of the first Dead tape exchanges, through which he met other tapers like Jerry Moore & Les Kippel. Finally, he was able to meet Weinberg himself:

“Mark [Barkan] had spoken to Marty and gotten an invitation for us to visit. Marty had seen every show that the Dead ever performed in NYC and told Mark flat out that the two Pavilion shows [in July ‘69] were, without a doubt, the best shows he’d ever seen. Getting to see Marty was no small feat, and for the week preceding our visit, it was all we could talk about!…
Several things stand out from that one-time meeting with Marty: first was the fact that the man played his music LOUD. Mark and I were approximately 12 feet from the speakers, and although we were sitting on the floor next to each other we couldn’t communicate. Of course, when you were listening to some of the greatest Grateful Dead tapes ever, there wasn’t much to say.
He started by playing an absolutely perfect quality tape of the San Diego acoustic sets. Unlike everybody else’s copy, muddy in one channel, Marty’s was simply perfect. He played for us a perfect soundboard tape of a show listed as Hollywod Bowl 1969 with Saint Stephen>drums>Other One>Cosmic Charlie, and also a Carousel Ballroom tape from 1968 with a 25-minute Dancing in the Street. His audience tape of 7/11/70 sounded like a front-of-board DAT tape made today.
The reels went on and on; Marty had an unbelievable collection, although most of his tapes have since vanished. Soon after the meeting, Marty moved. We never did get any tapes from him.”
(Taping Compendium p.24)


1969

Weinberg had been taping the Dead’s NYC shows since mid-1969.
“I’m fairly sure I saw them…at one free concert in Tompkins Square Park [6/1/67]; but the memory is extremely fuzzy... The first show that I saw that I absolutely 100% recall, was in June [‘69] at the Fillmore. I saw the Saturday night late show, which was a great show.”
http://archive.org/details/gd1969-06-21.sbd-late.bove.2195.sbeok.shnf

“There were two other acts; I don’t remember who the first act was [it was the Buddy Miles Express], but the other act was the Savoy Brown Blues Band. Those guys were into the British glam, blues-rocker, grit kind of thing, but they were actually very cool…
The great thing was that at the Saturday night show, Phil announced, ‘Now we can tell you guys. Bill made sure we’re not allowed to do this until now, but we are going to play tomorrow in Central Park.’" [Bill Graham forbid bands from advertising other shows in the area when they played the Fillmores.]

"They played the next day in Central Park [6/22/69], and that was a great show. That was the first recording I ever made, which was terrible, by the way. I made the recording on a cheap Sony cassette recorder… The show was at the band shell in Central Park. It started at noon and it was a beautiful Sunday. I remember seeing them the night before and thinking, ‘These guys are just amazing. I want to record this show because the album doesn’t have anything of this on it, and I really want to keep this.’ [Up til then Anthem of the Sun was the most recent Dead album; but Aoxomoxoa was released on 6/20. The Dead played hardly anything from either album at either show.] So I got this little mono Sony cassette recorder that had a built-in microphone. It was terrible.”

http://archive.org/details/gd69-06-22.aud.hanno.8836.sbefail.shnf (This is possibly Weinberg’s tape – it’s actually decent, clear quality, other than the noisy crowd and the cut Dark Star. Note that the tape is stopped between songs, in common with most of Weinberg’s tapes.)

(According to deadlists, Weinberg taped the 6/21 early show – a typically murky Fillmore East AUD:
http://archive.org/details/gd1969-06-21.aud-early.cotsman.8995.sbeok.shnf
It’s possible, but it conflicts with his memory. He says he attended the late show, and he did not yet have the Uher deck. The taper speaks a bit before the encore (“back by popular demand”) and, though debatable, I don’t think he sounds like Weinberg. There were other tapers in NYC at the time – for instance our September ’69 tapes may come from three or four separate tapers.)

Interestingly, Weinberg says of the Central Park show, “The Airplane was there, and there was another band. I don’t know why the Airplane was there, because they weren’t at the Fillmore; I guess they were in the city somewhere else. And there was someone else there as well; it might have been Quicksilver.”
I believe Weinberg is remembering the 5/5/68 Central Park show, and that may have been the first show he saw. It seems strange that if he’d seen the Dead in June ’67, he wouldn’t have caught them for another two years. Also, the Airplane were not at the 6/22/69 show, but they did play with the Dead on 5/5/68, along with the Butterfield Blues Band. (The Airplane had played the Fillmore on 5/4/68, and announced the free park show there.)

In 1969, Weinberg was 15 or 16 years old, and was in high school. “Nobody else was taping. My friends just thought it was weird that I’d brought this tape recorder. ‘Why bother to take this tape recorder, just enjoy.’ And I’m screwing around with this tape machine and they’re saying, ‘Come on.’ I just said, ‘OK, I’m going to get this right.’ And it was a horrible recording, it was terrible…
My motive was very direct: ‘I’d like to remember this music because it’s so fleeting – how would I know that this wasn’t it?…I might not see these guys again for a long while.’ Those were the days when the Dead were not playing in New York every month. It was a big deal, because I think it was the first time they played in New York that year…” [Actually, the Dead had played two Fillmore East shows back in February; but since they were on a Tuesday & Wednesday, school nights, Weinberg must have missed those!]

He then went to the NY State Pavilion shows on July 11 & 12. “They were great shows, not because they were the best musically, but they were really fun places… They played two nights, and it was a very special feeling, a very tripped-out scene in the audience. It was very much the Be-In feel. Everyone loved the Dead, but everyone also loved being there. It was a very enjoyable feeling… It was an open place, it was outside, and it was in a very weird, surreal, space-age kind of place.”
Audience tapes were made of the two shows, but I’m not sure if they are Weinberg’s. (The 7/11 AUD circulates only as a patch in Alligator>drums on the SBD tape; the 7/12 AUD is the first half of the show.)
http://archive.org/details/gd69-07-11.sbd.hanno.4644.sbeok.shnf
http://archive.org/details/gd69-07-12.sbd-aud.hanno.4645.sbeok.shnf

(Robert Christgau also praised the Fillmore East & State Pavilion shows in a notable article for the New York Times: http://www.robertchristgau.com/xg/news/grateful-69.php )

Disappointed with his initial attempt at taping, Weinberg soon set about getting better equipment, and bought a Uher 4000L mono reel-to-reel, with an AKG D190E microphone. (There’s a photo of his tapedeck in the Taping Compendium, p.22; you can see how small it is.)
“I practiced for hours on end carrying it so that no one would notice… Sneaking it in was a challenge. The Fillmore was where I did a lot of my recording in the early days, and they were looking out for anything & everything. Bottles and cans were the main target, but also recording equipment was not permitted. I saw people trying to get into the Fillmore that would try to bring a little cassette recorder. They were bounced. ‘Don’t bring that in here. Dump that in your car or leave it somewhere, but you aren’t bringing that in here.’ They were very serious at the Fillmore. So I had to work out this technique of carrying this huge thing in, and it was not easy…”
His technique was to dangle the tapedeck behind his back, under his coat. “I got in for years like that. And never was I caught.”

