August 17, 2009

1967 Dead Tapes

1967 is a year full of misdated shows and questionable tapes. I was doing reviews for a few of these shows on the Archive, but decided I should write a post covering the whole year. This won't be one of my usual musical posts - simply an attempt to clear up some of the confusion with 1967 Dead dates.

The reason we have so few shows from '67 is because Bear was not with the band. He visited them at Rio Nido in September, and recorded the 9-3-67 show, but otherwise most our other shows of the year were haphazardly captured by other anonymous tapers. We even have the earliest Dead AUD tapes ("1-27-67" and 9-15-67), though both are for fanatical Dead freaks only.
Bear started taping the Dead from the early Acid Test days, but split from them after the July '66 Vancouver shows (which is why there are so few recordings from the second half of '66) - he returned in June '68 when the Carousel closed. We have some of his June '68 recordings (undated) in this set:

The first misdated show we come to is 1-27-67....immediately when we notice the twenty-minute Viola Lee, the half-hour Alligator>Caution, the swirling New Potato, it's obvious this show can't be from January! (Deadbase moved the setlist to 9-4-67.)
In fact, it has an odd correlation with 10-22-67 - Morning Dew and New Potato Caboose are the same versions as on the 10-22-67 SBD, though from an AUD source. (The rest of the setlists don't match, though, which is puzzling.)
There is also another link to October....the surest way of dating many 1967 shows is to listen to the Alligator. The earliest versions start with Jerry's guitar intro and go straight into the jam after the song. After Mickey Hart joins, we can hear a change in 11-10-67 and the tape labeled 10-20-67 - Alligator now has a drum intro, and a drum solo after the vocals.
This "Avalon" Alligator is at a midway point - it starts with the drum intro, but dives into the jam after the vocals without a drum solo (a drum break comes a few minutes later). There are also two drummers. So it has to come from after 9-15-67 (the last version with the guitar intro), and after 9-29-67 when Mickey joined, but before 11-10-67....basically sometime in October.
Deadbase now speculates that much of this tape could be from the 10-31-67 Winterland show.

Our next problem show is 5-5-67 - it's a partial tape and only a few songs are here, so it's harder to pin down, but I don't think it's from May. (Deadbase claimed it was 9-29-67, then moved it to 6-15-67.) We have a couple clues that it's from later in the year:
The Dead are supposed to have started playing Alligator in June, and this is similar to the other early versions from 6/18, 8/4, 9/3 and 9/15 - it starts with Jerry's guitar intro, not with the drum intro. (It also resembles the 8/4 and 9/3 Alligators in that it stops without going into Caution, whereas 9/15 segues to Caution.) The New Potato also has a much longer jam than the 8/4/67 New Potato - I think 8/4 is the earliest New Potato we have, since it seems less developed.
I also hear only one drummer here, which would place the show before Mickey Hart's arrival.
So my guess is that "5-5-67" is actually from August/September '67 - sometime between 8/4 and 9/15.
(One possible clue to the date is Weir’s intro to New Potato Caboose: “This one’s for Laughlin.” I suspect this may be Chandler Laughlin, one of the owners of the Red Dog Saloon back in 1965. He’d been busted, but according to Charles Perry's book Haight-Ashbury (p.238), around September 1967, he became a DJ on KMPX: “Tom Donahue offered him a job so he could get early parole from prison, where he was serving time on his grass bust.”) [a recent upgrade]

There has also been a dispute over whether the 6-18-67 Alligator>Caution actually comes from that date, since Bill Graham speaks from the stage after Caution. But it is from Monterey. Not only is the general sound & vibe the same, but it has the same rotten harmonica player who was in Cold Rain & Snow! (He's not Pigpen, by the way - Pigpen's mike was dead for the start of Alligator - but he might have been familiar with the songs since he seems to be trying to play in the right spots.) Graham was also definitely present and making announcements at Monterey.
I think this is the earliest Alligator we have. What puzzles me is that the Alligator blazes into Caution.... The next few Alligators all just stop with the vocal reprise; we don't have another Alligator>Caution until 9-15-67. [a recent upgrade - the older copies are incomplete and lesser quality]

