Notes on Song Selections and Overdubs for the Original Album and Volume 2
By Steven Seachrist
final show of the 1972 tour of Europe tour took place on May 26 in
London. Then the band, their crew and families headed back to the New
World, armed with a huge stash of two inch wide, sixteen-track audio
tape containing nearly every note played on the tour. This is saying a
lot: there were about 2000 pounds of tapes, or as recording engineer Bob
Matthews estimated, 17 miles of tape to listen to. Plenty of previous
Grateful Dead shows had been taped in multi-track, but never on this
scale. Twenty-two complete shows now rested comfortably in the vault
back in California, and a live album was planned. It was originally
called Steppin’ Out.
The idea was to present
songs that either were completely new, or ones that had not been
previously released in live form. This philosophy continued with Steal Your Face, the live album recorded in 1974, and even with Reckoning and Dead Set,
the next contemporaneous live albums, recorded in 1980. The idea of
repeating live song versions must have seemed ill advised at the time.
As they had with the 1971 live album Grateful Dead (commonly referred to as Skull and Roses),
the band decided on some studio doctoring of the tapes. Today, this
seems almost sacrilege, as we accept the raw edges of live Grateful Dead
recordings just as we would at a concert. But back in 1972, the band
and/or their record label wanted to present polished excerpts from the
tour. They even edited out almost all of the stage banter and crowd
reactions at the tops and tails of songs, making the Europe ’72 album sound even more like a live/studio hybrid.
all, seventeen songs made the final album cut, if you count the
transitional jams “Prelude” and “Epilogue” as songs. Others were
considered and even overdubbed back home, but were later dropped. There
are some clues as to which songs and versions almost made the cut.
In 2011, Rhino released a box set of the entire tour called Europe ’72: The Complete Recordings.
No information was provided regarding which live tracks were
supplanted by overdubs performed in the studio after the tour.
Sometimes Jeff Norman, the audio engineer, used the studio-dubbed
vocals; in other cases he recovered the original live vocals. Some of
the differences are obvious, some are only apparent when comparing to
circulating tapes, and others can’t reliably be sussed out. Unless Norman wants to tell what
he knows, we may never be able to untangle all of the details, and I
suspect he has been sworn to secrecy.
About the same time the big box hit the streets, Rhino also issued a 2-CD compilation product titled Europe ’72, Volume 2
that attempted to represent a sequel to the original album. This
effort is very well thought out, and contains excellent versions of
songs not present on Europe ’72. They did break the rule of “no
songs previously released on earlier-recorded live albums,” but at this
point no one cares about that. It’s a great listen and it really does
seem like an extension of the original album.
The box set mix was used for all songs on Volume 2. No performances from earlier archival releases (Hundred Year Hall, Rockin’ the Rhein, Steppin’ Out and the 2001 remaster of Europe ’72 with bonus tracks) were used on Volume 2.
Since there is little information on exactly what overdubs were done for the Europe ’72
album, and which of them were kept on the box set, a post gathering all
the known details has been needed. Here is a breakdown of what we can
tell about the origins of the recordings, given the available clues. A
single asterisk * indicates the version was used on the original album
released in 1972, and a double asterisk ** indicates the version was
used on Europe ’72, Volume 2, the compilation released in 2011.
The reason I am including this later release is that some overdub work
was done on at least one song that did not make the original cut.
April 7, 1972
Me and My Uncle ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
Not Fade Away ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
Not Fade Away (Reprise) ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
April 8, 1972
Cumberland Blues *
It seems the vocals were overdubbed on this, as they are significantly
more polished than other live versions from the tour. The overdubbed
vocals are apparently used on the box set mix. (The original vocals
have never circulated on tape; and though David Lemieux has said that
they weren’t erased, they were not used for the box set.)
April 14, 1972
Bertha ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
Black Throated Wind ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
Chinatown Shuffle ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
Loser ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
Brown-Eyed Women * This lead vocal was definitely overdubbed, as a different vocal appears on the box set mix.
April 26, 1972
Dire Wolf ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
Good Lovin’ ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
May 3, 1972
Sugaree ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
China Cat Sunflower * This lead vocal was definitely overdubbed, as a different vocal appears on the box set mix.
I Know You Rider *
The harmonies here are tighter than other versions on the tour, and it
follows that these were probably overdubbed. The doctored vocals appear
on the box set mix. The only vocals here that don’t have harmonies are
on the “train” verse, and Garcia sings that in a voice that could
either be live or not, no telling. The guitar playing on this song is
so perfect that I would not be surprised if it had studio help, but
again there is no way to know unless a live-to-two-track version exists
Jeff Norman has said that he kept Garcia’s original
“China Cat” vocal on the box set. Although Garcia’s original vocal for
“Rider” was also still on tape, Norman used the overdub on that song
because of the different harmony phrasing. (The original harmony vocals
were most likely erased, while Garcia put his own vocal on a new
Tennessee Jed * This lead vocal was definitely overdubbed, as a different vocal appears on the box set mix.
Greatest Story Ever Told ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
Jack Straw *
This is one of the more interesting vocal overdubs. From its inception
until the performance on 5/10/72, all of the verses in “Jack Straw”
were sung by Bob Weir. On that date and forevermore after that, Weir
and Garcia traded verses in call-and-response fashion. But this version
from 5/3/72 has the two singers trading off, so they were obviously
overdubbed. Listen very carefully, and I think you will hear the
“ghost” (reflections and bleed) of Weir’s voice during Garcia’s verses.