Things were never easy for tapers, and there’s no telling how many shows we’ve lost because the would-be tapers got caught. “No one wanted to allow it to happen, they just didn’t like it. It was as simple as that. You had to be very, very, very careful. And I never had a problem, but remember, I was stealthier… I never had any issues with bringing in equipment, maybe because I really thought it out a lot more than most people. The entire time I did it, it was more than just a frivolous act; it was a focused thing to do. From the microphones, to the equipment, to the way I did it, was all very focused. I gave it a lot of thought… I think a lot of people just recorded because it was fun, and they weren’t as careful, and so they got caught.”

And so, his taping continued. “I believe I taped a show in September ’69; I taped the show at the Café au Go Go. That was the first place I brought the machine. There were two shows there and I brought the machine to one of the shows. I could have brought a Revox in; they couldn’t care less what I brought in there. Café au Go Go was the size of two living rooms… I don’t think it was a great show…
When you left the Café au Go Go, you walked out through the back and you hung with the band for a few minutes. They would all be sitting there hanging out… TC was still with the band, and Pig wasn’t doing much on stage, just singing a little. The rest of the guys seemed to be in pretty good spirits. During the show, I remember them saying to…people who were sitting in the front row, ‘You guys made a really big mistake…’ [Jerry said,] ‘You’re not going to hear anything.’ Right in front of the stage, the sound was pretty bad. And I was smart enough to sit towards the rear in the corner. But I made some recordings there, and I seem to remember going to see them one of the nights at the Fillmore as well… I recorded one of those shows.”

There are a few incomplete audience tapes from that run:
9/26/69 Fillmore East early show (44 minutes)
9/27/69 Fillmore East early show (46 minutes)
9/29/69 Café au Go Go early show (42 minutes)
9/30/69 Café au Go Go early show (32 minutes)
http://archive.org/details/gd69-09-26.aud.hanno.14856.sbeok.shnf
http://archive.org/details/gd69-09-27.aud.hanno.14857.sbeok.shnf
http://archive.org/details/gd69-09-29.aud.early.hollister.79.sbeok.shnf
http://archive.org/details/gd69-09-30.aud.early.hollister.80.sbeok.shnf
It’s not known which, if any of these are Weinberg’s. They vary a lot in quality – the 9/27 Fillmore show sounds much better than the 9/26 tape, sounding bright & clear while 9/26 is very muddy, so they’re probably from two different tapers. 9/30 is not Weinberg’s, since it is in stereo (far better sound than the 9/29 show or most other ’69 AUDs, though also having low vocals) – so there seem to be at least three tapers involved. Ironically with this set of tapes, the better the music, the lower the quality!
It is a shame that Weinberg at this point was not trying to tape every show as he would the next year, or that the tapers here did not capture more complete shows (or copy them if they did). With multiple tapers at these shows, it’s sad how much of the music this week apparently didn’t get taped at all! (Particularly since this run falls in one of the Dead’s SBD gaps.)
Also note how, as with the 6/21 show, only the early shows were taped for some godforsaken reason. Apparently it took a while for New Yorkers to catch on…

Weinberg worked on improving his tapes. “I didn’t like the fact that I had the audience noise, I had to work on that; but I was pretty pleased. The first couple of recordings were done at 3 ¾ [speed] because I thought I could get an hour a side…but I didn’t like the quality… They were just a little muddier and didn’t have the crispness on the high end. The 7 ½s really were crisp…there was a tremendous difference in frequency response & signal-to-noise ratio when going at 7 ½… I said, ‘I’ve really got to get good quality, screw it. I missed a little here & there [in extra reel flips], but if I’m going to do this, the quality’s got to be really good.’” So he switched to taping at 7 ½ speed in 1970, on 5-inch reels.
“It was also a matter of getting the best seats. In the end, I found that the very best seats were stage left, about six rows back – on Jerry’s side. His amplifiers were in front, so I got him a little better. I had to be near the stage; you don’t want to be in the center because you didn’t get enough of the PA and you didn’t get much of the vocals, which gave it an out-of-balance sound.”

It’s been said that one of Weinberg’s characteristics as a taper was “a heavy hand on the pause button.” His habit was to stop the tape between songs, cutting out all the dead air & stage banter – many songs tend to be missing the first few notes as he restarted the tape. This was a common practice among tapers at the time, as they tried to save tape & save battery-power. (Weinberg also might not have wanted to waste tape on tuning or crowd noise.) This is one way to distinguish his tapes from other tapers who left their reels running.


1970

The Dead returned to the Fillmore East in January 1970, but no audience tapes are known. Weinberg saw the February shows there with the Allmans, though; he particularly remembered the 2/14 show that John Zacherle introduced.
There are good audience tapes of the 2/11 late and 2/13 early shows, but we don’t know if they’re Weinberg’s.
http://archive.org/details/gd1970-02-11.late-set2.aud.smith.99152.sbeok.flac16 (This one may be Weinberg’s – note the tape pauses between songs. It was also found on a Buddy Miller reel that included part of 6/24/70.)
http://archive.org/details/gd1970-02-13.early.aud.unknown.holmes-Oleynick.109535.sbeok.flac16 (This is probably a different taper – note that the tape is left running between songs, and that it’s just the early show again.)

Weinberg went to the Dead’s first Capitol Theater shows in Port Chester in March. He remembers them as “wonderful; the acoustic sets were great… The Capitol Theater was a great, great place.”
The Port Chester audience was different from the Fillmore audience. “Everything was laid back. The Dead were well-known; they were not famous, but they had a cult audience in the East that would go to the shows. It wasn’t a rabid audience… There was a troupe of people that went to see every show. You knew them by sight.”
However, Weinberg’s friends were not as dedicated to going to Dead shows as he was: “I was there all by myself, I wasn’t there with any of my friends. They were like, ‘Fuck, you’re going to four shows?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Well, we’re not going to pay money to go to four shows. It’s all the way up there in suburbia.’” (For later Port Chester shows, he managed to bring company.)
He says he taped these; unfortunately, no audience tapes survive of the two shows on 3/20 (except for part of Ken Lee’s tape, used to patch the late show).
The great stereo tape of the 3/21 shows is Ken Lee’s. There is an alternate AUD of the 3/21 late show that’s just recently surfaced, which could be Weinberg’s.
http://archive.org/details/gd1970-03-21.late.aud.coolsonics.altsource.118670.flac16

It was easier to tape at the Capitol Theater than the Fillmore, since the crew there did not check so vigilantly for tape recorders. (And as we now know, one of the security crew there was taping the shows himself!) “I could be a little looser with holding the mic, because they weren’t as paranoid in there. Getting in, I still had to be cool, because they were looking for anything. But once I was in the theater, I could hold the mic; and actually, at one of the shows, I had it in my hat…and that came out pretty well. At the Fillmore, I had to be very careful holding the mic…not looking like I’m holding a mic, so it was always in my hand. The angles weren’t always perfect, so you get a little phasing.” Whereas at the Capitol Theater, “I was really able to position myself perfectly.”

