January 8, 2010

The Dead's 1966 Songs

Beyond 1967, there lies a strange land of garage-band Dead. The music sounds odd and unfamiliar - it's not quite "primal Dead", but almost a completely different band than the one we first heard. The band is young and full of pep - dipping their toes in teeny-pop, jugband antiquities, and smoky blues - the few original songs sound like weird attempts to copy the local top 40 - Garcia solos frantically, but the band is still clunky and learning how to carry a jam - Pigpen often takes the lead with his harp, organ, soulful singing, and barrel of R&B covers. The Dead started out as an average dance band, playing short sets at any place that would take them - but they were a band of dropout freaks & ex-folkie acidheads, with strange ideas about music they didn't quite know how to play yet.
Many people aren't well-acquainted with this primitive 1966 version of the Dead - so this is a short guide to the year's songs.

We'll start by letting Garcia tell the story from the beginning:

"I got into old-time country music...and in order to play string-band music you have to have a band, you can't play it by yourself. So I would be out recruiting musicians.... Bluegrass bands are hard to put together because you have to have really good bluegrass musicians to play, and in Palo Alto there wasn't really very many of them - not enough to keep a band going all the time.... I decided to put together a jug band, because you could have a jug band with guys that could hardly play at all.....and Weir finally had his chance to play because Weir had this uncanny ability to really play the jug.... And Pigpen, who was mostly into playing Lightnin' Hopkins and harmonica....
"[The electric band] was Pigpen's idea. He'd been pestering me for a while, he wanted me to start up an electric blues band....because in the jug band we used to do blues numbers like Jimmy Reed tunes and even played a couple of rock & roll tunes, and it was just the next step.... Theoretically it's a blues band, but the minute we get electric instruments it's a rock & roll band.... We put Pigpen on organ immediately, and he was doing most of the lead vocals at the time."
"We stole a lot of, at that time, the Kinks, and the Rolling Stones - King Bee, Red Rooster, Walkin' the Dog....we were just doing hard simple rock & roll stuff, old Chuck Berry stuff, Promised Land, Johnny B Goode - a couple of songs that I sort of adapted from jug band material. Stealin' was one of those, and that tune called Don't Ease Me In was our first single, an old ragtime pop Texas song. I don't remember a lot of the other stuff.... Oh yeah, we did It's All Over Now Baby Blue from the very beginning because it was such a pretty song. Weir used to do 'She's got everything she needs, she don't look back....'"
- from Signpost to New Space, 1971

In '64, as one McCree's player said, "Jerry was making a transition. He'd gone from old-time American music to bluegrass, and he wanted to try something different. I remember we saw the Jim Kweskin Jug Band on the Steve Allen show....and we'd heard their record, and that sounded like a lot of fun, so Jerry decided we'd get together a jug band..... When Jerry decided he wanted to do something, he always had a way of recruiting the people he needed to get it to happen."
When Garcia, Weir & Pigpen were in Mother McCree's, naturally they took many songs from the old jugbands, particularly Gus Cannon's (Viola Lee Blues, Minglewood Blues, Big Railroad Blues, Goin' to Germany) and the Memphis Jug Band (Stealin', Overseas Stomp, On the Road Again, KC Moan). Garcia brought some folk songs like Cold Rain & Snow, Deep Elem Blues, and Been All Around This World - Weir did a couple Jesse Fuller covers, Beat It On Down The Line (a song Dead fans would become all too familiar with) and Monkey & the Engineer. Pigpen, of course, contributed the blues - Little Red Rooster (Howlin' Wolf), Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (Sonny Boy Williamson), Big Boss Man (Jimmy Reed). This was rounded out with a dash of Chuck Berry songs, like Memphis.
I don't think Mother McCree's setlists are really known, some of these are probably guesses based on the songs brought to the early Dead. There is, luckily, one July 1964 Mother McCree's show that has survived on tape, with this set:
Overseas Stomp
Ain't It Crazy (The Rub)
I'm Satisfied With My Gal (Yes She Do, No She Don't)
Boodle Am Shake
My Gal
Shake That Thing
Beat It On Down The Line
Cocaine Blues
Beedle Um Bum
On The Road Again
Monkey & The Engineer
In The Jailhouse Now
Washington At Valley Forge (Crazy Words, Crazy Tune)
A lot of their jugband repertoire was shared with Jim Kweskin's Jug Band, songs like Viola Lee, Lindy, and Minglewood - in fact, at this show, seven of the songs came from Jim Kweskin's 1963 album Unblushing Brassiness! Six songs made it into the Dead's setlists - three lasting into '66, and three having to wait til the acoustic sets of 1970.
Since the McCree's set was released on CD, it's interesting to hear how different the approach is from later Dead. This is a band of traditionalists - they're trying to exactly mimic a '30s hokum band, down to the wobbly singing style, and they're pretty good at it - sometimes they sound like they're straight off a 78. It's amusing to hear, but worlds away from the creative alchemy of the Dead.
In one respect though, the band is already showing traits that we'll see in '66 and beyond. There was an aftershow interview taped with Garcia where he explains jug-band music, and talks about their major sources of material - not just early jug-band records, but also early Dixieland/New Orleans jazz, '20s/30s popular music, and "a lot of recent blues....from the last three or four years, R&B songs." He says their wide-ranging repertoire "makes it a lot more satisfying for us because it doesn't restrict us to one particular style.... We'll play the music as long as we're together.... It's fun, it's rewarding, it's great to get together. We don't expect to ever make a fortune out of this, or ever be popular or famous or worshipped...."

Having gone electric, the Warlocks played their first show at Magoo's Pizza Parlor in Menlo Park on May 5, 1965. Just a few weeks later, Phil Lesh was invited by Garcia to join the band, learning bass as he went - he's confirmed that some of the first songs he learned were I Know You Rider, King Bee, and Midnight Hour. (He also noted that at the first Warlocks show he went to, he was "blown back against the wall by the loudest music I'd ever heard.")
Back then, the Bay-area music scene that rose up in '66 hardly existed yet, and the Warlocks moved on from playing for the high-school crowd in a pizza place to playing at the In Room lounge (which in photos looks like a cafeteria!) and various bars, teen clubs, and strip-joints.
Garcia later said, "The only scene then was the Hollywood hype scene, booking agents in flashy suits, gigs in booze clubs, six nights a week, five sets a night, doing all the R&B rock standards. We did it all. Then we got a job at a Belmont club and developed a whole malicious thing, playing songs louder and weirder... For those days it was loud, and for a bar it was ridiculous. People had to scream at each other to talk, and pretty soon we had driven out all the regular clientele. They'd run out clutching their ears."
I have to include a link to the excellent discussion of 1965 shows over at Lost Live Dead: http://lostlivedead.blogspot.com/2009/09/north-to-san-francisco-warlocks-in.html

The Warlocks' early electric repertoire of 1965 had some leftovers from the jugband (like Stealin' and Don't Ease Me In) - a few Chuck Berry rockers (Promised Land, Johnny B Goode) - Pigpen's blues songs (King Bee, Little Red Rooster) - and some group-sung novelty hits (Walkin' the Dog, Woolly Bully).
Quite a few of the Dead's early songs had also been covered by the Rolling Stones - Not Fade Away (Holly), Hi-Heel Sneakers, Empty Heart, Pain in My Heart (Otis Redding), I Just Want to Make Love to You (Muddy Waters), King Bee (Slim Harpo), Little Red Rooster (Howlin' Wolf), Walkin' the Dog (Rufus Thomas), It's All Over Now (Womack), Around & Around (Berry)....
This was no coincidence. The Stones were the #1 influence on American garage-bands in the mid-'60s, lots of bands wanted to sound like them - pick up any Nuggets collection and you'll find a dozen Stones wannabes under the rocks. Garcia said later, "For me, the most resonant thing was hearing the Rolling Stones play music that I'd grown up with, the Chess stuff. That was surprising because it was music that had already happened in my life, and then hearing it again was like, 'Right, that would be fun to play.' In the Grateful Dead's earliest version as a bar band, the option was to play Beatles stuff or Rolling Stones, and we always opted for whatever the Stones were doing."
Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home came out in March '65 - this was the first Dylan album that Garcia liked, and the Dead immediately took a couple songs from it. She Belongs To Me (originally sung by Weir!) would unfortunately never be caught on tape until 1985.....but Baby Blue would often recur in Dead sets over the years. (Garcia later said, "Dylan was able to tell you the truth....to talk about the changes that you'd go through, the bummers...and say it in a good way... Back in the folk music days I couldn't really dig his stuff, but on Bringing It All Back Home he was really saying something I could dig, that was relevant to what was going on in my life.")
Though Garcia had been a folk-song devotee in his pre-Dead years, this side of him disappeared once he went electric, and would only occasionally resurface in Dead shows of later years. (It's surprising how few songs from Garcia's early-'60s folk or bluegrass tapes would be picked up by the Dead - just Deep Elem Blues and, in the later acoustic sets, Rosalie McFall.)
Although Pigpen was into Lightnin' Hopkins (playing Katie Mae as early as '63), after the McCree's days he didn't play anything in this style until the acoustic sets of 1970. But in keeping with Pigpen's tastes, their repertoire was very blues-heavy. Garcia said later, "What we were playing back then was basically a harder, rhythm & blues-oriented rock & roll, especially Pigpen's stuff. We were going for a sort of Chess Records school of R&B - Howlin' Wolf & Muddy Waters, those are the records we stole a lot of our tunes from. We didn't have that midwestern authority, we weren't like the Butterfield band - but we were a funky blues band."

I suspect that some of the songs the Dead covered in the '80s (Satisfaction, Last Time, Day Tripper, Gloria), they may well have done in '65.... Other than that, we can only guess what their 1965 setlists were from what they played in 1966 (when they were constantly adding new songs). This is tricky, and often people's memories of old setlists have too much hindsight.... The Warlocks may well have played Do You Believe in Magic (by the Lovin' Spoonful), but Rock Scully's claim that they played the Beatles' Good Day Sunshine at an early Acid Test in December '65 is quite dubious, since the song wasn't released til August '66!

Our first glimpse of the band's repertoire comes with the November 1965 demo, six songs which were pretty unrepresentative - they seem to have chosen tunes that were relatively new and unique and poppy (no Stones, Berry, or blues covers!), but only two of the songs would outlast 1966.

In December '65, tired of being a bar band, the Warlocks renamed themselves the Grateful Dead and discovered the Acid Tests. (Garcia: "We were already burning out....by the time the Acid Test came to our attention.") Within a year, they'd graduated from being the Pranksters' houseband and become a fixture in the San Francisco ballroom scene. Though their place in society transformed as the society changed, and though they were zonked on acid pretty much all year round, the type of music remained a constant throughout the year - lots of poppy dance music and blues, only 'psychedelic' in spots, still very close to the garage-band bashings at the pizza parlor.