This is not obvious on the original album but can be heard on the newer
mix. The original live tape of this song has never circulated.
Norman has said that Weir’s guitar part was also replaced for the
album; his new guitar track was put on Pigpen’s empty vocal track.
(Norman also mentioned that you can hear Weir’s vocal bleedthrough when
May 4, 1972
Deal ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
Next Time You See Me ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
Sugar Magnolia *
It sounds like there is some doubling of Weir’s vocal (either
deliberately or as a remnant of the original vocal bleeding into other
mics) and the harmony vocals are almost certainly overdubbed. Donna
appears in the coda on this version and was likely overdubbed since this
is an anomaly not found on the other live versions from the tour. The
overdubbed vocals were used on the box set mix. The original live tape
of this song has never circulated.
On the album the Dead included the last ten seconds of “Dark Star” at the start of the song.
May 7, 1972
Dark Star ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
Drums ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
The Other One **
This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs. It is of
interest to note that while this version did transition to “Sing Me Back
Home”, a different version of that song was used on Europe ’72, Volume 2.
This is probably because the 5/26/72 version was pulled for possible
inclusion on the original album and overdubs were made to it, and the
producers decided it was the better of the two versions.
May 10, 1972
He’s Gone *
Hearing the 2011 box set mix, it becomes glaringly obvious that the
original album version was sped-up and thus pitched about a half-step
sharp. The newer mix rectifies this. All the vocals were overdubbed
for the album, and the studio vocals were also used on the box set.
(Typically, Norman would have used the live vocal if it was salvageable,
but here it is likely the overdubbed vocals were recorded over the live
vocal tracks. Lemieux has confirmed that the live vocals on the
multitrack were erased. The original performance circulates on tape,
though.) The backing vocals – not present on this version when it was
played live – are included on the box set mix, which is similar to what
was done with “Sugar Magnolia” and its coda. In the original live
performance, the Dead instrumentally fade out at the end.
piano in this song is entirely overdubbed on the album, adding a lot of
embellishments. The Dead changed this song the most in the studio,
probably because it was the newest song and the early live versions
sounded rather primitive.
Blair Jackson wrote in the CD liner
notes: “The vocal coda on “He’s Gone” – “Oo-oo-oo, nothin’s gonna bring
him back” – was not from the 5/10/72 Amsterdam show that the album
version was purportedly drawn from; indeed the coda did not appear on
any of the six versions of the song played in Europe. Rather, it was
introduced July 16, 1972, at Dillon Stadium in Hartford, Connecticut…
But the vocals on the “live” album were added in the studio when
Matthews mixed the tapes, long after the Europe tour.” (Blair may not
have known when writing this that it would be the overdubbed mix that
appeared on the box set. Technically, Norman did not even need to
include the studio vocal coda, since it was simply sung over the
original instrumental ending.)
May 16, 1972
Beat it on Down the Line ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
May 23, 1972
Mr. Charlie * This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
May 24, 1972
You Win Again *
This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs. A lot of reverb
was added to the vocal, though, which is true of many of the vocals on
It Hurts Me Too * Keith's piano was definitely overdubbed on the album. His part is much fancier than what he played live. The original live piano was included on the box set mix. The rest of the performance is apparently undubbed.
Playing in the Band ** This is apparently completely live, with no overdubs.
May 26, 1972
Most of the vocals seem to be live, as very little difference can be
heard from the original vocals. However, there are some slight changes –
for instance, the “sometimes the light’s all shining on me” bridge at
4:15 is sung more smoothly on the album – so evidently some or all of
the vocals were redone. After 5:00, Weir & Garcia’s “get back
truckin’ on” vocals were overdubbed on the album, and this new vocal
coda was also used on the box set. The original performance had
different, shorter ending vocals. (As an aside, this “Truckin’” is rare
for the time in not returning to a vocal reprise.)
This is the jam out of “Truckin’” and is apparently completely live.
The album track ends at 5:00 with a studio-added reverb effect in Phil’s
little solo, just before he starts playing chords in the live
performance, snipping out “The Other One.”
Prelude * This is the jam into “Morning Dew” and is apparently completely live.
Morning Dew *
The lead vocal was overdubbed for the first two verses, as Garcia
sounds hoarse on the box set mix, and not on the album. The live vocal
for the rest of the song was left as is. On the album, the end of the
song cuts just before the return to “The Other One.”
Sing Me Back Home **
The lead vocal was certainly overdubbed, as there are audible
reflections of the original vocal on the box set mix. Also, Donna’s
final gospel vocal yell (“come alive”) is only heard as a reflection,
unfortunately. My theory is that her original vocal track was
overdubbed upon and thus erased, and she did not sing this part during
the overdub session. The circulating tape of this show has the original
vocals, which are quite different.
Ramble On Rose * This lead vocal was definitely overdubbed, as a different vocal appears on the box set mix. Keith's piano was also overdubbed on the album, and the piano overdub is on the box set mix.