No audience tapes are known for the 5/15/70 Fillmore shows. “I went to one of them, and I’m sure any show I went to I recorded, but they weren’t fabulous shows. I don’t have any great memory of those shows as being particularly wonderful.”
In contrast, the 6/24/70 Capitol Theater shows “were definitely great shows.” (We don’t have Weinberg’s tape of the early 6/24 show, but another taper captured it in good stereo; that show is lesser-known than the famous late show and used to be misdated as 3/20. And in the case of the late show, Ken Lee’s tape has become the standard.)

Weinberg then went to the July 9-12 run at the Fillmore East – tapes survive of the last three nights. “The last show there was one of the great shows of all time, and I couldn’t record it because I had an issue and I couldn’t work it out. [Otherwise] I taped every night I was there… Those were great shows, those were just wonderful.”
It’s too bad no tapes of the 7/9 show survive – fortunately, someone else managed to tape the 7/12 show (which is our “7/11” tape, the show ending with the huge Viola Lee Blues). Another taper also managed to catch 7/11 (our “7/12” tape), though sadly none of these recordings are very good quality.

Weinberg was unaware of other tapers at these shows. “I never saw anyone else taping in ’69 and ’70… I didn’t notice, at least. They could have been as quiet as I was… At the later Fillmore shows in ’71, yes… I saw a bunch of people regularly being told, ‘What you got there? Get out of here.’”
Fortunately, other people like Jack Toner did manage to tape some of the Fillmore shows independently. Nonetheless, if it wasn’t for the Fillmore crew secretly taping the SBDs, our record of the Fillmore ’70 shows would be very poor.

Weinberg then taped the September 17-20 run at the Fillmore East, though only portions of his tapes now survive. (He also says, “There’s nothing of the shows that I particularly remember as being extraordinary.” He remembers Pigpen in the 9/19 Lovelight: “Pigpen was totally drunk. He was cursing and going crazy, he went out into the audience…the band was trying to hold him back. He was talking to people and he was trying to pick up this woman…”)

Weinberg has fond memories of the November 5-8 run at the Capitol Theater. “In many ways, those shows were the best… The audience was very sophisticated. At those shows…there wasn’t a lot of clapping at weird times. It was an older audience, and the people listened… I was sitting in the first few rows of the theater with a lot of people who were true believers, who went to a lot of shows, and who really understood the better shows… You had a group of people in the first twenty rows that knew a good show, who were not going to scream and cheer for every song. This was a fairly selective audience. When the Dead played some flat songs, the people didn’t go berserk.”
The last show on 11/8 particularly stood out for Weinberg. He passed up a note for Jerry requesting Morning Dew, and of course it was the first song of the electric set. “It was a very magical show.”

The Dead played quite a few shows in New York in the following weeks: the Action House on November 9-10, the Rock Palace on November 11-14, the Fillmore East on the 16th, and up in Rochester on the 20th.
We do not have Weinberg’s tapes for any of these shows. (There are AUD tapes of the 9th, 11th, and 20th, done by other tapers.) He did not go to the Action House shows, or the Rochester show, but did make it to the Hell’s Angels benefit at the Anderson Theater on Nov 23. (No tape is known.)
He also went to the Rock Palace shows, but didn’t remember much about those: “The Rock Palace was a small, sleazy place… Did they play four nights there?… I recorded the nights I was there… I do remember those were the shows that Jack Casady and Jorma were at… I disliked [Papa John Creach] a lot, he was terrible. But Jack and Jorma were there, that I do remember. And they were not particularly good.”
It’s lamentable that if Weinberg taped the Rock Palace shows, the tapes don’t survive. (Our tape of 11/11 is terrible.) He apparently remembers the 11/11 show, though Jack & Jorma may have shown up on other nights as well.

There is a fragment of an AUD said to come from the Fillmore 11/16 show (part of a Good Lovin’ with Jorma), though it’s not on the Archive. We don’t know if Weinberg was at this show (it was not advertised or announced ahead of time, so he may not have known about it – but fortunately we have a SBD tape).
One snippet of a fall 1970 show survives from his tapes, though it’s not circulating. The setlist includes: Till the Morning Comes, China>Rider, Mama Tried & Good Lovin’. It could possibly be from a Rock Palace show; but until we can hear it, not much can be said.
(An unidentified Good Lovin’ was also found on his 7/11/70 master reel, but no one knew where it came from and it hasn’t appeared online.)

There were a bunch of other tapers around that year starting to discover the Dead & make their own tapes, people like Les Kippel, R.T. Carlyle, and Ed Perlstein, all of whom started taping at the Fillmore or Capitol in 1970. Their first attempts (like Weinberg’s) tended to come out very badly due to cheap poor-quality equipment, recording more audience noise than music, so the songs could barely be made out. And like Weinberg, all were unaware of each other at first – as Kippel said, “I didn’t have any tapes at the time; I didn’t know anyone taping shows… It was lonely, very lonely.”
With NYC apparently crawling with tapers, it’s a good question why we don’t have even more AUDs from ’69-71 than we have. There may be a few reasons. A taper might be caught & unable to record the show he went to. Or the tape might turn out unlistenable & not worth keeping or trading. Back then most tapers weren’t likely to know anyone to trade to anyway, since there was no trading scene yet, and no way to spread the tape except to friends. Or, sometimes later the SBD tape of the show might emerge, casting the AUD tape out of circulation. (This happened with some Fillmore East shows.) There’s also the matter of scheduling or interest – not every taper can hit every show, if the Dead were playing several nights in town; and not everyone would want to.
Due to the later behavior of Dead tapers, it’s hard to believe that if someone was going to tape one Dead show, he wouldn’t keep going & try to tape as many as he could. But that wasn’t the pattern back then – that hardcore interest in taping seems not to have been established yet. As we’ve seen, it was rare for a taper to record more than one show in any given run. (The same was true in San Francisco.) As far as we know, Weinberg was unique in trying to tape so many repeated Dead shows that early.