There are a few other corrections to make in the 1967 files as well:

The "12-5-66" studio session on the Archive actually has a few instrumentals from the first album sessions in January '67 - Minglewood Blues, Cream Puff War, Sitting On Top Of The World, I Know You Rider, Cold Rain & Snow, and King Bee (which is mistakenly listed as The Same Thing). This tape runs too fast, and a couple instrumentals from these sessions are not yet available digitally. 

The Morning Dew on our 1-14-67 tape is clearly not from that date, but seems to be from an unknown 1968 show. (See the first comment below.)

The "2-12-67" Smokestack Lightning>King Bee is actually from the 11-19-66 show.
11-19-66 used to be considered a '67 show - when it came into circulation some tapes dated it 3-17-67, a date Dick Latvala accepted. But more research confirmed that the '66 date is correct.

Neal Cassady's rap with the Dead on 7-23-67 (previously available in part as a flexidisc in Hank Harrison's 1973 Dead Book) has had a treacherous history on the Archive - an older copy from the acid-test compilations included only two minutes of it, and an 8-minute portion of the disc was filler in the 11-10-67 show.
Fortunately, a longer 16-minute copy was recently found, which includes not only the full Cassady rap, but also, at the end, the start of the earliest live version of Lovelight we have: 

45 minutes of a Lovelight rehearsal session have long circulated, commonly dated 11-19-67, but actually from before its live debut in July. The song is played primitively, and the band is clearly working out the arrangement. This is from an unknown session sometime in mid-67 (discussed in the comments below), and was recently included on the Archive.

There's a tape thought to be a studio session labeled "10-20-67" on the Archive (which has an incomplete Viola Lee from 1-14-67 as filler) - but a better-quality copy of the same tape is here:
This tape has also circulated as 10-31-67, but the actual date is unknown. I believe it is from October '67 - there are two drummers, and the Other One sounds like it could be earlier than the 10-22-67 show. I originally thought it was a studio session, but listening again, found that it sounds more like a multi-tracked live show. The echo on the Caution vocals doesn’t sound like a studio recording, for instance; and you can very faintly hear the echo of the vocals in the drum mic during the opening Cryptical and Alligator. The vocals go in and out of the mix – Weir’s guitar is also low in the mix until midway through the Other One, when it comes up in a noticeable mix change. The start and finish of both suites are (intentionally?) clipped on the tape, so no audience is heard. These versions are very short – the Other One suite is half the length of the others from this period.
(A couple tracks on these tapes are fillers from other sources: Smokestack Lightning is a fragment from the 11-19-66 show, and Lovelight is from a mid-'67 rehearsal tape.)
An actual outtake of the Other One suite from the Anthem sessions is available as a filler track here: 

And finally, "10-31-67 Winterland" is a fake; the music is actually from 11-10/11-67.

So to sum up - here is the list of our actual 1967 Dead shows, in accurate order:

1-14-67 Be-In -
3-18-67 Winterland -
6-18-67 Monterey -
7-23-67 Straight Theater - 
8-4/5-67 Toronto (2 songs each) -
"5-5-67" (Aug/Sept) -
9-3-67 Rio Nido (and a bit from 9-4) -
9-15-67 Hollywood Bowl AUD -
"10-31-67" (October) - Other One suite & Alligator>Caution: 
10-22-67 Winterland -
"1-27-67" AUD (October) -
11-10/11-67 Shrine (the first two shows recorded for the Anthem album) (alternate Alligator>Caution from 11-10-67)
[New transfers of Healy's reels of these Shrine shows have recently been added to the Archive, however I don't think they're actually upgrades to the older copies. It hardly matters since the recent release of 11/10/67 shows the original multitrack tapes to be far superior to the muddy, mono circulating tapes.]  