One More Saturday Night *
Though it’s almost impossible to tell, Weir redid at least some of his
lead vocal – the chorus from 2:20-2:30 is slightly different on the
album compared to the box set mix – but in general the vocal inflections
are so identical it’s hard to spot any difference, and harder to tell
why he took the trouble. Backing vocals were clearly overdubbed at the
end, since these were not on the live tape. Pigpen’s organ was
omitted from the album, and Keith's piano was overdubbed. The piano overdub is on the box set mix.
There are no organ overdubs on the album.
Although Merl Saunders isn't on the Europe ‘72
credits, a few sources still indicate he was part of the overdubs:
McNally's book briefly mentions it, the deaddisc.com discography also
lists him on the album, and Merl himself said in an interview, “I played
on four or five tracks of Europe ’72.”
But evidently, they were mistaking this album for the Skull and Roses
album in 1971, where Saunders did do organ overdubs on several songs.
After reviewing all original E72 album mixes, the newer box set mixes of
the same takes, and the circulating tapes (plus other takes of the same
songs), I see no reason to believe Merl Saunders overdubbed any organ
Pigpen played fine organ parts on the whole
tour. He was not flashy, but he was quite reliable and not at all
intrusive. There is considerably less organ used in the 1972 album mix
than was actually played at the shows. (For instance, the organ was
mixed low on “Truckin’,” minimized on “Ramble On Rose,” and omitted on “One More Saturday Night” and “Tennessee Jed.”)
In contrast, the 2011 box set keeps the Hammond simmering, presumably
any time Pigpen had his hands on it and the volume pedal pushed down.
These newer mixes are good in that way. (Often, the piano gets buried,
but that is another story for another day.)
no Saunders overdubs anywhere to be found. On every song on the
original album where some organ is audible, the organ parts on the album
are identical to what Pigpen played live, and very similar parts are
played by Pigpen on other versions during the tour. There are certainly
songs where his organ parts were minimized or completely muted for the
original album mixes, but none where a new organ part appears. So the
sources stating Merl Saunders was on the Europe ’72 album are
clearly wrong! I think it is possible that Saunders simply mis-spoke
and was instead remembering his contributions to Skull and Roses.
As far as the other instruments, Keith overdubbed piano on at least several songs - "He's Gone," "It Hurts Me Too," "Ramble On Rose," and "One More Saturday Night." "It Hurts Me Too" is the only one of these where the original live piano was used on the box set mix, which indicates that Keith's live track was usually erased by the overdub. On some performances (mostly the Paris shows) it isn't possible to check since we don't have the undubbed live tapes.
I did not detect any guitar overdubs, but there may be some.
The Sub Reels
Dead considered more songs for the original album than could be
included, along with many candidates for the best performance of each
song. One step in the preparation of the album was to select the best
tracks from the shows and put them onto sub-reels for final
David Lemieux explained in one interview: “A lot
of the songs were physically cut out from the master reels and put onto
another reel for consideration for Europe ’72… They listened to
the whole tour, pulled out the best four versions of each song by
physically cutting them from the master and putting them on another
tape. That was the sub reel of the versions that were being considered
for Europe ’72.”
meant that for the box set, many shows had to be reassembled from the
various reels as the songs were put back in their original place.
Lemieux spoke to Blair Jackson about some of the selections on Volume 2: “We ended up including several songs that the band had pulled from the master reels for the original Europe ’72
but which, for whatever reason, didn’t make the cut. That was really
the impetus to get this thing rolling—that there was a lot of stuff on
the cutting room floor that the band had slated for the original album
at some point. Off the top of my head, I can give you three: “Beat It on
Down the Line” from Luxembourg [5/16], “Next Time You See Me” from
Paris [5/4], and “Sing Me Back Home” from 5/26 [Lyceum]… My guess is
that when they made the original album, the big ballad was going to be
either the “Morning Dew” or this “Sing Me Back Home.””
we saw, “Sing Me Back Home” did receive complete vocal redubs for the
album before it was put aside. Since the dubbed version was used on the
box set, the original vocals may have been erased on the multitrack.
Souls in Communion” from Frankfurt 4/26 had also been selected for
possible inclusion on the original album, but ended up as a bonus track
on the 2001 CD reissue. Lemieux said: “That song was actually slated for
inclusion on Europe ’72. The reason we know that is because
everything that was originally going to be included on the album was put
onto these sub-reels. That didn’t make it, and Beat It on Down the
Line, of all things. Those two songs were going to be included but
didn’t make it. On some of the tape boxes it’s called Pig’s Tune and on
the rest of them it’s called The Stranger.”
see from the tape box images in the hardbound box set book that certain
songs were taken from the master reels and spliced to at least nine
sub-reels for consideration for inclusion on the album. These include
Mr. Charlie (4/29) – This version was not used. The version from 5/23 was.
China > Rider (4/29) – This version was not used. The version from 5/3 was.
China > Rider (5/3) – This is the version used on the album.
Beat It on Down the Line (5/3) – This version was not used on Volume 2. The version from 5/16 was.
Tennessee Jed (5/3) – This is the version used on the album.
It Hurts Me Too (5/3) – This version was not used. The version from 5/24 was.
Truckin’ (5/3) – This version was not used. The version from 5/26 was.
Jack Straw (5/3) – This is the version used on the album.
on Rose (5/10) – This version was not used. The version from 5/26 was.
There is also a note on this tape box of the second set saying, “This
is dynamite,” apparently meaning the whole reel or whole set.