1971

Weinberg went to the Capitol Theater run on February 18-24, 1971, and taped at least some of those shows. These were the ESP experiment shows: “They kept saying the guy’s name – there was some person he was supposed to be communicating with, and at the beginning of the show, they would say something about it… They had all this black & white [images] on the light show; you’re talking to this guy, and you’re supposed to communicate to him. He was far away.” [The idea was that the audience would mentally transmit the images on the screen to the guy in the lab; though the idea may not have gotten across!]
“Those were pretty good shows, but they were not the same as the shows in November… I remember Jerry coming out the second night and saying, ‘I don’t think Mickey is going to be here tonight; it’s pretty weird.’ And people were asking, ‘What’s pretty weird? Where’s Mickey?’… He sounded strange, kind of mystified.”
(This doesn’t seem to be on any SBD tape; though there is a moment on the 2/21 tape where someone asks, “Where’s Mickey Hart?” and Weir replies, “Seeing as you asked, Mickey’s under the weather… He hasn’t been feeling well for the past few nights; as you may have noticed, he hasn’t been here.”)
One of Weinberg’s AUDs is on the Archive:
http://archive.org/details/gd1971-02-23.aud.weinberg.moore.berger.98406.flac16 (Part of the second set – very incomplete, songs cut & missing big chunks – serious speed fluctuations, bass distortion. You can tell the original recording had pretty decent sound, though; perhaps an average AUD for the time.)

Some of Weinberg’s recordings from this run aren’t circulating. He also taped the first set of 2/23; the NRPS & GD shows on 2/21 (part of which is said to suffer from distortion); and part of 2/24 (which is said to be excellent). Given the existence of superior SBDs, it’s not likely his tapes will ever be sought out.

Hart’s departure marked a big change for Weinberg.
“I consider that the beginning of the end of the era. From that point on, they were different. Not having that additional piece of rhythm section changed things a lot. They were a lot less powerful as a band. It was something very definitely missing once he wasn’t there. By ’72, I’d given up. I’d stopped recording. For me, it was not the same, thinking, ‘When is Mickey going to come back?’ It was a mystery; I didn’t read anything about it.”
Hart’s absence clearly bothered Weinberg – in fact, later in his 7/31 tape, you can hear him call to the band, “What happened to Mickey Hart?”
“That was a real turning point. Afterwards, they were a lot tighter, but less frivolous… Less experimental, less willing to go out there, to get out on a limb. They were much more repeatable after that for the shows that I saw, which was for a couple of years…
[Earlier,] there were nights where they stunk and nights where they were great. When they were great, they were just unbelievable. ‘Where did this music come from?’ That’s why I had to get a tape machine, because I felt that there was something special going on. If I didn’t record, I would lose – it would never be on record, and I never thought that anyone else would record this… The reason for recording was solely for myself: ‘I want to be able to listen to this sometime in the future, and if I don’t record it, my memory is going to die quickly. And I’ve got to have this.’ Other than Live/Dead, which was a great record, I assumed that they weren’t going to produce any more [live albums]. Later on, they obviously had Europe ’72 and other things, but at the time, there was Live/Dead and that was it.”

Unknown to Weinberg, in early ’71 the Dead were taping another live album, including all the shows he went to. In fact our SBD record from 1971 is quite good; whereas back in ’69-70 most of Weinberg’s shows had not been recorded by the band. So this makes his ’71 tapes somewhat less unique or valuable now that all the band’s SBDs are out there…
In early April ’71 he went to the Manhattan Center shows, bringing his trusty Uher, and did not have a good time.
“Those were terrible. You know why those were terrible? Because they were in this big place with no seating; clearly they were doing it for the money. It was a large ampitheater – a flat floor. It would have been great if there were about a quarter as many people. They let a lot of people in there…it was very crowded, and as shows go, it wasn’t great. They advertised it as a Dance Marathon because all the Dead shows in New York up until that time (except for the Pavilion shows) were inside in theaters: sit down in a seat, and when people wanted to get into dancing and moving around, you did it at your seat and that was about it. You weren’t allowed to go into the aisles because there were fire laws.”
But at the Dance Marathon, it was too packed to dance! “There were moments that were pretty good, but you couldn’t really enjoy it. You were standing, squeezed against all these people, which was no fun. And the shows had to be fun for me. Seeing the Dead was not just simply listening to music, it was enjoying myself…and part of that was being comfortable… I could be standing for two hours too, but here it was like sardines.”
Weinberg also noticed that the audience was changing from the past year. “They had clearly gotten a good deal more popular. There were a lot more people there who weren’t the early people. It was more of a scene… So these shows were just filled with people; near the stage was packed.”

“I think I recorded one of the shows.” He actually recorded a couple of them, on the 5th and 6th.
http://archive.org/details/gd1971-04-05.partial.aud.berger.100052.flac16 (partial; cuts in Sugar Magnolia – surprisingly clear, almost SBD-like, with little audience noise)
http://archive.org/details/gd1971-04-06.aud.berger.100040.flac16 (partial; goes up to Good Lovin’ – a more average AUD; sounds very distant)
There’s also a poor AUD of 4/4 from a different taper – distant and echoey, with a loud & rowdy audience – http://archive.org/details/gd71-04-04.aud.cotsman.10358.sbeok.shnf (This taper, unlike Weinberg, didn’t stop the tape between songs.)

Naturally, Weinberg also went to the Dead’s last Fillmore East run on April 25-29. (I’m not sure if he was at the first couple shows.) “They were really special shows… Even for the Dead, my feeling by early ’71 was that things had gone pretty far downhill. Things were very different, but the shows were good.
I remember the Beach Boys show [4/27], Jerry coming out and saying…‘We have another California band back here, and it’s the Beach Boys.’” [Weinberg remembers well – Jerry says, “We got another famous California group here, it’s the Beach Boys.”]
And I thought, ‘It’s a stinking joke. It’s got to be a joke.’ And I remember Mike Love or somebody coming out, saying, ‘We’re very grateful for the Grateful Dead,’ and I thought, ‘Oh God, give me a break…’ [Indeed, that is said after Good Vibrations.]
This is the rock & roll symphony orchestra, cause there were like 92 guys with guitars onstage... [Weir at one point during a long tuning break also says, “We’re tuning up the rock & roll philharmonic, it takes a couple seconds.”]
I learned later…that Dylan was at the show backstage, and they were trying to convince him to get onstage with the Dead. And he said, ‘I don’t know; I don’t know.’ That was the period when he didn’t want to show his face in public, he wasn’t doing a lot of public things. I remember that they flashed a little sign on the stage, ‘Bob Dylan.’ Everyone cheered a little bit, but no sign of Bob Dylan, so it was like a joke. Who knew?…
I remember that at one of those shows Tom Constanten showed up [4/28]. I liked him a lot. He was one of the more intellectual players in the band, a freak’s freak. I remember him in Dark Star, and that was very good…
I kept thinking, ‘Is Mickey going to show up?’ The one drummer thing just wasn’t the right thing. It was a constant source of discussion with my friends – it isn’t the Grateful Dead with one drummer!…
The last night at the Fillmore [4/29] was a great night, that was one of the great shows as well. That was a real party, because there were a lot of us, and it was more of a true-believer type of atmosphere. It was a lot of fun…it was a big party.” Everyone knew that would be the Dead’s last time playing the Fillmore East – “we knew it was the end…[so] let’s have a great time for the last time.”