It's notable how much the early sets are dominated by blues and R&B songs - up til mid-year, jugband and blues songs were the primary sources for Dead covers, and they didn't play many originals. But in the spring, they seem to have started adding a wider variety of songs. They were quite dissatisfied with their own songs - as a result, almost all of their originals disappear from the setlists after July.
Almost all the songs are sung by Garcia or Pigpen - Weir just gets a few token shouters, but Lesh sings more than he did in later years. Fitting the times, there are lots of songs where the group sings the choruses in harmony. Pigpen plays lots more harmonica than he would later, but mainly supports the songs on a chintzy organ, which is very prominent. This helps fill out the sound (depending how loud he is), since Weir's guitar is sometimes inaudible! - it also gives the music that jaunty '60s pop-radio feel.
Garcia said later, "Pigpen was the only guy in the band who had any talent when we were starting out.... He had no discipline, but he had reams of talent.... Pigpen is what made the band work." This was in spite of Pigpen not liking rehearsals - "We had to browbeat him into being a performer." One early fan noted, "Pigpen was the only one who was really a showman. He'd get out there and work the audience and the band would be behind him...." Lesh adds, "Pig was the perfect front man for the band: intense, commanding, comforting - but I don't think he enjoyed doing that quite as much as sitting on a couch with a guitar and a jug."

It's worth mentioning that the band's sound during this year was very 'conventional' - especially in their pop songs (and they did quite a few), they fit right into the garage-band scene of the day. This wasn't a band with an original 'voice' yet - their main strengths were Garcia's frenetic guitar-playing, Pigpen's talented blues vocals, and their willingness to practice endlessly. At the start of the year, they're still learning their instruments and how to play together, and by the end, their playing is much tighter and more expressive. There are still just a few songs where we can glimpse the breakthrough that would happen in '67.
But there is huge improvement in-between, and a huge number of songs as the newly born Dead try all sorts of things, hanging onto some, getting rid of others. There are almost 70 songs in this list, and these are just the ones caught on tape - a far bigger repertoire than they'd play for many years to come! As we might expect, many of their covers are of recent songs (dating from '56-'65) - though we might distinguish between the really 'new' '64/'65 songs that they picked up, and the '50s songs they would've liked from their teens. What's interesting, given Garcia's folk roots, is that before '56 we suddenly jump back into the '20s and '30s as the most frequent time period for their cover songs. (Which also goes to show how divorced rock music was from the mainstream white music of the '40s and '50s!)

For those interested in the origins of the Dead's songs, here are a couple (very incomplete) pages on their roots, with a few leads -
It would be good if a more comprehensive "Dead roots" site could be written someday (if there isn't one already). Blair Jackson's roots researches, for instance, are not online. In the meantime, there are a few sites that list all of the Dead's songs along with the original cover versions - deadlists for one, but also:

There are some songs we know they must have played in 1966, but don't have any tapes of. It's too bad She Belongs To Me never made it onto tape ("Bob used to croon it," Garcia said in April '67). Garcia said they played Johnny B Goode and Little Red Rooster in the early days, so it's strange not to hear them on any '66 tapes. There are some songs the Dead revived in later days that they must have done early on - like Gloria (Them), Searchin' (the Coasters), and It's All Over Now (Womack/the Stones) - but not in any shows we have.
However - the Dead played over a hundred shows this year - we only have fourteen and a few fragments on tape. Many Acid Test tapes disappeared in the havoc - what happened to Bear's stash of journal tapes can only be imagined - he left the band after the July shows, and after that there were only a few stray tapes made by theater-owners. So, with almost 90% of the year missing, our view of the year is very limited. (The situation in 1967 is even worse, with only about a dozen tapes remaining from a year with over 120 shows!)

These are all the songs the Dead did in 1966 that we have on tape, along with the original artists and the dates performed.
There are a couple abbreviations:
RC stands for the Rare Cuts & Oddities CD - these are mostly studio rehearsals.
??/66 is the mystery-reels collection from early '66.