Chinatown Shuffle (5/26) - This version was not used on Volume 2. The version from 4/14 was.
China > Rider (5/26) – This version was not used. The version from 5/3 was.
Sing Me Back Home (5/26) – This version was used on Volume 2. This tape box has a note saying, “We’re all really stoned now.”
One More Saturday Night (5/26) – This is the version used on the album. A note on this tape box says, “The Last God Dawg Gig.”
we don’t get to see all of the tape boxes. More clues would reside
there. The 4/24 tape boxes, seen in the Rockin’ the Rhein release,
appear to have no songs selected.
(As an aside, several
of the newer songs apparently did not yet have their titles finalized
during the tour. The titles used on the tape boxes are “Don’t Expect No
Help At All,” “Chuba Chuba,” “He’s Long Gone,” and “Strangers.”)
Several songs are
missing from the circulating tapes of the shows, evidently because they
were spliced out of the master reels to put on the sub-reels. These
4/8/72 Cumberland Blues
5/3/72 China>Rider, Tennessee Jed, Jack Straw
5/4/72 Sugar Magnolia
On the circulating tapes, these songs are patched from the Europe ’72
album. As a result, we do not have the original live performances to
compare to the overdubbed mixes. They may well still exist on two-track
copies in the Vault, though. Multiple copies of these shows were made
at the time; as Betty Cantor said in an interview with John Dwork, “In
Europe I was doing the 16-track and simultaneously running a two-track
of my monitor mix. I made cassettes at the same time.” (Deadhead’s
Taping Compendium vol. II, p.17)
The Overdub Process
In an interview with Blair Jackson, Bob Matthews explained the decision to redo the vocals on the Europe ’72
live tracks: “The band was almost never happy with their vocals on live
recordings. We had overdubbed vocals on ‘Skull and Roses,’ too, but the
band was very unhappy about the fact that it sounded like it had been
overdubbed. Actually there were some discussions about whether we were
even going to do Europe ’72, because of vocal issues, so that’s when I came up with the idea of trying to make [them] sound more live.”
wrote, “They recreated the positions of [the speakers] with
loudspeakers in the big room at Alembic [Studios], set up the singers
and their monitors in the same positions they had been onstage, and then
played back the instrumental tracks to approximate the actual live
performance, as the singers laid down new vocals.”
“Everybody seemed to like that fine. The band wanted the albums to
sound as good as they could make them. They weren’t purists at all.”
(Grateful Dead Gear, p.119)
These were the track assignments on the Europe ’72 16-tracks:
1. Bass Drum
2. Floor Tom
5. Hi hat
8. Lead guitar
9. Rhythm guitar
10. Jerry vocal
11. Bob vocal
12. Phil vocal
13. Pig Pen vocal
were not many tracks left over if the band decided to overdub vocals in
a song. Usually, Pigpen’s vocal track would be empty, and sometimes
his organ track, and the band seem to have used those tracks sometimes.
But quite often, we see that the original vocal tracks were wiped when
recording the new vocals. (On some
songs, though, if you listen carefully, you can hear the room echo of the original
live vocals under the studio vocals.) The audience track was probably not used for
dubs, though it was mixed so low on the album that any audience presence
or original room sound is barely detectable. (Plenty of reverb was
added to the vocals, though.)
Some live vocals on the
multitracks were lost due to the Dead’s method of snipping out the
selected tracks from the master tape and recording directly onto them.
The original performances survived on Betty Cantor’s two-track tapes,
though, many of which leaked out into circulation. These are all
apparently still in the Vault. Lemieux said in one interview,
“Fortunately, they were running two-track of virtually all the shows to
cover any cuts on the multi-track. They were only running one
multi-track machine, so if the multi-track did cut in the middle of the
song, there was about 20-30 seconds missing of that song, but we do have
the two-track recordings that were made simultaneously [so] that we can
fix it. We’ve had to do that a couple of times, not too often.”
shows were intact, and some had no songs cut on the multitracks. The
Dead were using extra-long 14-inch reels on the tour in order to
minimize tapeflips, and the Alembic crew was usually adept at flipping
between songs; so hardly any cuts are seen on the available tape boxes.
(“Big Boss Man” on 4/7 is one example of a song partly lost because
there was no two-track running for that show. This may also be one
reason that show never made it into circulation.) The two-tracks were
certainly never used for the original album; it is not clear just where
two-track tapes were used to patch flips on the box set.
are just a few cases where tracks are circulating that are missing from
the box set: “Casey Jones” at the end of the 4/7 first set, the 4/21
soundcheck of “Loser” and “Black Throated Wind,” and the 5/11 encore of
“One More Saturday Night.” (On the other hand, the box set turned up a
previously unknown soundcheck on 5/16 of a rare “Big River” and “Sugar
of the songs on the album were sped up to varying degrees, and thus are
pitched sharp. The box set mixes are pitched correctly. Comparing the
song timings allows us to see exactly how much the speed varies from
track to track on the album. (Speed changes of more than 1% are noted.)