He also started to notice other tapers. “At those shows, I remember seeing a couple of people getting busted…two stupid guys with cassette recorders being ushered out. Two separate times, as I recall, but it wasn’t the same guys.” He feels their tapes wouldn’t have been up to snuff anyway: “Even the very best cassette recordings will not give you what you can get in a reel-to-reel machine.”
Soundboards for most of these shows appeared very early on, within a year or two, so AUDs of this run were never in demand. Weinberg taped at least 4/27 but it doesn’t circulate – his recording of 4/29 does:
http://archive.org/details/gd71-04-29.weinberg.warner.26568.sbeok.flacf (most of the show – clear but distant-sounding, average quality)

Weinberg also says, “I remember seeing them at Princeton University, but that was probably beforehand.” That must have been the 4/17 show – no Weinberg tape is known, but there is a fantastic stereo AUD made by someone else, that recently surfaced:
http://archive.org/details/gd1971-04-17.aud.boswell-smith.motb-0136.107075.flac16

Spring 1971 was, I think, when Dead bootleg records first started to appear. (For instance, the Mammary Productions bootleg of 10/4/70, and the Ain’t It Crazy LP from the April Fillmore run.)
In April '71, Weinberg released a bootleg LP of his own. “I wanted to share this music. I could have copied to cassette, but not everyone had cassette players at the time. Everyone had a record player. So I said, ‘I’m going to choose the four best things…’ I had maybe a total of 35 minutes, two sides. And I chose four things that were absolutely the Dead. I listened to a million hours of stuff, and I came up with four things… [Morning Dew, the Other One, El Paso, and Not Fade Away.] I found a place in the city that would do small-scale pressings… I produced 500 records; they cost me about $1-1.30 apiece. It was mono, no labels of any kind, white on white… My plan was to sell half, and give away half to my friends.” He sold the record at shows for $3 (til they ran out) – apparently he sold the last ones at the Gaelic Park show in August – and it was even played on a couple FM radio stations. (This was back when some FM stations would play such things!)

Somehow, Weinberg found himself up at Yale in July, when the Dead played there. “I did see them at the Yale Bowl… That was a show I recorded; in fact, I remember that it was Jerry’s birthday.”
http://archive.org/details/gd71-07-31.winberg.weiner.5678.gdADT05.sbefail.shnf
The band is loud (even distorted at times), but the clappers & screamers are much louder than the band, making much of this a painful listen.
This tape is unusual because Weinberg narrates a bit before & after the show. (I think the July ’70 Fillmore tapes are the only other example of this). He has a lot of trouble figuring out the right date at the start, comments that “there’s only one drummer,” and tells a friend he came prepared: “I have six hours’ worth [of reels] in my pack, and I doubt they’ll play six hours.” Then at the end of the show, he figures they won’t do an encore: “I haven’t seen them do an encore since last September in fact, so I kind of doubt they’ll do one… Correction, I do remember them doing an encore, at Fillmore the last night, but that was an extraordinary set of circumstances…”
Part of Weinberg’s tape was used to patch a flip in the Dark Star SBD on the Road Trips release. It sounded quite good in context – of course, there weren’t people screaming in that section!

The Dead returned to New York in August for another outdoor show. “The Gaelic Park show was kind of neat. That was also a big place, it was an open field; it was right next to the subway tracks… It might have been 3-4,000 people there. And that was a pretty good show, as I remember.”
http://archive.org/details/gd1971-08-26.aud.weinberg.berger.100292.sbeok.flac16 (Mostly complete; a few cuts/songs missing – very good AUD quality, loud vocals; the crowd is noisy but not quite so obtrusive as on 7/31.)

Recently, a couple recordings from fall 1971 finally surfaced...even one from Texas!
In November '71, Weinberg & friends drove from NYC to the Atlanta & San Antonio shows on 11/11 and 11/12. "We were able to get tickets [to Atlanta], but I don't remember how... We just drove there, we left early in the morning and we got there in the evening. It was like a million-mile drive, leave at dawn, didn't think of motels or anything, just drive there and go to the show." [Actually, the drive was a mere 900 miles…]
At the Atlanta show, he particularly remembered not liking One More Saturday Night, or Keith Godchaux! "I remember thinking, I don't like this direction of songs... I thought they were becoming too pop. The sound was more polished, less psychedelic. They still played crazy stuff, but it just wasn't the same. But the same or not, here I was driving a thousand miles to see them."

Nonetheless, they continued on to the San Antonio show – another thousand miles away:
"Here we are in Atlanta and we find out where they're playing tomorrow night. We talked to a roadie, somebody in the crew, 'Oh, we're playing in San Antonio tomorrow night.' And we thought to ourselves, 'Let's go there, I have a map in the car...' We figured, what the hell. We had no tickets or anything, we just figured we'd work it out. We drove all the way to San Antonio, we beat the band there. They were late, cause they were flying, and their equipment was late...
We get there pretty early, looking pretty gruesome - we were road guys eating junk. And we got to the theater, we walked in, and they said, 'You guys are with the band, right?' And we said, 'Yeah, of course.' There was nobody else there. The theater held maybe a couple thousand people, but my guess is there were no more than 300 people that night, it was tiny... I recorded that...
It was a fun show. I remember that at the very beginning, Bob came out and he said, 'Listen, everybody upstairs, why don't you come on down here? Don't get lonely up there.' He said for everyone to just come down to the front of the theater... [Pretty close: actually it’s Lesh after Truckin’ who invites the people in the balcony to come down.]
It was a pretty good show, and I remember that the next night they were going to be somewhere in Texas. [Fort Worth on 11/14] We said, 'Do we want to just stay with them and keep going to these shows?' 'No, we've got to get back.' And actually, we had a wild time coming back. The car blew up in Nashville and we ended up sleeping in the car for two days."

No AUD tape is known of the first show he hit (Atlanta 11/11), which is just as well – as reviews make clear, it was a terrible show, and both audience & band had a lousy time. (The Dead were professionals enough that this doesn't come through so clearly on the SBD tape.) With not one psychedelic jam played, it would be no wonder if Weinberg felt disillusioned. Nonetheless, he was still dedicated enough to head on to Texas for the next show.
The audience quietly listens through the Other One, which is nice to hear. (The new live album had come out a couple months earlier.) It definitely wasn’t just a crowd of rowdy cowboys out to see a rock show - there was enough of a contingent of San Antonio deadheads to make up a small audience.