The Dead wrote this song inspired by a newspaper headline about Bear: "LSD Millionaire Arrested". This is a very poppy song, sung by Pigpen. Apparently new in December, it was recorded for the first album and then dropped, despite being one of their catchiest tunes.
BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE (Jesse Fuller 1961) - ??/66 (two versions) ; 2-6 ; 3-19 ; 5-19 ; 7-16 ; 7-29 ; 7-30 ; 11-19 ; 12-1
Weir did this early and did it often. It never changed.
BETTY & DUPREE (traditional) - RC demo ; 12-1
A distant ancestor of Dupree's Diamond Blues - Pigpen & Jorma Kaukonen recorded a version in 1964. Garcia sings this slow ballad with lots of guitar tremolo.
BIG BOSS MAN (Jimmy Reed 1960) - 7-3 ; 7-16 ; 7-17 ; 7-30 ; 11-29 ; 12-1
A Pigpen strut. The Dead always did this the same way. (Although after '67, it's unheard until June '69.)
BIG BOY PETE (Olympics 1960) - 11-29 ; 12-1
These early performances are done just the same as the Dead's '69 and '70 versions - though with less of a wink.
BIG RAILROAD BLUES (Cannon's Jug Stompers 1928) - RC
This gives us an idea what this song sounded like in Mother McCree's - it's played jugband-style, Garcia singing and Pigpen on harmonica, very similar to On the Road Again or Stealin'. When the Dead started doing it again acoustically in 1970, it was with a very different guitar arrangement.
CAN'T COME DOWN (GD) - 11-3-65
Garcia sings and Pigpen plays harmonica in this brisk original song with suspiciously Dylanesque lyrics by Garcia.
CARDBOARD COWBOY (GD) - 6/66 studio ; 7-16 ; 7-30
Lesh wrote and sang this song, which is interesting because you can tell it's a Lesh composition - it has that over-arranged, awkward feel common in his songs. The band called it "The Monster" because it was so hard to play! Lesh has said this song was so godawful he can't listen to it....the performances sound good, though. One time Weir announces the song as "No Left Turn Unstoned".
CAUTION (GD) - 11-3-65 ; 1-8 ; RC 3/12 ; "2-25" [same as RC]
A copy of Them's Mystic Eyes (with some Pigpen mojo lyrics added), the two early live versions are very similar to how this was done in later years (albeit with more harmonica). They're able to stretch out longer than they could in the Nov '65 demo, and it's a shame we don't have any live versions between March '66 and June '67.
COLD RAIN & SNOW (traditional) - "2-25" ; 3-25 ; 5-19 ; 6/66 studio ; 7-16 ; 7-17 ; 7-29 ; 11-19 ; 11-29 ; 12-1
This old folk song was done by many bluegrass groups - the Dead apparently took it from Obray Ramsey's 1961 version, but considerably altered the arrangement, with a bouncy riff and swirling circling-note break. These early versions are done much faster than in later years - it was played through '67, but then dropped until May '69.
CREAM PUFF WAR (GD) - RC demo ; 5-19 ; 7-16 ; 7-17 ; 7-30 ; 11-19 ; 12-1 - also in early '67, 3-18 and the 4/67 TV show
Easily their most successful original song from '66, this was the only one to make it onto their first album. With lots of live versions, it's interesting to see how it progresses, with the early versions short & clunky, then late in the year it's much faster with the solo flying way out. Garcia said twenty years later that this song was "totally embarrassing. I'd just as soon everybody forgot about it."
DANCIN' IN THE STREETS (Martha & the Vandellas 1964) - 7-3 ; 7-16 ; 7-17 ; 7-29 ; 9-16 ; 11-19 ; 12-1
Weir is no Martha, but this cover was a nice addition to their July sets, and by the end of the year it had become one of their big jam-songs, going way out in the solo.
DEATH DON'T HAVE NO MERCY (Gary Davis 1960) - 1-8 ; 3-19 ; 12-1
The Dead's first big slow blues song, this never changed much over the years. Seems pretty heavy to lay down at an Acid Trip.... A basic track was recorded for the first album, but the song eventually made it onto Live/Dead.
DEEP ELEM BLUES (traditional) - 12-1
The one performance we have has a more strident, rocked-up arrangement than when it resurfaced in the 1970 acoustic sets. (Nice ending, too!) This folk standard was first recorded in the '30s - there are also a couple tapes of Garcia playing this in '62/'63.
DON'T EASE ME IN (traditional) - ??/66 ; 6/66 studio ; 7-16
A fun song, if you don't hear it too often.... It was dropped after this until the 1970 acoustic sets. The Dead probably took this song from Henry Thomas' '20s recordings, which are highly recommended for anyone interested in American music.
DON'T MESS UP A GOOD THING (Fontana Bass/Bobby McClure 1965) - RC ("live 7-3")
Pigpen sings this brisk R&B pop trot. The band sings "Good thing, good thing...."
DOWN SO LONG (GD) - 11-29 ; 12-1
Sounds like a traditional pop song, but apparently it's a short-lived Dead original sung by Garcia, inspired by the Richard Farina novel. (The extra ending is a nice touch.) Deadlists says an instrumental version was recorded in the studio for the first album sessions in Jan '67.
EARLY MORNING RAIN (Gordon Lightfoot) - 11-3-65 ; 11-29
We have two versions a year apart, with Lesh singing - the second one is much faster & arranged differently, but I think the first demo has a more effective mood. This song was covered by many artists in 1965, including Judy Collins, the Kingston Trio, and Ian & Sylvia.
EMPTY HEART (Rolling Stones 1964) - RC
Pigpen & Garcia sing the only Dead version of this Stones song. This is actually one of their hottest early performances, with a long guitar/harmonica duel. (Try listening to this back-to-back with Keep Rolling By for a twin blast of Stones-drenched Dead.)
GANGSTER OF LOVE (Johnny "Guitar" Watson 1957) - RC ("live 7-3")
Garcia sings this swaggering blues song, trying to sound like Pigpen.
GOOD LOVIN' (Olympics 1965 / Young Rascals 1966) - RC demo ; 5-19
Pigpen sings this breakneck cover, which for some reason was dropped almost immediately. It's pretty different from the later versions - more brutish, lacking the intro riff, and having more backing vocals. When they reintroduced it in May '69, Garcia sang it for a while.
GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL (Sonny Boy Williamson 1937) - ??/66 (as a medley) ; 7-16 ; 7-29 ; 7-30 ; 9-16 ; 11-29
This song had been a standard since the '30s, covered by many blues artists. It was perfect for the lascivious Pigpen, though in these early versions the band's playing is noticeably stiffer and less rhythmic than it would be by '68.
HE WAS A FRIEND OF MINE (Mark Spoelstra 1965) - 7-3 ; 7-16 ; 11-19
The Dead try out their harmonies. This was actually a recent song, not a standard but (as common in the folk world) based on an old blues melody - there were many '60s covers, including Dave van Ronk & the Byrds (1965). After '67, the song was pretty rare in Dead shows until April '69, when they revived it for about a year with a much-improved guitar part.
HEADS UP (Freddie King 1961) - 3-19
Garcia vents his Freddie King fixation - but it would be years before another King instrumental would be heard on a Dead stage. This is rather bland, but typical of the instrumentals played for dancehalls back then.
HEY LITTLE ONE (Dorsey Burnette 1960) - RC 3/12 ; "2-25" [same as RC] ; 3-25 ; 7-29
Garcia sings this intensely brooding romantic ballad, which isn't quite like anything else the Dead did.
HI-HEEL SNEAKERS (Tommy Tucker 1964) - 11-19
Garcia sings this light shuffle, which was already a standard by '66. He revived it for a bit in August '69.
I JUST WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU (Muddy Waters 1957) - 11-29
The Dead give this a very fast treatment, forsaking the slinky approach. Written by Willie Dixon, this was one of his instant classics, covered by Chuck Berry '59, the Rolling Stones '64, and many others. (The Dead apparently didn't play this again until 1984!)
I KNOW YOU RIDER (traditional) - 11-3-65 ; ??/66 ; "2-25" ; 3-19 ; 5-19 ; 6/66 studio ; 7-3 ; 7-16 ; 7-30 ; 9-16 ; 12-1
The Dead's most successful conversion of an old folk/blues into a Byrds-style pop song. An instrumental was recorded for the first album in Jan '67, but unfortunately not finished; and for whatever reason they dropped it until Sept '69.
I'M A HOG FOR YOU BABY (Coasters 1959) - 1-8 ; 3-25
A light, catchy song. The first version is somewhat marred by Prankster chatter & mix changes. The only later version was on 4-6-71.
IN THE PINES (traditional) - 7-16
Garcia sings this old blues tune (which had many folk & bluegrass variants). It's odd they didn't do this more often - there are a couple tapes of Garcia playing this song in 1964.
IT HURTS ME TOO (Elmore James 1958) - 5-19 ; 9-16 ; 12-1
Soulful blues from Pigpen, sounding exactly like it did til '72.
IT'S A SIN (Jimmy Reed 1959) - ??/66 ; 3-19 ; 5-19
Garcia sings this blues with Pigpen on harmonica. He kept a fondness for this song, doing it much the same way when they picked it up again in April '69.
IT'S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE (Bob Dylan 1965) - 5-19 ; 7-16 ; 7-17 ; 7-30 ; 9-16
The Warlocks picked up this Dylan song right away, and it was still going strong through '66, sounding much like it did in later years. (Garcia mentioned this in April '67 as the Dylan song they were still doing live, but we don't have any more performances until April '69.)
The Birth of the Dead CD offered a big surprise - an unknown original Dead song, sung by everyone and including a Pigpen rap, from an unknown July '66 show. It's a good one, resembling some lost early Stones show-closer. (Actually, the riff was almost certainly developed from the Stones' Empty Heart!)
KING BEE (Slim Harpo 1957) - 1-8; RC 3/12 ; "2-25" [same as RC] ; 7-17 ; 7-29 ; 11-19
Pigpen is the King Bee. The Dead played this song well early on (it was one of their first blues covers), and the arrangement stayed the same for years, though we don't have any more performances until Feb '69. An instrumental track was recorded for the first album in Jan '67.
LINDY (OVERSEAS STOMP) (Memphis Jug Band) - 9-16 ; 11-29 ; 12-1 - also a brief fragment from 8-4-67
A carryover from the jugband days, the Dead even recorded this charmless tune for their first album, Garcia singing with his Dupree's smirk. It's surprising to see it still being played in August '67!
ME & MY UNCLE (John Phillips) - 11-29 ; 12-1 (two versions)
Judy Collins covered this in 1964, but it was probably widespread in the folk circuit. Weir's early versions are very different from how it developed - more jammed-out and desperate-sounding. After early '67, it disappeared until April '69.
MIDNIGHT HOUR (Wilson Pickett 1965) - ??/66 ; 3-19 ; 9-16 ; 11-19
Pigpen doesn't seem like the type to wait.... But this is a very interesting tune to follow through the early years - it's the first song the Dead used to enter into a long dance jam, and we can hear them get much better by the end of the year.
MINDBENDER (CONFUSION'S PRINCE) (GD) - 11-3-65 ; 2-6 ; 5-19
The Dead get spooky and want to bend your mind..... Garcia and Lesh cowrote and harmonize. The only original song from the Nov '65 demo that we have a live version of (not very different). Another studio version was played on the Taper's Section (see below).
MY OWN FAULT (BB King 1965) - 12-1
A rather dreary slow blues, done once with a guest singer, and the Dead doing their best to sound like the Butterfield Blues Band.
NEW MINGLEWOOD BLUES (Cannon's Jug Band 1930) - 5-19 ; 7-16 ; 7-29 ; 12-1
Weir's hollers make this one painful to listen to. Was it this noisy in Mother McCree's? After '66, we don't have any more performances until April '69.
NEW ORLEANS (Gary Bonds 1960) - 2-12
As the source notes say, this is "sort of an attempt"....this isn't an actual version, mostly just Pigpen improvising over a drumbeat. (They probably did do it sometime in '66, since they revived it a few times in '69/70. See Twist & Shout.)
NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME (Junior Parker 1957) - "2-25" ; 3-19 ; 3-25 ; 7-3 ; 7-16 ; 7-30 ; 12-1
A Pigpen strut. The Dead always did this the same way. (After early '67 though, it was apparently dropped until September '69.)
NOBODY'S FAULT BUT MINE (Blind Willie Johnson '20s) - 7-16
Garcia sings an old favorite of his. Though there's just one '66 version, the Dead weren't through with it....I continue the story in my 'thematic jams' post.
NOT FADE AWAY (Buddy Holly 1957) - RC demo
Our only '66 version is clearly not taken from Holly's original, but the Stones' 1964 version, done at a quick pace with Pigpen on harmonica - in fact, it's played much like Caution, dark and shamanic. It's a mystery why it took the Dead so many years to adopt this song (after a couple false starts, not until Dec '69).
ON THE ROAD AGAIN (Memphis Jug Band 1928) - "2-25" ; 12-1
One of those authentic jugband classics that didn't make it out of '66, done with surprising faithfulness - Garcia singing, Pigpen blowing harmonica. The Dead did pick it up again in the revivalist 1980 acoustic sets, though.
ONE KIND FAVOR (SEE THAT MY GRAVE IS KEPT CLEAN) (Blind Lemon Jefferson 1928) - 2-6 ; 3-19 ; 7-29 ; 11-29 ; 12-1
Garcia sings this blues song, which had already been a standard since the '20s. It sounds a lot like Death Don't Have No Mercy, which may be why it was dropped in '67 - perhaps one death-blues was enough!
ONLY TIME IS NOW (GD) - 11-3-65 ; 2-6
A unique Dead original, Lesh singing lead while the others back him. It sounds like an attempt to write a Zombies-style pop-radio song.
PAIN IN MY HEART (Otis Redding 1963) - 7-16 ; 11-19
Pigpen channels Otis.
PROMISED LAND (Chuck Berry 1964) - RC demo
A surprise - Garcia sings this one, the only known version until May '71.
SAME THING (Muddy Waters 1965) - "9-16" ; 11-19 ; 11-29
Another Willie Dixon song - this is possibly the Dead's finest blues. The way they slip into a jazzy jam is especially impressive - similar to the tempo changes in Schoolgirl, but better-done, and unusually advanced for '66. So it's a shame that after 3-18-67, the only later Pigpen version we have was on 12-31-71.
SICK & TIRED (Fats Domino 1958) - RC ; 5-19
Pigpen sings this strong R&B complaint. "I'm sick an' tired of foolin' aroun' with you!"
SILVER THREADS & GOLDEN NEEDLES (Wanda Jackson 1956) - RC demo ; 5-19
One of the few 'country' tunes of the early Dead - Weir sings this, with Lesh doing the nice harmony. It's surprising we don't have more early versions since this one's very strong, sounding like a pop single, but they dropped it until April '69. This was covered by lots of artists including the Springfields ('62) & the Everly Brothers ('63).
SITTIN' ON TOP OF THE WORLD (Mississippi Sheiks 1930) - 5-19 ; 7-3 ; 7-16 ; 7-30
Another of the Dead's first country covers - and a rare example of later versions being played about as fast as in '66! There's one lone example from '68, then they started doing it again in April '69. This is one of those 'traditional' songs that became standard in both slow blues & fast bluegrass variants - Garcia got it from Bill Monroe's ('57) & Carl Perkins' ('58) versions.
SMOKESTACK LIGHTNIN' (Howlin' Wolf 1956) - 11-19
A great live exploration of this hypnotic blues groove. This is one song Pigpen never brought out too often - we only have one version per year until '69! There is also a very nice, though short, undated studio version (see below).
SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND (Big Jay McNeely 1959) - 11-29 ; 12-1
A nice, slow & soulful Pigpen talking-blues.
STANDING ON THE CORNER (GD) - RC demo ; 5-19 ; 7-16 ; 7-30
One of the few early Dead originals we have several performances of (usually they quickly abandoned their own songs in disgust) - Garcia sings this snotty teen-angst song.
STEALIN' (Memphis Jug Band 1928) - RC demo ; "2-25" ; 3-25 ; 6/66 studio ; 7-17 ; 7-30 ; "9-16" ; "10-7" ; 11-29
The Dead liked this jugband song and did it often in '66, but it disappeared come '67. Garcia sings, with Weir on harmony.
TASTEBUD (COME BACK BABY) (GD)- ??/66 ; 2-6 ; 5-19 ; 6/66 studio
A good Pigpen blues original, unique to '66. They remade the Scorpio recording for the first album, but the song then disappeared. Perhaps the best version was played on the Taper's Section (see below).
TWIST & SHOUT (Isley Brothers 1962) - 2-12
This was an instant rock classic, done by many and perhaps already considered an 'oldie' by '66. Pigpen leads this version, which doesn't stick too close to the original - along with New Orleans, at this Acid Test he was looking for songs where he could sing "yeah!" a lot to soothe an acid-fried audience. Someone bleats tunelessly on harmonica. (A possible instrumental version was played on the Tapers' Section - see below.)
VIOLA LEE BLUES (Cannon's Jug Band 1928) - 1/66 studio rehearsal ; ??/66 (three versions) ; 3-19 ; 5-19 ; 7-3 ; 7-16 ; 7-30 ; 11-29 ; 12-1
A dark jugband song transformed beyond recognition. Early versions are pretty weak, but by the end of the year they're close to getting it down.
WALKIN' THE DOG (Rufus Thomas 1963) - RC demo
Weir leads this rockin' novelty, which is the only known '66 version. It resurfaces a couple times in 1970, then disappears til 1984!
WHO DO YOU LOVE (Bo Diddley 1957)
The only '66 version is a studio recording - see below. This song wouldn't surface in Dead shows until a couple snatches in '70 & '72.
YONDER'S WALL - aka Look Over Yonder Wall (Arthur Crudup 1960) - 12-1
This was a blues standard done by many bands (like Elmore James, Junior Parker 1962, Paul Butterfield 1965) - the Dead did it with a harmonica-playing singer who sounds a lot like Butterfield. (Surprisingly, there is another quasi-Dead version - from the 10-10-68 Hartbeats show, sung by another harmonica player!)
YOU DON'T HAVE TO ASK (GD) - ??/66 ; 3-25 ; 5-19 ; 6/66 studio ; 7-16 ; 7-29 ; 7-30
One of the Dead's best early songs, they did this quite a few times. Unusually, Weir sings lead - live, the ending could feature a blazing Garcia solo while Weir shouted "you already know!" They seem to have dropped this after July, though, as they purged original songs from their sets.Possibly the Dead called this song "Otis On A Shakedown Cruise".
YOU DON'T LOVE ME (Willie Cobb 1961) - ??/66 ; 12-1
First done in a medley with Schoolgirl, with Garcia singing. The Dead probably took this from Junior Wells' 1965 version. The Allmans did much better with this song.
YOU SEE A BROKEN HEART (GD) - RC demo ; 3-19
Pigpen wrote this song, though it sounds like an R&B cover. It's catchy in the '50s style, and the back-and-forth vocals are pretty cute.

And, though we don't have any tapes from '66, I should mention the Dead's cover of Walkin' Blues (a standard originated by Son House & Robert Johnson in the '30s) - we only have a fragment of this, played in an April '67 TV show which compared different San Francisco bands. (Deadbase used to list this song as being played on 10-7-66, but have removed that listing.)