Box Set / Album
Cumberland Blues 5:47 / 5:39 [2.4% fast]
He’s Gone 6:31 / 6:20 [2.9% fast] *
Saturday Night 4:45 / 4:44
Jack Straw 4:47 / 4:46
You Win Again 3:53 / 3:53
China > Rider 10:38 / 10:31 [1.1% fast] **
Brown Eyed Women 4:43 / 4:36 [2.5% fast]
Hurts Me Too 7:16 / 7:16
Ramble On Rose 6:07 / 5:59 [2.3% fast]
Sugar Magnolia 7:01 / 6:58
Mr Charlie 3:39 / 3:36 [1.4% fast]
Tennessee Jed 7:09 / 7:08
Truckin’ 5:06 / 5:01 [1.7% fast] ***
Morning Dew 11:50 / 11:19 [4.5% fast]
The timing is to the last vocal “he’s gone.” For the full performance,
the box set lasts 7:09 and the album 6:54, showing a speed change of
3.6%. (This wider discrepancy in timing is because the box set mix
includes a bit more of the performance at the end than the album track,
which fades earlier.)
** China > Rider – individual times: box set 5:36+5:02, album 5:32+4:59
*** This timing goes to the last sung line of “get back truckin’ on.” The full timing:
Truckin’ > Epilogue – box set 17:58, album 17:42 [1.5% fast]
are for the song itself, not the length of the CD track, since the
album and box set are tracked differently. Some of these timings may be
off by a second or so, so the speed percentages may not be exactly
precise, but the pattern is clear. Many of the tracks are unchanged,
others are sped up almost to chipmunk-vocal levels. The reasons are
vast majority of obvious overdubs are found on Jerry Garcia’s lead
vocal tracks. Maybe he felt more critical of his performances, or maybe
they actually needed the most help because of missed lyrics or other
phrasing stumbles. It’s true that his overdubs generally resulted in
stronger lead vocals than his live takes. Songs with big vocal
harmonies also received bolstering in the studio. Keith also replaced his piano part in several songs with more lively, embellished playing. These live tracks are
typically pretty good throughout the tour, but I suppose the temptation
to sweeten them was irresistible. On the other end of the scale,
Pigpen’s vocals sound entirely live; Lemieux has said that no Pigpen
vocals were overdubbed. Of course, he typically delivered very
confident lead vocals, even if his pitch was not always spot on. There
may also be other reasons why Pigpen was apparently not involved with
studio overdubs at all.
Jeff Norman has said that he
used the original vocals on the box set where they had not been
obliterated on tape by overdubs, and there is no reason to doubt this.
However, he did use overdubs on backing vocals where none were sung
live, for example on the end of “He’s Gone” and “Sugar Magnolia.”
Norman spoke a little about his mixing to David Gans during the box set
project: “Wherever there’s an original vocal remaining, I’ll use it.”
Let’s not forget that big chunks of this tour previously appeared on the archival releases Hundred Year Hall (released in 1995), Steppin’ Out (a compilation of songs recorded on this tour in England, released in 2002), and Rockin’ the Rhein (released in 2004). Also, the box set The Golden Road (released in 2001) and the later individual re-issue of Europe ’72
contained bonus tracks from the tour. Astute listeners will notice
that the mixes on these earlier releases is much more refined in terms
of dynamics, equalization, reverb, and other sonic niceties than it is
on the 2011 box. Keith Godchaux in particular receives more attention
to detail on the older mixes. On the 2011 mixes, there is even a
distortion issue with the vocals on every show up to the first Paris
show (5/3/72) that then pretty much clears up for the rest of the box.
Obviously the mixing budget for Europe ’72: The Complete Recordings did not allow for the “extravagance” of the earlier, higher-fidelity mixes.
The only earlier, superior mixes used on the box are Discs 3 and 4 of the 4/24/72 show, previously released as Rockin’ the Rhein.
For an unknown reason, these songs were not newly mixed for the box,
but the first two discs of this show were. I cannot begin to guess why,
except that it saved a few hours of studio time. No other earlier
mixes were used anywhere on the box set.
first song released from this tour was a 24-minute excerpt of “Dark
Star” from 4/8, which Garcia and Bob Matthews mixed in a London studio
in late May 1972 for the Glastonbury Fayre album. This is one
case where we can compare an original Dead mix from the tour with the
two recent mixes of that jam, on Steppin’ Out and the box set.
For more observations on the box set mix, also see this older discussion:
As a final note – I may have missed some overdubs, so please comment if you’ve found anything not mentioned here.
This is a nice piece of work. Thank you.ReplyDelete
It is perhaps a bit tangential to your essay, but what do you suppose was their rationale for omitting all of this information from the box set?
It is baffling, and I think negligent on their parts. But it it's long been their pattern not to provide technical recording info on things like edits & patches in their releases. (For instance, the 11/30/80 release didn't even state anywhere in the notes that it was a matrix, although Lemieux readily said it was when talking about it.) While Jeff Norman could easily have written a page detailing what overdubs made it onto the box set, I doubt they even considered it.Delete
Keith's piano was redone in the studio on many songs on the triple album. It's not clear to me why since his performance sounded fine in the live tapes. Perhaps they were dissatisfied with the piano sound.ReplyDelete
As far as Merl Saunders, I believe the time I checked "He's Gone" on the album versus the circulating soundboard from Amsterdam it seemed that the organ part on the album was not from the concert, so this may have been his contribution. I didn't notice anything else from him. As I recall, his comment about being on the album stemmed from a reporter noticing that he had a gold record for Europe 72 in his home.