You know a taper's dedicated when he'll drive a couple thousand miles (and back) just to tape a show! At any rate, his recording turned out well – it’s an average AUD for the time, pretty listenable. (I have to admit the SBD is far preferable for this show. The AUD is muffled & distant in comparison - Keith in particular is much more audible on the SBD, whereas on the AUD he's kind of buried in the murk.)
http://archive.org/details/gd1971-11-12.120716.d190e.weinberg-moore-berger.flac16 (partial; second set)

The Dead returned to NYC for a run at the Felt Forum from December 4-7, and another uncirculated Weinberg recording has surfaced from 12/4.
It's the only known audience tape from the run, surprisingly. (Actually, there are hardly any AUD tapes from late ’71 in general – probably because people were just taping the radio broadcasts at home instead. For instance, on 12/5 Weinberg “had somebody record that for me.”) I don’t know if he went to the last couple shows of the run.
It's an excellent recording - the sound is comparable to the SBD, a very enjoyable listen.
Unfortunately, it's also severely incomplete, with songs missing, many big cuts in the songs, and ends abruptly in Mexicali Blues.
http://archive.org/details/gd1971-12-04.120948.d190e.weinberg-moore-berger.flac16

Weinberg also has an interesting backstage story to tell – for it turns out that Lesh had heard his bootleg LP.
"A friend of mine…took a copy of the record and brought it out west... Phil was particularly impressed with it. I remember after the first show [12/4] going up to the stage and saying to Phil, 'Did you like the recording?' He said, 'Oh, you're that guy? Why don't you come back tomorrow night and we'll talk…' He wrote my name down, and the next night [12/5] I showed up and I had a backstage pass waiting for me. Before the show, I went back there; it was a very big New York scene there...
I saw Bob with my friend Peter... My friend sold him a Gretsch Tennessean, which was a hollow body electric. It was a really beautiful guitar, and he sold it to Bobby... That's where I corrected him on his El Paso singing... I told him he was singing the song wrong. All those years he sang the wrong words... I knew the song pretty well, the original Marty Robbins version, but he just didn't listen... At the end of the song he was singing, 'Greater my true love in arms that I'll die for...' And that's not the words; the words are, 'Cradled by two loving arms that I'll die for...' He said, 'Man, thanks a lot. You're right.' And there he sang it right at the Felt Forum."
[Weinberg is correct. You can hear Weir sing "greater my true love" on 12/4, and "cradled by two loving arms" on 12/5.]

"I'm talking to Phil, and Pigpen shows up with two black hookers, and they were a head taller than he was. Pigpen wasn't that big of a guy. And they were all over him: 'Look at my fine women.' He came in with his arms around these two women with his hands around their boobs; it was just a priceless image...
Phil asked me how I recorded [the LP]. I told him I was in the audience for these things, and he asked me lots of questions about what I did with my tapes... Then he told me a little bit about how they had this dream of being able to do this, of having something they'd performed the night before be available the next day... And he congratulated me on the taste I used. His words were, 'Very good taste in the selection of music for that.'"

It seems surprising that Lesh would be so welcoming about a bootleg record, but the Dead were wobbly on the subject at that point. So you get an instance like 8/6/71, where Weir suggests the tapers move back for better sound, versus 12/31/71, where the band busts a taper in the audience accusing him of being a bootlegger. Lesh in particular was probably the most supportive in the band of tapers, as there are several stories of him listening to AUD tapes that people played for him. (At least when he was in a good mood.)
In ’72-74 when more & more tapers kept showing up, there seems to have been a steady crackdown on taping; but by then Weinberg was not a steady taper.


AND AFTER…

“I recorded some of the Academy of Music shows in early ’72. There was a Hell’s Angels show with Bo Diddley, which was pretty crummy. Bo Diddley was terrible, he was atrocious. But I recorded those shows, and those shows were pretty good… [The sound was bad because] it wasn’t a great theater. I think those may be the last shows that I recorded.”
We have a bunch of AUD recordings from this run, but all are anonymous, and few are pleasurable listening. (My Academy of Music post has more details.)

The Dead played in the area a number of times in ’72 and ’73. Weinberg went to some of those shows, but was no longer taping. (For instance, he went to the Roosevelt Stadium shows on 7/18 and 9/19/72, but the AUD tapes were done by other tapers.) “I didn’t go to any of the other shows in New Jersey… After ’72, they played at Nassau Coliseum, but I didn’t see any of those shows.”
His feeling about the band then was that “I didn’t like the newer music as much… It wasn’t as experimental, you didn’t have the same surprise… They became much more night-for-night predictable… They got professional.” So his interest waned.

Weinberg may seem overly dismissive of the ’72-era band, but this was a trajectory that other early fans followed as well. (These were a minority, compared to all the new folks who jumped onboard!) The band changed so rapidly in those years, they left behind some early fans who didn’t like the new sounds, or were surprised by the difference from the last time they’d heard the band. When you’d been reared on the shows of ’69 & ’70, anything after that was bound to sound like a comedown!
For instance, Harvey Lubar saw them in December ’71: “I was really shocked and disappointed that the Dead’s setlists and playing style had changed so dramatically in only a few years. I thought we were going to be hearing Viola Lee Blues, Alligator>Caution, and the rest of the stuff we had been listening to. Instead we got Bertha, Jack Straw, and Sugaree.” (Taping Compendium p.21)
Or Robert Goetz, in October ’71: “As far as I was concerned, it had been downhill since Mickey left, and the first time I heard the band with Godchaux I about puked…It was becoming depressingly clear that ’69-70 would never happen again.” (p.440)
http://archive.org/post/357320/11-15-69-expectations-and-more-out-of-the-closet

Weinberg’s last Dead shows were “in Boston at the Music Hall in December ’73. And those were good shows… Come to think of it, I had my equipment with me and I recorded those… That could have been the last show I ever went to; I don’t remember seeing them again after that.”
There are good-quality audience tapes of the whole run – the average AUDs sounded far better by late ’73 than they did two years earlier. I don’t know if any of these are Weinberg’s, but probably not – many people were taping shows by that time, and it’s uncertain whether he was still trading.

By that time he’d come into contact with other dedicated collectors like Jerry Moore, Les Kippel & Harvey Lubar. Weinberg seems to have been more of an individualist who taped for private listening (and who by that time was drifting out of the taping scene entirely), and was apparently not too keen on sharing tapes with the Hell’s Honkies Tape Club. He’s made clear that “he originally had made the recordings for the enjoyment of himself and some friends,” and aside from the LP was not aiming for a wider circle. In fact, it’s unclear how many tapes he made that never got traded at all.
“My scenes with those guys weren’t all that positive. I didn’t have anything against them personally, they were okay guys. But to me, their attitudes were very different. They were much more dogmatic, they were very serious… They were insane about wanting all of these recordings. Their level of enjoyment and appreciation was different than mine. So I was a little uncomfortable with them... They had a level of intensity that I did not have.”
Perhaps it’s telling that these tapers established & nurtured a growing trading scene, while Weinberg vanished for nearly 30 years. He left behind an impressive collection of tapes, though, documenting some of the best Dead shows ever played.

“I think it’s great that all of this stuff is continuing to come out, and eventually it’s all going to be easy to get to.”

(Many thanks to Michael Getz, who interviewed Weinberg for the Deadhead’s Taping Addendum in 2001. All Marty’s quotes come from that interview.)