Blues Jam (with Jorma and Jack) - ??/66 (Self-explanatory.)
Slow Blues Instrumental - 3-19
I don't think this has been identified. If an original, it's not very original - mainly a chance for Garcia to lay down some stinging guitar licks.
Jam - 3-25
This is more of a Twist-like dancefloor groove than a jam. Interestingly, it's also the last instrumental the Dead played until '68.

There is a handful of rehearsals and rare tracks from early '66 available on the Taper's Section at dead.net - presumably from the same pile of Bear's unlabeled reels that was used for the Rare Cuts & Oddities CD. It would be nice if Lemieux could share the rest of what's on these reels, but that's unlikely. In the meantime, we have these:

"Tuning/Blues Jam" - 1-1-07
The "tuning" label doesn't seem too promising - actually, it's one of the best things played all year. It turns out to be a full-blown Space! - if this bit of music were plopped into a show from ten or twenty years later, it wouldn't seem out of place at all. There's nothing else like it from '66 (and not much in '67) - this is True Primal Dead. Sadly, it cuts into a dull blues jam.

Tastebud, Mindbender, BIODTL - 2-5-07
The Mindbender is about the same as the 11/65 demo, but the Tastebud is surprising since it sounds much stronger than the live versions from early in the year, with a smoking Garcia solo. (Though the show is tentatively dated 2/6 in the Vault, I could swear Garcia doesn't have that guitar tone until late '66.)

"Jam>Good Lovin' Jam>Jam" - 2-23-09
From a 2/23/66 session, we have a mislabeled jam! It starts with an It's A Sin jam, then drifts into what is unmistakably Ritchie Valens' La Bamba, then heads back into the It's A Sin jam. Though the chords are much the same, this isn't played at all like the early Good Lovin's. On the other hand, it could be a Twist & Shout jam since it sounds exactly like the Twist & Shout from the '66 mystery reels. La Bamba was played again on 11-11-70, and revived in '87.

Other '66 studio selections on the Taper's Section (NFA, Creampuff) are from the Rare Cuts CD.

There is an early-'66 studio or demo version of Who Do You Love with Pigpen singing, which gets pretty wild and is fully developed at six minutes. It actually sounds quite a bit like the Not Fade Away demo on Rare Cuts. (Deadlists notes, "This is often listed as 3/6/66 or March '66. The actual date is unknown.")

There is also a stray, undated Smokestack Lightning (studio '66/67?) -
(This turned out to be a fake - it's actually a fragment of 11/19/66.) 

A number of songs were recorded for the first album in January '67 but dropped - a few of these outtakes were released on the CD reissue:
Alice D Millionaire (aka No Time To Cry) ;
Lindy (Overseas Stomp) ;
Tastebud (aka Come Back Baby) ;
Death Don't Have No Mercy (inst.)

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). Since these are all '66 regulars, this might as well be a '66 studio session! (An instrumental version of Down So Long is unfortunately missing from this tape.)

Only two new songs were considered for the album - the Bonnie Dobson cover Morning Dew (first known show 1/14/67), and Golden Road, which was quickly written that January to be the single. Golden Road didn't last long in live shows, and we only have two performances from 3/18 and "5/5/67". Morning Dew proved more endurable.
Aside from these two songs, only one '66 original made it onto the album (Cream Puff War), and six covers (BIODTL, Cold Rain, Minglewood, Schoolgirl, SoToW, and Viola Lee). The excellent 3-18-67 show (from the day after the album release) shows how far the Dead had advanced in just a few months - soon they would start writing jam-centered songs that would transform their music and leave their 1966 repertoire in the dust....

The early part of 1966 has many shows which are misdated or have unknown dates. I'm not going to try to clear this up - it's impossible to settle whether some half-hour fragment comes from March or May or some other month - so I'll accept the common dates for most of these shows. There are a large number of sources with conflicting dates, but this is a complete listing of what's available for 1966 - the rest of the Archive sources are all duplicates.

A couple Acid Tests are available on the Archive with no Dead music - 1/29/66 and 10/2/66 - for those interested in Prankster madness. 
There's a fake Dead jam from the Acid Test Graduation, the "10/31/66" jam, which is worth hearing anyway.
There is also an early Dead radio interview available from November '66:

Many of deadlists' entries for this year have not been updated - in fact, deadlists' 1966 section is a complete mess, with many wrong or badly edited entries. Use with caution.
For more 1966 dating info, see:

Updated October 2015.

Early Morning Rain
I Know You Rider
Mindbender (Confusion's Prince)
The Only Time Is Now
Can't Come Down
NOTE: Studio demo recorded as the "Emergency Crew", just before they found the name "Grateful Dead". Available on Birth of the Dead.

Deadbase has a couple setlists for uncirculating shows in January '66: 

1/7/66 MATRIX -
On the Road Again
She Belongs to Me
I'll Go Crazy
Can't Come Down
Death Don't Have No Mercy
Parchman Farm
Midnight Hour
The Only Time Is Now
Early Morning Rain
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
NOTE: Deadbase says that "This setlist came from Matrix soundman Peter Abram in 1983," and it certainly looks plausible. For a couple original songs from their Nov '65 demo, this is one of only a couple known live performances. She Belongs To Me is, sadly, the last appearance for 19 years. I'll Go Crazy is the James Brown song (later covered by Garcia & Grisman) - Parchman Farm may be Bukka White's or Mose Allison's - what could they have sounded like? It's sad that this tape never got circulated.

1/13/66 MATRIX -
All of My Love
Hog For You Baby
NOTE: "All Of My Love" may be Buddy Holly's Oh Boy ("All of my love, all of my kisses...."), which Weir pulled out a few times in later years. (This seems like a short setlist, but perhaps the Dead took too much acid that day and fell apart?)

1/8/66 FILLMORE -
I'm A King Bee
Hog For You Baby
Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks) >
Death Don't Have No Mercy
NOTE: Also includes much Prankster madness. This is taken from a video soundtrack.

Late January '66, Unknown Location - 
Viola Lee Blues rehearsal (many takes) 
NOTE: The Dead work out the arrangement, which makes me think they hadn't played it in '65. Pigpen initially sings and plays harmonica, before leaving. 

"2/6/66" Unknown Location -
One Kind Favor
Beat It On Down The Line
Only Time Is Now// 

NOTE: This fragment was included in a Jam of the Week on dead.net, and isn't available except for the three songs included in an earlier Taper's Section (noted above).

"Possibly 2/12/66" - Speculated to be from 7/31/66:
Viola Lee Blues
Don't Ease Me In

"Longshoreman's Hall 1st Night" - Possibly April:
Beat It On Down The Line
Schoolgirl>You Don't Love Me>Schoolgirl //

Unlabeled Reel - 2/12/66:
Pigpen Raps> "New Orleans" (sort of an attempt)
/Twist and Shout

"Longshoreman's Hall 3rd Night" - Possibly April:
//It's A Sin
Viola Lee Blues
Midnight Hour
Beat It On Down The Line
Blues Jam (with Jorma and Jack) //

"Pauley Ballroom #2" (no date) - Now thought to be from 1/28/66:
//You Don't Have To Ask
Viola Lee Blues
I Know You Rider
Midnight Hour (plug pulled)

NOTE: This set added a lot to our knowledge of early '66. For instance, Pigpen's "who cares" rap from 2/12 had circulated by itself for a long time - he soothes a freaked-out lady in the audience by summoning up a gospel vibe. And now that we have the complete reel, we can hear that after that, he does a little medley of songs where he can sing "yeah, yeah" to everyone like a blues preacher, keeping things under control.
http://www.archive.org/details/gd1966-XX-XX.sbd.GEMS.81254.flac16 - ??/66

Good Morning Little Schoolgirl>You Don't Love Me>Good Morning Little Schoolgirl // -
This is on the mystery-reels set, but I single this out partly because it's ubiquitous on '66 tapes - practically every date has this medley as filler, and the true date is unknown (it could be from April) - and partly because it's the first known Dead sandwich. They were doing some segues in '66 (for instance, Caution>Death Don't on 1/8 or King Bee>Caution on 3/12) - but here, the transition in and out of You Don't Love Me in the middle of Schoolgirl, though not skillful, is one of the few hints of the later Dead in early '66. What's also interesting is that both of these songs were on Junior Wells' 1965 album Hoodoo Man Blues, which Garcia admired.

Feb/March '66 Rehearsal Session, Watts -
Walkin’ the Dog
Big Boss Man
Beat It On Down The Line
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
You See a Broken Heart
One Kind Favor
Promised Land
NOTE: This was available on the "San Franciscan Nights, series 2" compilation. It's more complete than the selections for the Rare Cuts & Oddities CD. (For more demo songs, see that entry at the end.)

/Viola Lee Blues
/One Kind Favor
I Know You Rider
You See A Broken Heart
It's A Sin //
Beat It On Down The Line
Heads Up
Next Time You See Me
Slow R & B Instrumental
/Death Don't Have No Mercy
Midnight Hour //
NOTE - Lots of PA trouble in this show - this early, the Dead are already hounded by equipment trouble! Almost every song is blues or R&B. (The most recent source has this as the 3/19/66 Acid Test, but more likely it's from the show on 3/12.)

3/25/66 TROUPER'S CLUB, LA -
Hey Little One
Hog For You Baby
You Don't Have To Ask
Cold Rain And Snow
Next Time You See Me //
NOTE - Pigpen's organ is especially loud at this show.

5/19/66 AVALON -
Beat It On Down The Line
Standing On The Corner
It Hurts Me Too
Viola Lee Blues
I Know You Rider
It's A Sin
Sick And Tired
Cream Puff War //
Sittin' On Top Of The World
Minglewood Blues
Cold Rain And Snow
Silver Threads And Golden Needles
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
Good Lovin'
You Don't Have To Ask
NOTE: The bass drum is far too loud in the mix. The Vault tape is misdated as 3/12/66, but as heard on the 3/12/07 Taper's Section, it's in wide stereo; the circulating tape is more compressed.

"2/25/66" Unknown Location -
On The Road Again
Next Time You See Me
I Know You Rider
Hey Little One
Cold Rain & Snow
King Bee >
Stealin' //
NOTE: The Vault also has this tape as 3/12/66, but that date is false. This show cannot be from Feb/March, but dates from sometime in the spring. See the comment below. (It also circulates as "6/15/66" from Gans' Dead Hour show - a nonexistent date, but closer to the real one.)

I Know You Rider
Don't Ease Me In
You Don't Have To Ask
Cardboard Cowboy
Cold Rain And Snow
NOTE: The studio Cardboard Cowboy is in the Archive 6/66 studio session (mislabeled as Tastebud), but was not released on Birth of the Dead - however, it was released on the Searching for the Sound bonus CD, complete with comments from Lesh! Tastebud and multiple takes of Cold Rain & Snow are unfortunately missing from the Archive tape.
It's interesting that the Dead decided to release Stealin' and Don't Ease Me In as their first single - a clear nod to their jugband roots, but leaving more catchy songs in the can. This may have been a compromise, due to their unhappiness with the sessions. As the producer noted, "It was an effort to get out of the zone of indecision.... The early Dead was trying to find themselves in a sense and get a product out when Phil wanted to do one thing and Jerry wanted to do another... So it was frustrating for everybody, but we had to get something finished."
After the very limited release, the band talked about the single. Garcia: "We never got in on the mixing of it and we didn't really like the cuts and the performances were bad and the recordings were bad and everything else was bad so we didn't want it out.... It doesn't sound like us.... It's not that bad, but - " Pigpen: "Bullshit." Weir: "Go burn it."
http://www.archive.org/details/gd66-06-xx.sbd.vernon.9513.sbeok.shnf - 6/66 Scorpio Studio Outtakes 

7/3/66 FILLMORE -
Nobody's Fault But Mine
Dancin' In The Street
I Know You Rider //
He Was A Friend Of Mine
Next Time You See Me
Viola Lee Blues
Big Boss Man
Sittin' On Top Of The World /
Keep Rolling By
New Minglewood Blues
Cold Rain & Snow
Beat It On Down The Line
Cream Puff War
Don't Mess Up A Good Thing
Cardboard Cowboy (The Monster)
Gangster Of Love
You Don't Have To Ask
In The Midnight Hour
NOTE: The Archive track listing isn't right, but the music is. Also, the circulating tape is only part of set one, but the whole show was released on the 30 Trips box set. 