I doublechecked the writer's findings, and on "He's Gone" (and several other songs) the organ on album seemed identical to the concert.Delete
There's still a possibility that Merl actually did overdub parts that are extremely similar to Pigpen's. There were a couple cases where the Dead's overdubbed vocals were so indistinguishable from the live vocals, one wonders why they bothered. So the spirit of nitpicking may have possessed them in the studio.
The piano in each song has not been checked, so I'd like to add a list of which songs Keith redid. The piano in "He's Gone" jumped out as being particularly different from what he played live.
The last time I checked I believe I found Keith also redid his parts on One More Saturday Night and Ramble On Rose, but I'd need to relisten.Delete
This is an audience source where you can hear the original live vocals of "Brown Eyed Women." It may also be on some of the SBD or FM sources that are not on the Archive.
Older copies of 4/14/72 had "Brown Eyed Women" patched in from the album, but I believe newer circulating sources have the original vocals. I'm not certain, though; haven't checked, since in any case the original vocals are on the box set.Delete
On a different subject...I believe the Paris May 4 (and perhaps May 3) shows were on tradelists before the Gans "Honeymoon" incident where the current unofficial source came into circulation. Anyone out there have Paris tapes from those days?ReplyDelete
While I think all the circulating Paris SBDs are patched from the album (not sure about Miller's 5/4, though), you're right that older tape copies may have been from the unaltered two-tracks.Delete
Fascinating article. Which version of "Jack Straw" on 5/3/72 is on the box set?ReplyDelete
It's the overdubbed version, which is the only version available unless someone has an older tape copy with just Weir singing it.Delete
By the way, I don't agree with the writer's suspicion that Jeff Norman has been "sworn to secrecy"... In the interview with David Gans linked in the post, he was quite forthcoming with the overdubs on the Paris 5/3 show. Unfortunately, that was the show he was up to at that point; if Gans had followed up with another interview a few months later, Norman could likely have given all the overdub details in the subsequent shows, and his reasons for including them. I think in general his options were limited due to original tracks being erased (and his reluctance to use the 2-track sources for anything but tiny patches). It's nice to see that the original live parts were used as often in the box set as they were.ReplyDelete
The reason I am suspicious about Norman's ability to speak freely is that there is rarely an official statement about various sonic anomalies on the archival releases. The rush-mixes on the E72 box, aud patches, overdubs, and even entire releases made from matrix recordings are swept under the proverbial rug. I understand that details regarding these audio "tricks" might generate a lot of chatter, but I don't see how it could hurt the bottom line. In fact, some transparency would go a long way toward building trust. This is just my angle, obviously. I am interested in the audio engineering process and I want to know more about how and why these decisions are made.ReplyDelete
They are definitely less than transparent on their releases. I would love to see Producer's Notes included with the CDs that detail those kinds of things. The distinction seems to be that while Lemieux & Norman will talk about the mixing process in interviews, the CD notes remain silent. That seems to be an ingrained tradition with that organization...Delete
I checked Keith's piano in all the songs where I had a live tape to compare to.ReplyDelete
He definitely overdubbed piano on Hurts Me Too, Ramble On Rose, and One More Saturday Night, so I updated the post.
He definitely did not overdub piano on Mr Charlie or You Win Again; those are entirely live (actually the only completely live songs on the album).
I don't think he overdubbed Brown Eyed Women or Cumberland Blues, but am not 100% certain.
And I didn't catch any piano overdub in Truckin' or Morning Dew, but I did not check the jams between.
It was interesting to hear that his overdubs were generally a lot busier and more intrusive than his original playing - the difference in "Hurts Me Too" perhaps the most glaring example. It was also noticeable that the overdubbed piano tracks were mixed in the center on the album, whereas the live piano tracks were usually placed on the right channel. (This doesn't apply to every song, though; Mr Charlie and the 5/26 jam sequence are exceptions.)
Due to the generally echoey sound of the studio piano parts, I would guess Keith most likely overdubbed China>Rider as well.
Sorry about the digression, but I forgot that on the May 1977 box (on the 5/13 show) they used the same version of GDTRFB that appeared in the Winterland 1977 box (the 6/8 show). Did they think no one would notice? Admittedly, I didn't catch it until someone pointed it out, but it was obvious some eagle-eared head would instantly recognize the impostor. I don't think anyone enjoys being deceived in this way. Why not just put the truth out there? Which version is which, and why was a wholesale swap made instead of a patch?ReplyDelete
The FM tapes of 5/13/77 have audio problems in the later part of Goin' Down The Road. I guess the same problems may exist on their master tapes, and perhaps they found them too offensive to include the song. Editing in a replacement for the later part could have been an option but perhaps it was too difficult to find another version in the same tempo. I agree though that it wasn't a good decision to include a full version from another show with no explanation, and particularly a version from another CD set that many people who bought this May 77 box would have also bought.ReplyDelete
This was brought up by a bewildered listener on the Archive forum a few months ago...Delete
Granted that the 5/13/77 version of GDTRFB had severe audio problems, this was still a bizarre decision to make. A fadeout with a note explaining that part of the song was too rough to release would've been wiser. But the tradition of the Dead production crew seems to be steadfast on two things: a) no audible cuts within a show (& patches wherever possible), and b) no explanatory production notes. There aren't many exceptions. Perhaps they see their main market as being casual listeners who don't notice or don't care, rather than the hardcore collectors who compare these things.