Aside from the studio sessions listed earlier, there are also a few other pieces of interest from 1967:

Feb/March '67 - This is a long interview with Garcia from sometime before the first album came out in March. The sound isn't very good, but it makes me wonder why there aren't more interviews on the Archive. 

April '67 - Garcia & Lesh appear on a KMPX radio show to chat with DJ Tom Donahue and play various music they've been listening to - this show is kind of like a Phil & Jerry mix-tape.

4-8-67 - A show on KPIX-TV covers the San Francisco music scene with songs from the Grateful Dead, the Wildflowers, and Quicksilver Messenger Service - Ralph Gleason interviews Garcia, and the Dead do a short live Cream Puff War.

11-14-67 - Studio outtakes of Dark Star & Born Cross-Eyed. (The Born Cross-Eyed might not be an outtake, but the actual single version, since it has a bit of Feedback from a live show added as a surprise coda at the end.) [a recent upgrade, much better than the older copy]


  1. Charlie Miller has noted that the 1-14-67 Morning Dew is actually not from 1-14-67.

    The tape source is different; it has different sound quality; the band's playing is different than in the other songs; he hears two drummers in this Dew. (The crowd at the end also sounds like an 'indoor' audience to me.)

    In fact, I don't think it's from '67 at all - not only does it sound much more advanced than the other Dews from this year, it's also conspicuously lacking Pigpen's organ in the mix (which we have in all the other early Dews I think), and it's much longer. Late '68 would be my guess...

  2. I forgot to mention this earlier - but in the Taper's Section, David Lemieux noted that the Dead played for a week in Toronto in '67 (July 31-August 5).
    "Unfortunately there are reels in the vault clearly marked with the date and venue of some of these shows, which have been scratched out, as the tapes were recorded over."

    Heartbreaking news! But sadly typical of how the Dead treated their tapes at the time... 9/4/67 was apparently also taped over except for the very end of Caution. And of course the Anthem shows in early '68 were chopped to pieces in the studio when preparing the album... The Dead little thought anyone would want to hear these shows years later!
    Still, I wonder what was recorded on top of those Toronto tapes....

    (A badly cut fragment of Lindy survives on the 8/4 reel, though it's omitted from most circulating tapes. A couple of the Jefferson Airplane's shows from the Toronto run also survive.)

  3. As noted in the "Crowded Dead Stage" post, the 7/23/67 tape of Neal Casady rapping with the Dead is just an excerpt from a longer tape, presumably held by Hank Harrison. It would be nice to hear the whole thing...

    Harrison included this recording as an acetate flexidisc with his 1973 Dead Book, with some notes:
    "The audience, consisting mostly of young people from Haight Street, did not know who he was and were jeering him from the floor.
    This recording is an edited version of a longer performance. The Grateful Dead are in the background making Prankster music and the totality is reminiscent of the acid tests."

  4. I was checking the "10-20-67" studio session to see if I could pin down an accurate date for it. All we know for sure is that it comes from the Sep/Oct '67 Anthem sessions.

    Fortunately we can compare it to a nearby show - 10/22/67.
    If you check the Lovelight from the studio session, it's obviously earlier than the 10/22 show. Pigpen & the band sing it rather differently and it's instrumentally not as developed - there are a lot of parts that are just missing in the studio cut, and Jerry in particular seems not to have figured out his soloing.
    The Other One from the studio session also sounds earlier to me than the 10/22 show - it's very stodgy and uncertain (and short), whereas on 10/22 they burn it up.

    One interesting thing about the Lovelight is that our earliest Lovelight, from 8/5, is also performed rather differently from the studio version. Maybe they decided the call & response or Pigpen's vamping wouldn't work in the studio? Hard to explain why it would've devolved.