7/16/66 FILLMORE -
/ I Know You Rider
Big Boss Man
Standing On The Corner
Beat It On Down The Line
In The Pines
Cardboard Cowboy
Nobody's Fault But Mine
Next Time You See Me
He Was A Friend Of Mine
Cream Puff War
Viola Lee Blues
Don't Ease Me In
Pain In My Heart
Minglewood Blues
Sittin' On Top Of The World
You Don't Have To Ask
Cold Rain And Snow
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
It's All Over Now Baby Blue
Dancin' In The Streets //
NOTE: The majority of the live tracks on Birth of the Dead are from this show. As an encore, the band played Midnight Hour with Jefferson Airplane, with Marty Balin, Joan Baez & Mimi Farina joining on vocals...but it's not on tape!

7/17/66 FILLMORE -
// Big Boss Man
Cold Rain And Snow
It's All Over Now Baby Blue
Cream Puff War
King Bee
Dancin' In The Streets //
NOTE: There's a lot of date confusion in July. As Charlie Miller says, "This is the complete 7/17/66. What was earlier had as 7/17/66 is really part of 7/16/66." All the other Archive copies of "7/17", and the deadlists listing, are just the incomplete first set of 7/16. Also, the Vernon "7/1/66" file (in deadlists as 7/??/66) is actually another copy of 7/17.
This is only one set of the show. David Gans wrote, "There was another 7/17 tape that was unusable because of damage to the reel."

Dancin' In The Street
Cold Rain and Snow
King Bee
One Kind Favor
You Don't Have To Ask
Hey Little One
Beat It On Down The Line
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
New Minglewood Blues
NOTE - The Gans and Vernon files are incomplete copies of 7/30. Lesh called this "one of the worst performances I can remember...."

Standing On The Corner
I Know You Rider
Next Time You See Me
Sitting On Top Of The World
You Don't Have To Ask
Big Boss Man
Cardboard Cowboy
It's All Over Now Baby Blue
Cream Puff War
Viola Lee Blues
Beat It On Down The Line
Schoolgirl //
NOTE - The Vernon file is a very incomplete copy of 7/29.

10/7/66 -
Deadbase used to list: Stealin', Don't Ease Me In, Cold Rain, Cream Puff War, Walkin' Blues. They've deleted this setlist, so presumably their information was wrong. The circulating tape has these songs -
Cream Puff War
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
This is a fake; the Creampuff and Schoolgirl are actually from 7/16, and Stealin' from 7/17.
http://www.archive.org/details/gd66-10-07.sbd.unknown.14102.sbeok.shnf (if you want to check....)

11/19/66 FILLMORE -
Cold Rain And Snow
Hi-Heel Sneakers
Pain In My Heart
Beat It On Down The Line
Cream Puff War
Same Thing
He Was A Friend Of Mine
Dancin' In The Street //
Smokestack Lightnin'
King Bee
Midnight Hour
NOTE - A blues-drenched show, dominated by Pigpen and some incredible jams. (This was labeled on some tapes as 3/17/67, which was an incorrect date.)

11/29/66 MATRIX -
Me And My Uncle
Same Thing
Big Boy Pete
One Kind Favor
Early Morning Rain
Cold Rain And Snow
Viola Lee Blues
Down So Long
Something On Your Mind
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
I Just Want To Make Love To You
NOTE: The tape is from sets two & three; the first set is missing. These two Matrix shows have rather poor sound, due to a burnt-out tapedeck. Matrix owner Peter Abram said, "The heads were worn out on my machine. The tapes sounded great over the headphones, but when I played them back between sets, I knew something was wrong."

12/1/66 MATRIX -
Minglewood Blues
Betty And Dupree
Next Time You See Me
I Know You Rider
Big Boss Man
One Kind Favor
Alice D. Millionaire
Me And My Uncle
Cream Puff War
You Don't Love Me
Beat It On Down The Line
It Hurts Me Too
On The Road Again
Yonder's Wall
My Own Fault
Down So Long
Cold Rain And Snow
Viola Lee Blues
Deep Elem Blues
Something On Your Mind
Big Boy Pete
Death Don't Have No Mercy
Dancin' In The Street
Me And My Uncle
NOTE: An unknown guest sings Yonder's Wall and My Own Fault. And oddly, the Dead play Me & My Uncle twice in the same show (as well as a false start).

"9/16/66" AVALON -
I Know You Rider
It Hurts Me Too
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
Dancin' In The Street
Midnight Hour
NOTE - The playing in this show is a quantum leap ahead of the July shows. It actually isn't from September, but from one of the late December Avalon shows.
Stealin' and The Same Thing on the Historic Dead album are from the 11/29/66 Matrix show. Apparently the rest of the Avalon tapes were erased after the shady LP releases of this tape in '70-71.

RARE CUTS & ODDITIES - Miscellaneous Early '66
Walking the Dog
You See a Broken Heart
Promised Land (these three songs are from the Feb/March session listed above)

Good Lovin'
Standing on the Corner
Cream Puff War (these three songs are from an April/May session, and are close to the 5/19 versions)
Betty & Dupree 3/2
Stealin' 3/2

Silver Threads & Golden Needles (late '66)
Not Fade Away (early '66)

Big Railroad Blues
Sick & Tired
Empty Heart (date unknown for these three songs)

Gangster of Love 7/3
Don't Mess Up a Good Thing 7/3

Hey Little One 3/12
King Bee 3/12
Caution 3/12 (date for these three songs aka "2/25" - actually from the spring)
NOTE: These are selections from a box of Bear's unlabeled reels. Apparently the band taped many demos and rehearsals in early '66 at their house in Watts. The rest of the reels' contents are unknown outside the Vault.

BIRTH OF THE DEAD - LIVE JULY 1966 - Most of these are from 7/16, except for a couple songs which could be from either 7/15 or 7/17.
Viola Lee Blues - Don't Ease Me In - Pain In My Heart - Sittin' On Top of the World - It's All Over Now Baby Blue - King Bee - Big Boss Man - Standing on the Corner - In the Pines - Nobody's Fault But Mine - Next Time You See Me - One Kind Favor - He Was A Friend Of Mine - Keep Rolling By (this was the only song not on circulating '66 tapes)
NOTE: This was a somewhat disappointing selection.... One CD from one or two shows wasn't a wide illustration of '66 Dead, particularly since many of the better songs were left out. (This has been somewhat redressed by the 7/3/66 release.)

SO MANY ROADS (box set)
On The Road Again - 3/12, aka "2/25" ("from unlabeled reel")
You Don't Have To Ask - 7/16
Cream Puff War - 7/16
I Know You Rider - 9/16
Same Thing - 3/18/67

And finally, some last words -

"I'd never heard anything like it. Garcia was sort of frightening with that cosmic electric intensity he had then.... The music was scary. Pushing me to the edge. The sound of Garcia's guitar was like the claws of a tiger.... I thought to myself, 'These guys are going to be greater than the Beatles someday.'" - Bear, on first seeing the Dead at an Acid Test, December 1965

"I don't believe the live sound, the live excitement, can be recorded." - Garcia, December 1966


  1. I was looking at the October '66 issue of Crawdaddy! magazine, which has an interesting article on San Francisco Bay Rock.
    Special praise is given to the Grateful Dead: "they can be considered nothing short of fantastic."
    So here's a snapshot of the Dead in October '66 -

    "The Grateful Dead are rapidly gaining prominence and ascending from their underground status to a position close to the Airplane. Most local dance-concert attendees, when confronted with a question about the Dead, will mention Midnight Hour. The Dead's closing number is usually Wilson Pickett's blockbuster, and it is tranformed into a type of half-hour (sometimes longer) Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, performed by the Dead's organist Pig Pen. (A recent concert featured Midnight Hour performed by a joint Grateful-Airplane, with the assistance of Joan Baez and Mimi Farina.)
    "Midnight Hour is not the Dead at their best. They are a hard blues-rock band, a powerhouse unit of organ, drums, and three guitars. Their best accomplishments are Pig Pen's gutsy version of Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (with fantastic controlled harp work), The Creeper, Empty Heart, and Smokestack Lightning (both now performed only by special request), and an unbelievable grooving piece about Born in Jackson (supposedly written by rhythm player Bob Weir). Sitting on Top of the World jumps, and Dancing in the Streets is a railroad trip.
    "Jerry Garcia's lead work is exciting, sustained genius. Bill Sommers is the Bay Area's best drummer. Their repertoire is chiefly city blues, some old folk and early rock, with some strong originals. A single is to be issued shortly. A Grateful Dead album is being re-prepared (a first effort was discarded). The group has a $10,000 sound system. The Grateful Dead figure to be important movers in imparting San Francisco's message to the world."

    A lot of interesting things here (and a little misinformation)... The Dead had already released a single, which they hated and was a total flop, and would not record in the studio again til Jan '67, so the "outside world" wouldn't hear what the Dead sounded like for many more months. The $10,000 sound system was apparently pretty impressive!
    Smokestack Lightning, it seems, was already a rarity. "Born in Jackson" is obviously New Minglewood Blues (the reviewer likes it more than I do). "The Creeper" I can't identify offhand, but I assume it was another Pigpen blues about some four-day creep....in fact, the reviewer's favorite Dead songs are all Pigpen's! "Empty Heart", sadly, we have no live versions of - there's a great version on the Rare Cuts & Oddities album (with a harmonica/guitar duel), and it would have sounded very similar to "Keep Rolling By", which was a surprise track on the Birth of the Dead live CD.

    After the first album came out, Paul Williams wrote a review in Crawdaddy comparing the Dead to the early Rolling Stones, but noting that the songs don't sound like they do live:
    "This is one of the many things about this LP that disappoints fans of the live Dead. The more you've grown to love Grateful Dead live performances over the years, the more difficult it must be to accept an album which is something completely different. Only Viola Lee Blues has any of the fantastic 'this is happening now!' quality of a good Dead performance; only Viola Lee Blues takes you away as far as the longtime Dead fan has grown accustomed to being taken."
    (Note, in mid-'67, how he talks about "longtime Dead fans" who've been following the group for "years"! Time moved fast in the '60s.)

  2. A couple comments on misdated shows:

    For a long time the only piece of the 2/12/66 Acid Test we had was the "who cares?" rap - now we have more, in this collection:
    Tracks 6 to 9 - we get to hear what came after the rap - the Dead slaughter a half-remembered New Orleans and Twist & Shout.
    (I don't think tracks 1-3 come from the same date, even though they're labeled "possibly 2/12/66". Bear said the reels labeled "Longshoreman's Hall" come from the three nights there at the end of April '66; though the Dead did play there a couple nights in January in the 'Trips Festival'. The "Pauley Ballroom" reel comes from an unknown date during their first LA trip in Feb/March '66 - I think the playing is too primitive to be from later in the year.)