* * * * *

APPENDIX

THE 1970 TAPES

Going through the years to see what Weinberg tapes circulate, I was surprised to see how few tapes his “legendary” reputation currently rests on. There are actually fewer known Weinberg tapes out there than you’d think.
There are several reasons for this. One, many of his tapes came out “anonymously” (like most audience tapes), so we don’t know if they’re his or not. Several AUD tapes have been attributed to him which he did not make. Also, many of his tapes became legendary when they came out, but have since been replaced by better or more complete-sounding copies. (Ken Lee’s alternate AUDs from Port Chester, for instance, trounce all other tapers’ efforts – 11/8/70 excepted.) The widespread availability of SBDs for some shows has largely wiped out the older AUD copies (as with some Fillmore East shows). Also, many of his tapes have gone missing or never really circulated, and the surviving original reels are only a part of what used to exist. A few more have surfaced recently, but there’s not much more to be revealed…

A lot of the Weinberg tapes on the Archive come from Jerry Moore’s reels, many of which were transferred back in ‘99. But what’s left is often fragmentary – the copies Moore got were missing many pieces. Also, older copies now tend to sound better than the original master reels, which have deteriorated. For instance, Noah Weiner wrote that the 7/31/71 reels “were in very delicate condition at the time of the transfer (summer 2001). The set two reel was degraded so much in sound quality (a tremendous loss of high end frequencies) that it proved better to use an old cassette copy… Also, [some songs] had been recorded over on the master reel.”

Weinberg seems to have stopped trading back in ’73, and rarely listened to his own tapes in later years. Back around 1990, one friend told him, “’Marty, there’s a whole scene that you’ve missed. The taping world, you don’t know what’s going on, but it’s pretty big… You should really check this out. Some of your stuff is out there being circulated…’ And I said, “So what? That’s very nice…’ And that was it…I really didn’t give it any further thought.”

One consequence of Weinberg’s loss of interest in the Dead was that he stopped taking care of his reels, and they fell into the hands of roommates who had other things they wanted to tape.
When rediscovered, he thought, “Maybe I have some further treasures sitting in these 50 or 60 reels here.” But when Michael Parrish transferred the reels in 2001, few treasures were found; in fact, many of the famous shows had been lost or erased. Many reels were blank or mislabeled – they “consisted of album cuts, compilations of other live tapes, or simply recorded conversations… Many reels were clogged with dust and unlabeled, others were in cardboard tape boxes with or without labels. Even the boxes with labels often did not contain the music indicated on the box… For every gem from the Fillmore or the Capitol, I probably found two reels that either consisted of music recorded much later, or of extended conversational ‘party pieces’…
“Much of the music that already circulates from Marty’s masters was not present… Some of the earlier shows appear to have been taped over…pieces of the 1970 music were audible at the ends of the sides of the February ’71 masters, including part of an audience recording of the 5/15/70 early show. Also, portions of some of the most familiar Weinberg recordings…had been taped over by other studio music.” (For instance, one supposed 11/8/70 master reel turned out to be Paul McCartney & Wings; and part of 7/31/71 was taped over with Derek & the Dominoes!)
One result of this process was that many of Weinberg’s 1971 tapes survived mostly intact, while nothing before June 1970 was found. As we’ve seen, no circulating tape before 6/24/70 is known for sure to be his.

PORT CHESTER, JUNE 1970
The situation for 6/24/70 is confusing, since we have several different sources. Aside from Ken Lee’s tape, the Archive files of 6/24 are in some disarray & confusingly labeled. Here’s the layout:

http://archive.org/details/gd1970-06-24.late-partial.aud.moore.berger.98880.flac16 (partial fragment; end of late electric set)
http://archive.org/details/gd1970-06-24.aud.unknown.gadsden-reynolds.100223.flac16 (incomplete with many cuts; pieces of late acoustic, NRPS, electric sets)
These copies are from two different sources, neither close to complete; for completists only. The Moore copy sounds much more muffled; but despite it being low-quality, this one is Weinberg’s tape. The Gadsen copy is afflicted with many cuts; this taper is unknown. The Ken Lee recording sounds far better than either! (It’s slightly surprising that a fuller copy of Weinberg’s tape isn’t on the Archive, but this is an instance where Lee’s tape was so superior, other late-show recordings became irrelevant.)

http://archive.org/details/gd1970-06-24.aud.cooper.coopernicus.32710.flac16 (The early electric show, plus 3 songs from the late acoustic show. This was a stereo tape said to be made by J. Cooper – strange we don’t have more from this source, as it sounds almost as good as Lee’s tape, and fortuitously fills in the set missing from Lee. )
http://archive.org/details/gd_nrps70-06-24.aud.pcrp5.23062.sbeok.flacf (Ken Lee’s tape: the early acoustic show, both NRPS sets, & the complete late electric show. Does not include the early electric & late acoustic. The other Lee files with the late show are all missing the last encore.)

http://archive.org/details/gd1970-06-24.aud.lai.7467.sbefail.shnf (An absurd mishmash: the late acoustic, very incomplete, & part of the late NRPS set – then the 7/10/70 show, in terrible quality from Weinberg’s recording (this used to be mislabeled “6/24 early”) – then the 6/24/70 late electric, from Lee’s tape. The late acoustic/NRPS portion seems to be from the unknown taper, not Weinberg, since it does not have his usual pauses between the NRPS songs – this is the same as the first half of the Gadsden copy.)

A strange case! We have four different tapers this night, and not one complete copy for any of them on the Archive. Lee is the most complete, fortunately; and we’re lucky to have a stereo recording of the early electric set that’s missing from Lee’s tapes. However, much of the late acoustic set is still missing from the Archive! (Though two different partial recordings of it are here.)
Early Acoustic – Lee
Early Electric – Cooper
Late Acoustic – 6 songs from Cooper & Unknown
Late Electric – Lee, plus fragments from Weinberg & Unknown

FILLMORE EAST, JULY 1970
There were at least three tapers during this run, none of whom made a good-sounding tape! We have Weinberg’s recording of 7/10 and part of his 7/11 – 7/11 and 7/12 also circulate from someone else’s recordings.
(Note that, for whatever reason, the dates of 7/11 and 7/12 were switched on all tapes; so the “7/12” tapes are actually the 7/11 show.)
http://archive.org/details/gd70-07-10.aud.cotsman.17351.sbeok.shnf - the complete electric set; Weinberg narrates a bit before the NFA encore. (This tape used to be misdated as the 6/24 early show, but Weinberg clearly states it’s the “scenic Fillmore auditorium in the heart of the scenic East Village.”)

http://archive.org/details/gd1970-07-12.Weinberg.MAR.108156.flac16 - most of New Riders set, first part of Dead set; incomplete (cuts in Man’s World). Weinberg states before the Dead’s set that it’s “Saturday night, July 11.”