Listened to part of 4/26/72 yesterday and today after reading this essay. One oddity. On Hundred Year Hall, in "Me & My Uncle" Weir throws in a cool little ad lib ("guess you know about it") between "high low jack and the winner take the hand" and Garcia's solo. In the box set, they have mixed out this adlib from Weir. Why?ReplyDelete
On the more positive side, I find Garcia's guitar to be too low in the mix on HYH and they have brought it up front on the box set (while, as usual, pushing back Godchaux's piano).
(You can hear "ghosts" of Pig's organ in this show as it did not come out in the multitracks.)
At the end of this post there's a link to an Archive forum discussion where I briefly compared some shows in the box set with earlier mixes & circulating tapes. I noticed a couple other occasions where little vocals that happened during the jams were missing in the new mix. (And this was just a quick spot-check of a couple shows.)Delete
I think the reason is due to something Jeff Norman explained early in the mixing process - his idea was, in order to increase the sound quality of the instruments, he would mix out the vocal mikes at any point where the Dead weren't singing (this would reduce echoes, smearing, ambient mike sounds, etc). But obviously what happened was, in his haste to fade down the vocal mikes as soon as the song verses ended, any little vocal that happened outside the verses tended to get wiped. I see this as the sad result of a hurried mixing job.
Another small case in point - on Hundred Year Hall, you can clearly hear Weir count in "One More Saturday Night" on a vocal mike. On the box set mix, the start of the count-in is inaudible, and it's very distant like it's being picked up by the drum mikes or something.
Interesting that Pigpen's organ somehow got lost in that show!
As I recall the end of "Bertha" on HYH is one place where you can hear this "ghost" organ.Delete
On HYH you can definitely hear the organ in "Truckin'", way back in the mix. He was playing, it just didn't make it to tape properly or at all (or got erased, but that is unlikely).Delete
I believe Jeff Norman mentioned the missing 4/26 organ in an interview with David Gans (on the Grateful Dead Hour) around the time of the Steppin' Out release where they discussed mixing down the 4/7/72 Truckin-Other One for that CD. He also mentioned that the audience track was not recorded on 4/7.Delete
One of the 4/8/72 reels pictured in the Steppin' Out booklet has a note "14 and 16 out." I believe this means track 14 (organ) and 16 (audience) didn't come out, but I am not certain of this.Delete
There's an edit on the box version of Truckin' that isn't there on HYH. It's right when they go back into Truckin' lyrics after the jam. The intro is rough and it starts with Jerry just singing "Truckin'...' on his own with everybody slowly joining in after. The box set is edited and starts in mid verse.Delete
It's not that the box set mix is "edited" in the sense of music missing, but Norman mixed out the vocals in that flubbed first line. I guess he meant well, "fixing" the Dead's mistake, but I'd say it was another poor decision on his part. These box set mixes just can't be trusted as accurate sources of the shows.
In perhaps a more positive change for 4/26/72, the extra Donna yell just before Bob sings "standing on a tower" that you can hear on HYH is also muted in E72 Complete.Delete
The new SIRMick source of this show is a very nice alternate mix that has Jerry louder than on HYH and Keith louder than on E72 Complete. Unfortunately, the closing Lovelight sequence is missing.
Someone wrote on a Lossless Legs forum a couple years ago:ReplyDelete
"A similar problem affects the 16-track tapes from Fillmore East in April 1971 - the band overdubbed vocals and keyboards on these, to produce the slightly-sweetened tracks you get on Skullfuck. For example, Wharf Rat from 4/26/71 on that set has double-tracked Jerry vocals, as well as overdubs of piano and organ by Merl Saunders - the original performance (as evidenced on the circulating 2-track tapes) is much more sparse.
The only trouble is, they did it directly onto the 16-track concert tapes, rather than making safety masters and dubbing onto them. When GDP put together the "Ladies & Gentlemen" box a few years ago, there were multiple performances they couldn't use, as certain songs had had some overdubs applied, but hadn't necesarily been completed - if I recall correctly, the tremendous version of Morning Dew from 4/28/71 had had the original vocal wiped, but there is no complete finished Jerry vocal overdub in its place, hence why the (only slightly) weaker version from 4/29/71 was used on L&G instead."
The Compendium mentions a tape of alternate mixes from the 1971 concerts including "Cold Rain And Snow" as well as one or two songs included on Skull. Anyone out there heard this?Delete
The Compendium describes it as 6 mixes of Cold Rain & Snow and 2 mixes of Me & My Uncle... Clearly Cold Rain didn't make the album (though Garcia did mention in the Rolling Stone interview, "We didn't have a decent recording of it or we would've taken Cold Rain & Snow or anything that was good, cause that's what we were after. We didn't care what song it was..."). I don't believe him about that, but anyway, there were 4 versions of Cold Rain done at the multitracked shows of early '71.Delete
I doubt this tape ever got transferred to CD, given how few people would ever want to hear it!
I'd listen to it at least once. In fact a few things along those lines in the Compendium (such as some rehearsals from before the 1976 tour) have never made the Archive. Probably not in wide enough circulation.Delete
Regarding other live-album overdubs...ReplyDelete
Bear wrote on his website that the Steal Your Face album had "a complete overdubbing of all the vocals and many of the instrumental tracks." He mixed the album, so he should know; but it seems he was exaggerating here since I've never read elsewhere about these overdubs.