    We don't actually have that much Grateful Dead music from the Acid Tests. I believe one or two of the "acid test" shows we have may be mislabeled regular shows, as I don't hear any more of the prankster madness we get in 1/8 and 2/12/66. (Either that, or the Dead were much more 'professional' during Acid Tests than I thought...)

    The show usually labeled "3/12/66" is actually 3/19/66. (The date is confirmed in the Vault.) Ignore the three-song "3/12/66" excerpt, it's a mix of 12/1 and 3/19/66.

    We do have the actual 3/12/66 - half of it circulates as "2/25/66" (as I noted above), and the other half we have as the second set of "5/19/66".
    Proof: the 3/12 setlist Lemieux provided is identical to the second set of our "5/19/66". He even played some of it on a Taper's Section. So our 5/19 tape could be from two different dates, or there could be some archival confusion here. You can compare for yourself:
    (Note that the Vault copy is in vastly superior quality! So I think it's more likely to have the original date. And don't bother checking Deadlists about these dating issues - it's unfortunately all but useless when it comes to '66.)

    "10/31/66" is not the Dead, but it's fun to hear:

    1. There was definitely some archival confusion regarding 3/12/66 - our 5/19/66 show is accurately dated, and it's unknown why part of it is labeled 3/12/66 in the Vault.
      See the Feb 9 2013 comments below.

  3. Mystic Eyes (by Van Morrison's Them):
    Everything in Caution - drums, bassline, harmonica, guitar blasts, vocal style - was taken straight from Them. (The lyrics changed, of course!)
    Mystic Eyes live '65 -
    And the Dead's Caution '65 -

    Bob Weir on the origins of Caution:
    "How the Caution jam developed is we were driving around listening to the radio, like we used to do a lot, and the song Mystic Eyes by Them was on, and we were all saying, 'Check this out! We can do this!' So we got to the club where we were playing and we warmed up on it. We lifted the riff from Mystic Eyes and extrapolated it ito Caution, and I think Pigpen just made up the words."

    Phil Lesh's account is his book (of how Caution was born on the train ride to Vancouver in July '66) is bogus. In fact, as far as our tapes go, mid-66 is when they STOPPED playing Caution for a year!

    I'll do a Caution post someday, but that's all for now...

  4. A couple song comments by Garcia -

    First, on where they got Schoolgirl:
    "We didn't get Good Morning Little Schoolgirl from Muddy Waters or whoever. Our version came from Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. I remember listening to that record endlessly when we were down in L.A. There was something really snaky about it, so we went with that approach, which was sort of a different feel, and a different melody even."
    (So it seems they would have started playing it in February '66 in LA...the medley with You Don't Love Me probably isn't from much later.)

    And also, the mysterious song 'Otis on a Shakedown Cruise'. Phil Lesh has a glancing reference to it in his book; this page has a discussion of which song it could be:

    Rock Scully said of their L.A. stay, "They had a couple of originals, like Otis on a Shakedown Cruise, which was this wonderful song that I think Pig and Jerry mainly put together. There must be tapes of it around somewhere. We were going to put it on as the B-side of Don't Ease Me In."

    Garcia remembered, "I think we started it in San Francisco, but we worked it up in L.A. It was kind of an R&B thing that had changes that worked a little bit like Get Off My Cloud or Louie Louie, maybe a little more complicated. It was a straight-ahead 4/4; it wasn't a shuffle, which was unusual for us in those days, cause we played mostly shuffles. It was a pretty good tune, but we threw it out at some point - maybe when Mickey joined the band - because we went on to other stuff."

    I'm pretty certain Otis was You Don't Have To Ask. Our first performance is from Feb/March, and it was recorded in the June '66 studio session, so it could have been considered for the single, as Scully remembered. (It was gone by late '66.)
    Scully also remembered them recording studio demos of Silver Threads - a polished demo of which surfaced on the "Rare Cuts" compilation - and Early Morning Rain (which he could be confusing with the November '65 demo).

  5. A minor correction -

    The Dead's New, New Minglewood Blues was based on Noah Lewis Jug Band's New Minglewood Blues - not the original Cannon's Jug Stompers' Minglewood Blues, which has no lyrics in common. (Though the Dead may have known both songs.)

    A bit of sloppiness on my part. More details on Minglewood history here:

  6. The Stealin' and the Same Thing from '9/16/66' are actually from the Matrix 11/29/66.
    By the way, the link I provided to that Matrix show is actually an inferior tape; this one's much better, without the hiss:

  7. Dick Latvala claimed that the 11/19/66 show is actually Winterland 3/17/67. He presumably had access to the original reels, but otherwise there's no evidence for this. It's hard to tell from comparing the tapes of 11/19/66 and 3/18/67, as the two shows sound different, but the songs in common are arranged more or less the same.

    Comparing the two shows, I've noticed there are some serious speed differences in the various copies. It may seem that the Dead were much more energetic on 3/18/67 & played faster, but that's deceptive - in these copies, the '66 show is slowed down & the '67 show is sped-up, which naturally makes the '67 show sound much brighter:

    These two sources I think offer a better comparison - Garcia's guitar tone & the tempos should have been about the same on each night.

    The different mixes also affect how we hear the shows. The '66 show is in stereo, so it's a bit "deeper" and more spacious in sound - Pigpen's organ is also loud & up-front. The '67 show is in concentrated mono, with Pigpen more in the background & less bothersome. So the tapes are deceptive - the band probably sounded about the same on each night.

    Playing-wise, I think the two shows are comparable. Garcia is playing a bit better on 3/18/67. That show also has a more appealing setlist, with a greater variety of songs including Viola Lee, Morning Dew, Golden Road etc - and comparatively, a lot less Pigpen, who dominates 11/19/66 with his R&B songs.
    When they do the same songs, though, they're not that different.
    Cream Puff War is almost the same on each night - 11/19/66 is longer (more to love!), but the intro & ending are done better on 3/18/67.
    Dancing in the Streets - 3/18/67 has the advantage in being complete; otherwise very close.
    Smokestack Lightning - 11/19/66 might be a little better, but they're very similar.
    The Same Thing changed the most - 11/19/66 has an organ solo in the middle, 3/18/67 doesn't. (11/29/66 also doesn't have an organ solo, so that's a rare arrangement.) The jam is much better in '67 as Garcia really takes it somewhere, so it's frustrating that's our last version until 1971!

  8. LiA -- Your site is fantastic, inspiringly so. I re-read these essays (research documents, more like) constantly, and await new posts in the new year. Thank you for your work and your manifest love of the Dead -- we share the same scholarly approach (and obsession!) with the early years of the group, particularly as it relates to properly assembling the chronology and setlists and performances of the band during these murky years.

    So I wanted to post here that I think you've made a few small but significant errors w/r/t your classification of the officially-released "Birth Of The Dead" material from the Fillmore 7/66. An A/B comparison of the tracks on that CD with the Charlie Miller 7/16 SBD on the Archives reveals that the versions of "He Was A Friend Of Mine," "Next Time You See Me," and "One Kind Favor" from BOTD all do not match the ones found on 7/16/66, and therefore must come from 7/17/66 even though they're not listed on Miller's version of the show. (Presumably they, along with "Keep Rolling By," hail from the as yet unleaked other set of the show.) Also, I haven't heard Miller's version of 7/17, but I assume that the BOTD performance of "King Bee" must also come from it, as it doesn't match any other version from '66 that I can find on the Archives.

    Again, these are very minor issues, but they do at least shed some light on the otherwise mysteriously incomplete and short version of 7/17/66 that circulates among traders (though not on the Archive, apparently). These cuts must be part of what's still extant in the vaults.


    Jeff Blehar

  9. Thanks for the comment!

    I'm always happy when someone catches errors - I know there are many things I've let slip by, and most the time I don't notice til I catch them myself months later, since no one says anything!
    I would like these posts to be definitive, although corrections & updates tend to be in the form of additional comments rather than post revisions.

    I admit I didn't A/B all the "Birth of the Dead" selections, so it's interesting to hear that several of the tracks weren't circulating. It could be a project to go through the 7/16 & 7/17 shows & pick out which tracks did get released, and which are alternates. (A project I don't have much time for at the moment.)

    (Actually, a lot of the earliest '66 stuff, like on the undated Various Reels collection, I pretty much threw up my hands & decided it would be impossible for me to work out the correct dating & order of some of those show segments!)

    Could the alternate "Birth of the Dead" versions be from the July '66 Vancouver shows?
    I don't have the CD handy, but I remember it being pretty vague about the dating, just saying "July '66."
    And didn't David Gans say that one reel of 7/17/66 was unusable due to reel damage? (Tape curling, causing dropouts.) If so, it seems a little unlikely they'd use that reel for a CD release - I think that was the reel, actually, that Miller released. And of course there was a lot of confusion over what reel was from 7/16 and what from 7/17, as I think Gans' original reels were undated (and perhaps are also undated in the Vault, hence the lack of dating info on "Birth of the Dead").
    Quite possibly, as you say, there was another stray reel of 7/17 in the Vault that was used for "Birth of the Dead."
    And it's also possible that the Fillmore shows on 7/14 and 7/15 were ALSO taped, and some of the mysterious "Birth of the Dead" tracks - like Keep Rolling By - are from one of those dates.

    Personally, I think the biggest issue from '66 is all the unmarked tapes that Bear made that didn't get used for the "Rare Cuts" collection. Lemieux has shared only a few selections on the Taper's Section; and he's said that "Rare Cuts" was originally to be two CDs, but he decided paring it down to one would be stronger. Cue the gnashing of teeth from Dead historians!

  10. "Could the alternate "Birth of the Dead" versions be from the July '66 Vancouver shows?"

    It's entirely possible that there's more of the Vancouver shows out there than what circulates, but I think it's a fair assumption that:

    1.) the Dead only played one set for the 7/29 & 7/30 shows, given that it was a "San Francisco Sound" festival arrangement with multiple bands on the bill;

    2.) The alternate setlist that Deadlists notes as circulating under 7/29/66 is from 7/30/66 (or perhaps the dates can be reversed.

    Either way the internal evidence suggests that we have the complete shows from those dates, and comparisons of those versions of "King Bee" & "Next Time" (the only two songs on BOTD that are shared with 7/29-30 AND aren't already safely dated to 7/16) clearly indicates that they're not the same. So I don't think the "mystery tracks" on BOTD hail from that run.

    7/3/66 is another possibility (especially given the surfacing of "Gangster Of Love" and "Don't Mess Up A Good Thing," attributed to this date, on Rare Cuts), but again a comparison of "Next Time" and "Friend Of Mine" shows that they're different versions. Barring the existence of any heretofore unknown Fillmore shows (as you said, from 7/14 or 7/15), it would seem to be at least a reasonable guess that the "mystery tracks" on BOTD hail from the other (unleaked) set of 7/17.

    - Jeff

  11. Good to have Vancouver ruled out.
    But you're right, there is likely to be more of 7/3 in the Vault as well, another Fillmore show from which we only have a fragment...

    Interestingly, the Dead gave a tape of 7/3/66 to the makers of the 1969 radio documentary on them, to illustrate their early live sound. I think that copy was the source of our circulating tape.