The other tapers:
http://archive.org/details/gd1970-07-12.aud.mysteryreel.cloverman.smith.GEMS.108002.flac16 (The best copy of the whole show – much better than the SirMick file. Weinberg’s tape may be slightly less muddy, but it’s not much of an upgrade; they’re of comparable quality.)
http://archive.org/details/gd70-07-11.aud.cotsman.9379.sbefail.shnf (Weinberg did not tape the last night. This taper was Kenny Schachat – he also stopped & started the tape between songs; you may be able to hear him chattering here & there. Deadlists also says another recording used to circulate, possibly by R.T. Carlyle, which apparently sounded even worse.)

FILLMORE EAST, SEPTEMBER 1970
Both Weinberg and Jack Toner taped 9/17 – since there’s no SBD for this night, fortunately the electric set is in listenable quality. (Toner's AUD seems brighter than Weinberg's, but they’re similar in sound). Oddly, the second set on tape is very short, and it's strange that neither taper captured more of it, if any more was played.
http://archive.org/details/gd1970-09-17.partial.aud.weinberg.33826.flac16 (Weinberg, electric set only)
http://archive.org/details/gd70-09-17.aud.remaster.sirmick.27591.sbeok.shnf (Toner’s tape, complete)

(We also have Toner's AUD tape of 9/18, which is definitely the best-sounding of this run, with a more up-front band & less intrusive audience. If only the other nights sounded the same! As far as I know, no Weinberg recording of this night circulates.
http://archive.org/details/gd70-09-18.sbd-aud.cotsman.17893.sbeok.shnf )

Weinberg and Toner both taped 9/19, and their tapes sound awful. The SBD is glorious (though fragmentary), but both AUD tapes are truly terrible. (Toner’s is actually a better recording, since Weinberg’s tape sounds very muffled, but Toner unfortunately sat among a horde of clappers who constantly drown out the music.) As far as most listeners go, this is almost unlistenable & for historical completists only.
http://archive.org/details/gd1970-09-19.119722.akg.weinberg.moore-berger.flac16 (incomplete electric set; cuts after Stephen)
http://archive.org/details/gd70-09-19.aud-toner-weinberg.warner.25473.sbeok.flacf (This combines Weinberg’s & Toner’s tapes, so you can compare.)

And finally, we have a piece of Weinberg's 9/20 AUD, which actually sounds decent. Most people will prefer the SBD of course, but Caution might be an easier listen on the AUD.
http://archive.org/details/gd1970-09-20.aud.weinberg.bunjes.81728.flac16 (partial; end of electric set)

PORT CHESTER, NOVEMBER 1970
Our 11/5/70 is exclusively from Ken Lee. (No Weinberg tape known.)
http://archive.org/details/gd70-11-05.aud.warner.17182.sbeok.shnf

We also have 11/6/70 complete from Lee’s tape, but parts of Weinberg’s reels have appeared. Surprisingly, the quality is pretty close to Lee, though I think Lee’s tape is better; so Weinberg isn’t an upgrade as some claim.
http://archive.org/details/gd70-11-06.d3new.hanno.19922.sbeok.shnf (part of the second set, patched with Lee’s tape)
http://archive.org/details/gd1970-11-06.aud.weinberg.moore-berger.119818.flac16 (mangled, incomplete portion from end of show)
For comparison, Lee’s tape - http://archive.org/details/gd70-11-06.aud.warner.17183.sbeok.shnf
(Weinberg says he taped a soundcheck at the Capitol Theater, but the 11/6 acoustic soundcheck we have is from Lee’s recording.)

Lee, Weinberg, and Jack Toner all taped 11/7. Lee’s tape is not only the most complete but the best-sounding; Toner’s & Weinberg’s tapes sound similar.
http://archive.org/details/gd1970-11-07.aud.weinberg.moore.berger.98264.flac16 (Weinberg, partial - short fragment of the last set)
http://archive.org/details/gd1970-11-07.aud.toner.berger.100330.flac16 (Toner, incomplete selection)
http://archive.org/details/gd70-11-07.aud.warner.10306.sbeok.shnf (mostly Lee, with patches from the other two)

Both Lee and Weinberg taped all of 11/8/70. This is Weinberg’s best recording – it’s similar to & often better than Lee’s tape, which has more crowd noise & echo.
There are a wide variety of copies to choose from, that mix & match the source tapes. Some important portions are missing from Weinberg’s tape – the start of Morning Dew, the middle of Dancing in the Street – so these always get patched from Lee’s tape.
http://archive.org/details/gd1970-11-08.aud.weinberg.moore-berger.119787.flac16 (from Moore’s copy - incomplete, cuts in Dancing)
http://archive.org/details/gd1970-11-08.aud-weinberg.cousinit.18639.shnf (a lesser transfer, but it includes the whole show, with some Lee patches)

Notice the bad bass saturation that afflicts Good Lovin’ on Weinberg’s tape. Lee is clearly preferable for the end of the show. These are a couple alternate copies that combine the two tapes:
http://archive.org/details/gd70-11-08.aud.owens.23474.sbeok.shnf (acoustic set & end of the show from Lee’s tape)
http://archive.org/details/gd70-11-08.aud.warner.17184.sbeok.shnf (acoustic set & end of the show from Weinberg’s tape)


FALSE LABELS & UNIDENTIFIED TAPES

http://archive.org/details/gd69-11-08.weinberg.warner.26331.sbeok.flacf - The notes claim this was taped by Weinberg, but this is very unlikely. (It’s a continent away from his usual taping grounds!) Actually, it does come from his collection, since he got a number of other early California tapes in trades as well. Harvey Lubar notes, “By 1971, Marty was trading with people from all over the United States. To this day I have no idea who they were…”
It would be nice to know who the original taper was, though. Pretty bad sound, but only this 15-minute fragment survives.

http://archive.org/details/gd70-11-10.aud.hanno.8837.sbefail.shnf
http://archive.org/details/gd70-11-10.aud.cotsman.17032.sbeok.shnf
These two are identical in sound (pretty wretched). This Action House “show” is actually a fake; these songs are not from this date. This tape apparently comes from a Marty Weinberg compilation reel - the Not Fade Away is from his 9/20/70 AUD, and the Other One is from 2/23/71. (Both of those are on the Archive.)
I think this is from the bootleg LP compilation, so it may help settle what dates Weinberg chose for his record. (Morning Dew was from 11/8/70, but the other dates are unknown as far as I know.)

http://archive.org/details/gd70-11-09.aud.hanno.7591.sbeok.shnf - Not his; he did not go to the Action House shows, so this is of unknown origin. (One wonders what happened to the rest of the show, since this is just a half-hour selection.)

http://archive.org/details/gd70-11-11.aud.sirmick.31154.sbeok.flacf - A Rock Palace show in very poor quality; Weinberg was apparently there taping, but this is not his tape. This was done by Mike Tannenbaum.

http://archive.org/details/gd70-11-20.aud.cotsman.9001.sbeok.shnf - Deadlists reports this good stereo tape was made by Weinberg, but he wasn’t there; it was actually done by student Bob Stone, who did a great job.