    Another thing is that there are two drummers in the studio session, so it has to be after 9/29, when Mickey first played with the band. Notice that the studio Alligator has the long drum break after the verses, which was not in the earlier live versions. So I think this is almost certainly a mid-October studio session.

    One peculiar thing about 10-22-67 is that I only hear one drummer. Does anyone else hear two? I hear two drummers in the "1-27-67" Alligator>Caution - and, after a few minutes of jamming after the Alligator verses, they do stop for a drum break similar to the studio session where Garcia sings "Alligator runnin' round my door." So I think that show is definitely also from October '67.

    You can tell from all this what a mess trying to date a 1967 tape is!

  5. Checking 5/5/67 again, I'm pretty sure there's only one drummer throughout, so it's definitely pre-Mickey. (Deadbase used to assert that there were two drummers in Alligator, hence the show must be 9/29/67, but that was false. Could be the right month, though I lean towards August '67.)

    Anyway, I should also mention here that there's some debate about whether our 11/19/66 tape actually comes from 3/17/67. Latvala claimed it did, and the traditional tapedate aside, I think it's a strong claim.
    I discussed that in the comments to the "1966 Songs" post, on 2/15/11 and 1/1/12.

  6. More on the October '67 studio session:

    After a close comparison, the mysterious studio Smokestack Lightning is simply the 11/19/66 live version again, but in mono, slowed-down, and faded-out early.
    Strange how many times that 11/19/66 Smokestack surfaced on tapes as a 1967 studio track from one date or another!

    The Lovelight is also not from the fall '67 Anthem sessions. It's the longest take from the Lovelight rehearsal session, which was commonly dated 11/19/67. That date is flagrantly wrong, though. After listening to the full rehearsal session, these Lovelights are clearly earlier & more primitive than even the 8/5/67 live version, which is much stronger and more fully worked-out.
    So I would guess that the Lovelight session may have taken place in July '67 or so.
    That raises another question of where & why the Dead were taping a rehearsal session in summer '67, but I have no idea...

    The Other One & Alligator>Caution remain safely in the October '67 sessions.
    A better studio take of the Other One suite has surfaced as a filler track in these February '71 studio rehearsals:

  7. The new '30 Days Of The Dead' day 27 has an Alligator>Caution credited to 1967-11-10 which is not the same as the one we have had for ages credited to either the 10th (with a splice) or the 11th. The yelps at the start are different and so is Jerry's post drums 'Alligator running round my door' stuff with Bobby 'mopping up my floor' on the new one. The sound quality is better too.

    By the way, I would push those Lovelight rehearsals back to late 66 or early 67. The earliest Lovelight we have is the riffing behind Neal Cassady at the Straight 1967-07-23. Jerry's guitar leads on the rehearsal to me sound more like the late 66/early 67 stuff we have than summer 67 (admittedly not much). There is so much missing from that period that we can extrapolate far too far from flimsy evidence and we will almost certainly never know, but that's my flimsy extrapolation.


  8. Yes, a new Alligator>Caution!

    Since this is credited to 11/10, the one we had must be from 11/11. The stereo sound is far superior to the circulating mostly-mono Shrine tapes.

    All we know of the Lovelight rehearsal is that it has to predate 7/23/67; and my guess is it's after 3/18/67. But since (other than the short Monterey set) we don't have any Dead show between mid-March and early August '67, there's no telling just when Lovelight debuted in that period.

    This post could use some updating... The complete Lovelight rehearsal tape, and the longest known 7/23/67 tape (with our first live Lovelight) are on the Archive now. Some other links can be updated too; a much better copy of the studio Dark Star has appeared, along with new transfers of the Shrine shows.

  9. Looks like you forgot this TV date:

  10. By the way, I believe that on the new 30 Trips release of 11/10/67, New Potato Caboose and Alligator>Caution are actually taken from the 11/11 show. But only the Vault tapes could confirm that.

    Made a few more updates & corrections in this post.