  12. There's another thing about 7/16/66 which I forgot to mention, which is that this show had a famous moment that is sadly not on our tapes.
    Ralph Gleason mentioned this show in the SF Chronicle (7/20/66): "The Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead loaded the [Fillmore] to capacity... The jammed house listened to a half-hour-long rendition of Wilson Pickett's Midnight Hour performed by the mass band and sung by Marty Balin (from the Airplane), Pigpen (from the Dead), Joan Baez and Mimi Farina. It was quite a night."

    If we could hear this, perhaps it would be something of a novelty performance (like the 6/7/69 Lovelight with Janis, or the Beach Boys with the Dead 4/27/71, etc). Still, it marks one of the very few times that the Airplane & the Dead are known to have jammed together onstage - and, for those who care, Joan Baez's first appearance with them... (It must indeed have been quite a night, if she and Mimi were lured into singing a loud R&B number at the Fillmore!)

    I wonder why this song is not on our reels. Bear was the soundman at this time, and you'd think he'd tape everything. Possibly, since the song must have been the end-of-show encore with two bands onstage, he neglected to tape it - or possibly, that reel was lost early on.

  13. Back to the 11/19/66 vs 3/18/67 issue...

    These two shows came into circulation together, in the summer of 1989. Even at the time, there was some question about the date for 11/19/66. Deadbase X notes:
    "11-19-66 has been masquerading as 3-17-67 on tapes recently. Some of the confusion may have arisen when this tape appeared at the same time as 3-18-67."
    Deadbase decided that 11/19/66 was the correct date.

    Initially I thought, since Latvala was an old-time tape trader, that he may have gotten the date wrong due to passing on a tape mislabel.
    But by 1989, he was already working in the Vault and possibly had access to the master reels. (We know 3/18/67 is in the Vault, at least, but I don't know whether the other show is.) For all I know, he may have put these shows into circulation himself!

    David Gans wrote on deadlists recently:
    "I found a DAT in my stash, given to me by Dick Latvala many years ago (not sure
    when), with the complete (?) 3/18/67 and, as filler, parts of 3/17/67, [which] matched the set list of 11/19/66. I don't think Dick would have give me bad info, but who knows? ...The audio quality, mix, etc. seem quite consistent between the 3/17 and 3/18
    recordings on this DAT."

    The mix & audio quality were not very consistent in the shows I heard - in fact, vastly different - so Latvala's DAT may be much better quality than what we have. It would be easier to compare the shows if we could hear copies straight from the masters.

    Knowing the exact tape sources would be helpful - we know Bill Graham, not the Dead, must have taped these shows. (To add to the confusion, part of 11/19/66 also circulated as 2/12/67! Deadlists notes that the "2/12/67" comp "was in circulation for years before the complete 11/19/66 became available." The show was also, at some point, played on FM radio and bootlegged.)
    Charlie Miller's source notes for 11/19/66 just say Master Reel>DAT>CD, so he may not necessarily have seen the master reels.

    One might think that 3/17/67 is more likely to have been taped, since we have the tape from the following night. (It was also the date of their album release, though that's not reflected in the tape or setlist.)
    Musically, as I mentioned above, there is not much difference between the two nights except in the Same Thing. Many of the songs played in common are nearly identical.

    To put things in perspective, in late '66 and early '67, the Dead played over 30 shows at the Fillmore, and we have a tape of only ONE. (IF 11/19/66 is the right date. "5/5/67" could possibly be from the Fillmore, but who knows.)
    The Dead played the Winterland less frequently - nine shows in '67 and '68 - from which we have 3/18 and 10/22/67. [Sadly, though the Dead started taping themselves again in late '68, few of the Winterland SBDs of '69 circulate.]
    So just statistically speaking, 3/17/67 seems to have a better chance of being the right date.

    1. A keen-eared listener has noticed that in the 11/19/66 Dancing in the Street, Weir sings the line, “Autumn of the year but the time is here for dancin’ in the street."
      On 3/18/67, he sings “spring of the year."

      At that time he would change the lyric by season. This alone makes it almost certain that 11/19/66 is correctly dated, coming from fall '66.

      But while one date stays the same, another has shifted - in the show attributed to 9/16/66, he sings "winter of the year." This & other performance aspects of the show make it most probable that this tape is actually from the December 23-24 Avalon shows (as discussed in the new '66 Mystery Reels post).

      One result of this is, we have a gap of over four months in summer/fall '66 with no Dead tapes, followed by four tapes clustered together in Nov/Dec '66. The Dead's playing made a huge jump in those missing months.

  14. 1.) RE: the discussion of where the 'mystery' songs on Birth Of The Dead come from, something recently hit me that is so obvious that I'm embarrassed I didn't think of it earlier...

    It cannot be an accident that every song on the live disc of BOTD is securely dateable to 7/16/66...with the exception of the last four songs on the disc. Point being, the 'mystery' songs aren't simply scattered around the CD at random in a fashion that would suggest they were mixed up from multiple nights on purpose by the compilers. Rather, I think they took a very methodical 'documentary' approach, choosing every song (in performance order) that they wanted from the first set of reels (which we now know to be 7/16), and then picking the last four from what was usable in the second set of reels. This circumstantial evidence of order and chronology therefore *strongly* suggests that these songs do indeed hail from 7/17/66, and from the set NOT released by Charlie Miller (which, as you said, was the one deemed by D. Gans to NOT be release-quality because of physical tape flaws).

    Whether "Next Time," "One Kind Favor," "Friend" and "Keep Rolling By" represent part of the 1st set that night or the 2nd set is still up for grabs. (The 7/17/66 Miller set we now have doesn't really have any sort of contextual clues as to whether it was the show-closer or not.) But I think we can securely reconstruct these to 7/17 for keeps now.

    2.) From A/B'ing the material very closely, it seems extremely, extremely likely that "Big Railroad Blues," "Sick And Tired" and "Empty Heart" from the Rare Cuts & Oddities CD come from the same show as the "2/12/66" material on the Mystery Reels set found on the LMA. Literally no other show or show-fragment from 1966 has a sound (particularly a guitar sound) like the one found on those Rare Cuts live tracks...except the 2/12/66 performance, which is in fact a 100% direct match mix-wise.

    3.) The material from Mystery Reels set on the LMA that was only labelled "Longshoreman's 1st Night" and "Longshoreman's 3rd Night" can ONLY come from 4/22/66 and 4/24/66. No other dates can possibly fit, as A.) these two concert excerpts are identical sound and mixing-wise, indicating that they come from the 1st & 3rd nights of one self-contained run of shows; B.) the setlist and performance style dates it solidly to March/April of '66, after the twangy guitar sound of 2/12/66 but before the more developed ensemble playing of 5/19/66 and beyond; C.) 4/22, 4/23, and 4/24 are an actual known run of shows by the Dead at Longshoreman's Hall in San Francisco, where they were playing the "Trips Festival."

    More mysteries solved!

    - Jeff Blehar

  15. Good work! Nice to have someone sorting out these 1966 mysteries...

    1) I'll go along with 7/17/66 - it was your first suggestion and it seems right.

    2) After comparing the "2/12/66" tracks with Rare Cuts, I can't quite agree with you...the mix is not quite the same. Notice the "2/12" tracks have loud bass & organ, and Weir's guitar almost inaudible in the mix, leaving a hole in the band's sound. On the Rare Cuts tracks, Weir's guitar is as loud as Garcia's. Admittedly, it's hard to compare directly because Pigpen is not playing much organ on the Rare Cuts tracks (staying on harmonica). But with Bear likely setting up the mix the same way at each show in this period, I think it's a leap to say both sources are from the same show.

    Personally I had extreme doubts that 2/12 was the actual date of that fragment, because the Viola Lee is so much more developed than the Viola Lee on the last Pauley Ballroom section of the Mystery Reels, which (as Phil's comment makes clear) comes the week before the move to L.A. That is by far the most primitive live Viola Lee, with the alternate-rhythm jam riff straight from the January studio rehearsal. So it is hard to believe that the "2/12" version comes only 2 weeks later - it has the best Viola Lee climax any of the early pre-July ones.
    The Pigpen rap->Twist & Shout on the Mystery Reels I take to be the authentic 2/12/66. It's in mono, and is unmistakably from a genuine acid test.

    3) The Longshoreman's Hall nights...could be. One thing that makes me wonder is that both excerpts have a BIODTL, and they're played rather differently. Not only are the intros & endings totally different on each - the first one is taken quite a bit faster & Jerry's playing is much less intricate (his solo is more finely worked-out in version #2). Notice, for instance, Jerry doesn't play fills during Weir's vocals in the first version, but does in the second. That's quite a few differences between versions just two days apart, unless they specifically rehearsed the changes in this song during those two days.

    A few more things to ponder!...

    1. You're absolutely right LIA, one more thing to mention. Of those four reels, it looks like the ones recorded with 10 inch reels are from much early in the year and have less developed playing than the ones recorded at 7 inches. So I think the one marked Pauley Ballroom is definitely in late Jan although it seems after the You Don't Have to Ask and before Viola there might be stuff missing. And I agree that Viola is very primitive. I also think the reel labeled longshoreman 3rd night happened soon after maybe in LA in Feb or March since the Viola has the 3rd verse reprise this time and is more developed. Plus the BIODTL has that early opening to the song still. The reel labeled longshoremans night 1 has to be from later possibly during those april shows.

      I also want to respond to your comments on 5/19/66. There is no way in my opinion that the first and second set are from different shows. The bass drum is mixed identically and annoyingly high for both sets. Plus the I Know You Rider has the muddy water and sun will shine verse that earlier versions did not have. It seems to me that 5/19 is pretty accurately dated. If I have other ramblings about 66 shows I'll post again to be sure. And how about that jam of the week! We finally have a live version of The Only Time Is Now although only half the song.

      -Paul Remesic

    2. I agree 100% about 66-5-19. That is what it is, DL2 is wrong crediting Cream Puff War thru' Otis to 66-3-12. The whole recording sounds consistent and they're calling the next tune to each other without gaps throughout. After Cream Puff War Jerry announces the Wildflower or the Outfit will be on next which matches the poster for 66-5-19, it does not seem likely to me that the exact same lineup were present elsewhen/where.

      By the way, the best looking lineage copy of this is 106683 but that is missing the ending of Otis On A Shakedown Cruise which is on 6516 after a tape change.

      And yeah, the new JOTW is very welcome indeed, even at 128 kbps.

    3. Thanks for the comments on 5/19/66. You're right, it's all one show and 5/19/66 has to be the right date.

      So what puzzles me is how a big chunk of the show got dated 3/12/66 in the Vault - presumably the master reel. Maybe Lemieux got mixed up, or someone did...
      That raises the question of whether the "real" 3/12/66 portion is accurately dated either!

      Our circulating 5/19/66 reels I would guess come from Gans - the vocals have been moved to the center and it sounds a bit more "wet" than the Vault reel.

    4. David Lemieux included the Viola Lee & Midnight Hour from the Mystery Reels "Longshoreman's Hall 3rd night" in the Taper's Section back on 1/26/09, but said that the Vault tape was dated only "January 1966."
      Given the general labeling disaster of early 1966 tapes, maybe it is January, maybe not. The "Longshoreman's Hall" labels were both most likely bogus.

