It's been too long since I've posted any Grateful Dead albums here. I have lots to post, especially from what I consider to be their "golden era," roughly from 1969 to 1973. I've already posted four albums of mostly original songs from 1970 to 1972 that never got released on studio albums at the time. This series is meant to complement that, gathering cover versions they did during approximately that same time period. These are all full-band versions. There's a whole other large batch of songs done acoustically that I'll do something with at a later date.
The Dead came up with lots of great original songs. But that didn't stop them from covering literally hundreds of additional songs over the years. I haven't included every single cover song they did during these years.
For one, I skipped songs that they did so often and so well that they're closely identified with the band, such as "I Know You Rider," "Me and My Uncle," "Morning Dew," and a few more.
Secondly, I already made two albums of cover songs the band did very early in their career (1965 to 1966). So I often avoided songs during this "golden era" that are also on those albums, unless there's something significantly different about them.
I also avoided songs were there's no excellent recording. But those are surprisingly few. The band got serious about recording their own concerts almost from the very beginning, and there have been bazillions of official live albums by now. However, the occasional song did slip by, such as "So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)," where only one poor sounding audience recording exists. A few other songs didn't get recorded at all, such as "Cathy's Clown," "I've Just Seen a Face," and "Games People Play."
Finally, this collection begins in mid-1969, which is when the band really hit their stride, in my opinion. I did consider a few covers from earlier in 1969, but they either weren't that good (such as versions of "Hey Jude") or they're already included on the stray tracks album I made for that time period, called "The Seven."
Okay, that's all about what I did not include. Now let me talk about what I did include. I think many of the songs in this series will be a surprise to you, unless you're a fanatically dedicated Deadhead. Some songs here were played dozens of times, such as "Dancing in the Street" or "Hard to Handle." But others were played only once, such as "Mystery Train" or "My Babe," only were played only a small number of times.
I strived to make sure there was a balance between songs sung by Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan. Unfortunately, I could only do so much since I felt obliged to include all the (non-overplayed) cover versions from a certain time period. For this album, there's an unusually large number of songs sung by Pigpen, and only three sung by Garcia. The balance is a lot better on the later volumes in this series.
If you are a serious Deadhead and you see some songs I missed, please let me know. It's particularly tricky for me because I'm only including full-band versions here, as I mentioned above, and there were many songs only done acoustically around this time. Sometimes, a song almost always done acoustically was done with a full electric band, such as the version of "Monkey and the Engineer" here. But I probably missed a couple more like that.
This album is an hour and 28 minutes long.
As an aside, I mentioned above the stray tracks album "The Seven." I moved a couple of songs from there to here, because I thought they fit better. But I also added in a couple new songs there that I'd missed, including one the band only played a single time, in 1968, "Death Letter Blues." So you probably should redownload that album if you have it already.
Oh, one last thing. While making this, I also fixed all the Grateful Dead albums I've posted so far, adjusting the volume balance between songs and updating the mp3 tags to the new system I'm using. So you might want to grab those again too.
01 New Orleans (Grateful Dead)https://www.imagenetz.de/i84n9
02 Hi-Heel Sneakers (Grateful Dead)
03 Ole Slew Foot (Grateful Dead)
04 Big Boy Pete (Grateful Dead)
05 Smokestack Lightning (Grateful Dead)
06 Hard to Handle (Grateful Dead)
07 He Was a Friend of Mine (Grateful Dead)
08 Walking the Dog (Grateful Dead)
09 Dancing in the Street (Grateful Dead)
10 It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World (Grateful Dead)
11 Mystery Train - My Babe (Grateful Dead)
12 Monkey and the Engineer (Grateful Dead)
I love how weird the album cover is. I would never presume to make something that weird myself for an album cover. But for this series, I decided to use versions of concert posters. There are lots of really interesting concert posters for the Dead, whereas photos of the band in concert are far less interesting in comparison. This particular poster is for a concert in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in May 1970.
Since posters are rectangular and album covers are square, I had to cut parts of the top and bottom. I also did some resizing vertically to squish more in. Finally, all the images of this poster that I could find had some damage to them. So I used the best bits from two versions, and then cleaned up some remaining rough parts. If anyone has an idea of what the heck this image is about, please let me know!