      The only things I'm pretty sure of are:
      a) the Viola Lee on "Longshoreman's Hall 3rd night" is later & more developed than the Viola Lee on "Pauley Ballroom #2," which is the earliest live version we have. (We know "Pauley Ballroom #2" was the week before the move to LA at the end of January: the tape catches the last song of the 1st set, then Phil announces the Loading Zone will play the next set & the upcoming move to LA, then we get the whole of the Dead's abbreviated 2nd set - after the plug is pulled, Weir starts announcing something happening "next Saturday night" in Los Angeles. Timewise, this tape seems to precede the others in the Mystery Reels.)
      So if the Vault tape of "Longshoreman's Hall 3rd night" is accurately dated January, the Dead would have done a mighty fast reworking of Viola Lee that last week in SF!

      b) the BIODTL on "Longshoreman's Hall 3rd night" is apparently earlier than the BIODTL on "Longshoreman's Hall 1st night" - it has the different early intro & ending. (They play BIODTL the same way on Lemieux's 2/6/66 tape, and on 3/19/66, and dropped that intro sometime after 3/19.) So "Longshoreman's Hall 1st night" would appear to be April or later - I don't think the playing's very good on it, which led me to think it was an earlier tape, but maybe the Dead were having an off night.

      c) Jorma & Jack of the Airplane are standing by ready to jam at the "Longshoreman's Hall 3rd night" - but it's not necessarily a San Francisco show. The Airplane didn't play any shows in LA in Feb-March '66 that I know of, but they did go down to the RCA studios in Hollywood in late February to do more recording for their first album, so they could have visited the Dead. One could argue that the careful way Garcia introduces them suggests that it's not to a local SF audience who would know them & the Airplane already. Anyway, the Viola Lee & Midnight Hour are extremely similar to the 3/19/66 versions, so I couldn't say which was earlier.

      That's the closest I can get as far as dating. My feeling was that the "possibly 2/12/66" Viola Lee was the latest in the Mystery Reels set, partly because the jam's done the best and it's so much longer than the others (even though it cuts in before the 2nd verse, it's still almost 10 minutes) - that's just a subjective feeling, though. (The 3/19/66 Viola Lee is also 11 minutes.) Comparing it with the 5/19/66 Viola Lee, that one isn't really much better or different; the Tastebud is somewhat different, though - Pigpen does not play harmonica in the "possibly 2/12/66" version, but does in the 2/6/66 and 5/19/66 versions. (Which probably doesn't mean much.)

      So, my best guess for the Mystery Reels order:
      "Pauley Ballroom #2" - last week of January '66
      "unlabeled reel" w/ Pigpen rap - the genuine 2/12/66
      "Longshoreman's Hall 3rd night" - Feb/March
      "possibly 2/12/66"
      "Longshoreman's Hall 1st night" - April
      Then again, "Longshoreman's Hall 3rd night" could well be April, which could push the later two dates into May.

      d) Phil was a terrible bass player in early 1966.

    5. A lengthy post on the dating of the Mystery Reels is now here:

  16. A small note on the deadbase setlist for 1/7/66 -
    The James Brown song I'll Go Crazy is listed, one of the songs not otherwise known to be covered by the Dead.
    However, Garcia & Grisman did cover it, over 25 years later! (Released on the Been All Around This World album.)
    That seems more than coincidental. It seemed an odd song for them to do, until I remembered this setlist. Grisman saw the Warlocks in late 1965, and could possibly have even seen them play I'll Go Crazy...
    At any rate, this boosts the plausibility of the setlist. I still wonder where deadbase got it from?

    1. Lo and behold, I found ANOTHER band called the Warlocks covering I'll Go Crazy in 1965 - only these Warlocks were in Connecticut, and released their version as a single:

  17. The Jam of the Week from 2-8-13 is from a reel dated 2/6/66:
    /Tastebud (cuts in)
    One Kind Favor
    Only Time Is Now// (cuts after one minute)

    The keen-eyed will notice that Lemieux included several of these on a Taper's Section six years ago

    Tastebud is really good; Garcia rips. Mindbender is much like the Nov '65 demo. BIODTL has its different early intro, and Garcia gets cooking in the second half. It's a shame the Only Time Is Now came at the end of the reel! Hopefully some day Lemieux will share the whole reel (and other early '66 rarities) with us.

    One notable thing about the recording is that the bass barely comes through. This is very much folk-rock/blues Dead.

  18. Youtube has the Who Do You Love from 1966!

    I still wish somebody would post this recording on the Archive.

  19. The March 1967 interview at 710 Ashbury with Garcia confirms that the Warlocks played the Stones' Last Time from their first shows -

    Q: I remember when you were the Warlocks and at Magoo’s you were doing stuff like ‘The Last Time’.
    GARCIA: Right, popular stuff.

    It still seems very likely to me that the Warlocks were playing things like Gloria, Day Tripper, It's All Over Now, & Satisfaction in 1965, but they phased out most of these popular 'hits' by '66 in favor of more blues/r&b/folk covers.

    1. This year (2015) Phil is playing a series of shows at Terrapin Crossroads where he recreates a show or typical setlist from each year of the Dead's history. Anyway, the first show represented 1965, a year with no live tapes, and had some interesting selections:

      Cold Rain & Snow
      Little Red Rooster
      Off The Hook
      Don’t Ease Me In
      Twist & Shout
      Can't Come Down
      Early Morning Rain
      The Only Time Is Now
      I'm A Hog For You Baby
      I Know You Rider
      Viola Lee Blues

      This pretty accurately represents some of the songs they were playing in late '65. (Viola Lee may not have debuted til January '66, though.) Twist & Shout barely sneaks into our '66 tapes, but they could have been playing it in the clubs in '65.
      They were definitely playing Little Red Rooster and Off The Hook (both taken from the Stones), though sadly those were dropped by '66.
      Some more info on the Warlocks' version of Off The Hook is here:

  20. Cream Puff War from 7/3/66 is now available on day 5 of Dead Net's 30 Days of Dead.

    1. What a tease! Evidently they have some more July '66 reels in the Vault.

    2. It's good to add another track to what we have from 1966-07-03.

      I don't think it's been mentioned that in addition to Gangster Of Love and Don't Mess Up A Good Thing being from this night on Rare Cuts & Oddities so is the Phil & Bill Graham outro after the 1966-03-12 Caution final track. After Dancin' on shnid 40 Jerry dedicates "this evening's sets on our part to the Sundancers in Ignacio, Colorado." On the outro Phil says "Well that's it for the Sundance tonight. Love will be back to entertain you in a little while." Love were top of the bill 1966-07-03, this lineup only played the one night. Shnid 1593 for 1966-02-25/03-12 (or whatever it really is) has the same Caution then seamless applause into Stealin' so the outro has been spliced in on Rare Cuts, I'm confident from 1966-07-03.

      Day 14 has another newie, Big Railroad Blues from 1972-03-22.

    3. How bizarre - that is a tricky edit! We could have figured that Graham wouldn't be at one of the band's Los Angeles shows...
      Thanks to Graham's outro, we know Pigpen sang the last song on 7/3/66.
      After "Keep Rolling By" on Birth of the Dead, Jerry says that Jefferson Airplane is coming up next, so that securely places it as the last song of a Fillmore set on 7/17, or possibly 7/15.

    4. Agreed, but there could be another edit involved. After Jerry's announcement, Bill Graham says "Let's hear it, let's hear it big for the Dead, huh?" That is word for word what he said after Jerry's similar but not quite the same announcement at the end of 1966-07-16. I'm not certain it has been edited in but it sounds like it.

    5. Hmm. True, Graham's statement at the end of 'Keep Rolling By' is identical to the one after 'Cream Puff War' on 7/16/66.
      Not sure why they went to such lengths to micro-edit stage announcements on their '66 releases!

  21. A couple new notes on dating, also added to the 1966 Mystery Reels post:

    2/6/66 -
    Bear said that he did not attend the Northridge Acid Test. If this is true, then he didn't tape it. I think that:
    a) the Acid Test was more likely on Saturday, Feb. 5 - this seems to be what the Dead are referring to on the earlier tapes.
    b) the "2/6/66" tape does not come from the Acid Test, but from some other show. It could be somewhere on Feb 6, but I suspect that more likely it comes from one of the late January shows - perhaps not one we know about.

    2/25/66 -
    This tape is in the Vault as 3/12/66, though it's circulated as 2/25. (It's referred to in this post as 3/12.)
    The setlist: On The Road Again, Next Time You See Me, I Know You Rider, Hey Little One, King Bee > Caution, Stealin'
    There was an Acid Test on 2/25/66 (at the Cinema Theater, not the Ivar), but this tape is not from it - in fact, it's not from February or March at all. The Vault dating cannot be trusted (as mentioned before, one set of 5/19 is also in the Vault dated as 3/12).
    Some clues:
    Hey Little One - in the 3/25 version (an authentic date), the guitar has a pronounced tremolo effect, which is not in the "2/25" or 7/29 versions.
    I Know You Rider - the 3/12 version does not have the "I drink muddy water" or "The sun will shine" verses, but "2/25" (and all versions from 5/19 onwards) have the extra verses.
    Cold Rain & Snow - 3/25 is the earliest version we have: Garcia's guitar playing is awkward, they play it rather slowly, and he sings it totally differently than any later version, lower and more tentatively. (He also sings "she met her fatal doom" in the last verse, which is changed in later versions to "she sang a fatal tune" or "she sang a fateful tune.") I think they must have just started playing it. "2/25" has to be later.
    But if "2/25" can't be from February or March, when is it from? The new Deadbase suggests it's as late as July, but this can't be the case either, because I Know You Rider does not have the bass/drum intro that was added in the July versions. So I think it most likely comes from the spring, May or June - it's most similar to the 5/19/66 show. There's no way to pin it down to any particular show.

    3/12/66 -
    This tape has circulated as both 3/12 and 3/19. Recent thinking is that it's from the 3/19 Carthay Studios Acid Test. The new Deadbase insists that it's from the 3/12 Danish Center show, which was not an Acid Test but a regular show. I think they're right. There's no hint on the tape that any Acid Test is taking place - it doesn't resemble the tapes of 1/8 or 2/12 (which are the only Acid Tests we actually have Dead music from). We know the Vault tape dated 3/12 is from other dates, which leaves 3/12 open. So I think that date is valid.

  22. I think it may be useful to say a little about the shows the Dead played in their Los Angeles stay, which ones were Acid Tests and which weren't, and which ones were taped, since there is some confusion over this because of all the misdates.

    2/5/66 Northridge Church Acid Test (Bear did not attend - he said, "I missed the first one in LA in late Feb in Northridge." So the Vault tape dated "2/6" does not come from this show, but from some other unknown show.)
    2/12/66 Watts Acid Test (Tape in circulation.)
    2/25/66 Cinema Theater Acid Test (Nothing is known of this show; no recording.)
    3/3/66 AIAA Hall (The Dead accompanied the film "The Psychedelic Experience." No recording.)
    3/12/66 Danish Center (Tape in circulation.)
    3/19/66 Carthay Studios Acid Test (Aka the "Pico Acid Test, since it was on Pico Blvd. No tape known, but there is some silent film, and it was likely recorded.)
    3/25/66 Troupers Hall (Tape in circulation.)

    There were only four Acid Tests in LA, and I believe 2/12 is the only one we have a tape of.
    Other than that, the Dead didn't get out much. Aside from the Acid Tests, they managed to play only three known gigs in March, before crawling back broke to San Francisco in April. I think it's likely they played other places as well (Phil sounds like he's about to announce more shows before the tape cuts on 3/25/66), but we may never find out where.

  23. I've updated this post with many corrections to the live-show list.