Author Steven Seachrist investigated:
"I'm almost sure that all of the lead vocals are live. (It would be nearly impossible to re-create a vocal tone that awful in a studio.) It sounds like all of Donna's backing vocals are overdubbed, since her tone is much cleaner. Instrument-wise, there are enough little mistakes (and at least one big one) that I find it hard to believe they overdubbed anything and left those in."
So apparently Donna's vocal had problems on the multitracks and she redid her parts; but there's no sign of other overdubs. Given the haste with which the Steal Your Face album was mixed, I'd be surprised if there were others.
I've read that SYF was remixed or remastered (not sure which) for a later CD reissue that sounds different from the original, but don't know any details. Doesn't look like anyone's really investigated that.
See also: https://archive.org/post/1008365/the74-grateful-dead-movie-sound-track-and-the-shows
Is there any GD live album that does not have overdubs before the Dicks Picks series?Delete
Live/Dead didn't. Bear's Choice didn't. Reckoning & Dead Set, I don't know, but some of Dead Set was heavily edited. Dylan & the Dead, no idea, but I don't think so.Delete
I think Reckoning and Dead Set have no overdubs. In addition to the well known edits on Dead Set I believe there is an edit in "Bird Song" on Reckoning between the first chorus and the jam.Delete
Thanks for the information. They played for the moment but in recordings, they were concerned for posterity. Do you think the overdubs that begin on Europe '72 in some way reflect the change in their relationship with their audience and how they viewed their shows? For the first 5 or 6 years they felt they had a real kinship with their audience, ala the acid tests where Garcia talks about how they are there to supply the music for something larger happening, but eventually it becomes the more "traditional" concert experience. Of course I realize they simply want to make the best records they can (the quest for perfection).Delete
The overdubs began on "Skull & Roses" - maybe it was because that was a more song-oriented album, and they wanted to give that (and E72) more studio polish, as a substitute for actually doing those songs in the studio. (Some songs, like Wharf Rat, are so overdubbed they're practically studio versions anyway.) You'll notice on those albums, almost all the overdubs are in the vocals, or sometimes piano/organ accompaniment - the basic playing is almost never redone, so it's the singing they thought needed the most work.Delete
But it's a good question why Live/Dead was not overdubbed. (And only the most minimal edits, joining one track to another.) Probably not because they thought it was perfect as it was... Remember that this album came after multiple aborted attempts to record live shows for release (Shrine '67, Shrine '68, etc). I can only guess their concept for that live album was different than for the later albums.
I don't think it has to do with their changing relationship to their audience, except in the peripheral sense of increased "professionalism." In a related instance, you have Garcia remixing Aoxomoxoa in 1971 to take out all the extra "unnecessary" studio bits and make it more of a simple radio-friendly song album; and we see the same trends in the live albums. Back in the Anthem/Live-Dead days they were totally unconcerned with radioplay (except perhaps on underground FM stations that would play whole album sides), but that changed. So you could say they were starting to address a wider market, and shifted their standards accordingly.
Donna seems to have overdubbed on not only Steal Your Face but the GD Movie and some songs not used in the movie that are on the soundtrack 5CD. Some versions on the Archive have her original vocals, while others are apparently sourced from the undubbed multitracks and have her nearly inaudible.Delete
On Dead Set, pretty sure a couple of solo choruses in the middle of Garcia's solo are cut out for time. There is a pretty glaring dynamic jump and he is in a different place on the neck.Delete
Without A Net has vocals overdubbed on some (but not all) songs, including "Eyes Of The World" and "Help On The Way." In the original "Help On The Way" heard on live tapes from 3/30/90 and on the box set, Jerry's vocal sounds rougher and he mixes up the words in the first verse.ReplyDelete
"Bird Song" from Without A Net also has vocals overdubbed.Delete
Does anyone know if Steppin Out contains any overdubs?Delete
None that I know of.Delete
I was sad that the 6-9-76 Road Trips, didn't dub in the opening notes of St Stephen from an aud source and start it with a big cut.ReplyDelete
Oh, me too! That one really bugs me, especially since they had used many patches on other releases already. I am tempted to take this down to the studio and do it myself. I could print a new disc and keep it on the shelf next to the RT.Delete
I spoke to Merl after he played a gig with his nephew (on flute) at the House of Blues in Cambridge, MA and he told me that he had the RIAA Gold LP of Europe '72 which was a gift from the Dead for his appearance on the album.ReplyDelete
I'll have to give it a proper listen, but I'm sure that the 'Trucking' on Europe 72 has a different organ track than the 26 May Complete original version; it also disappears a couple of minutes into the long jam, whereas the latter version has Pigpen playing continuously. Also, Pigpen's organ appears a little more on the jam after the first verse of 'The Other One' than it does on 'Prelude' on Europe 72. I've commented elsewhere that Pigpen's contribution to the band's live sound wasn't always reflected on some live albums; and the original post here notes that the organ was removed from several of the tracks on Europe 72, it seems that his percussion was also removed. That seems rather unfair to do that. Whilst we're discussing Pigpen, does anyone know why he never seemed to play organ on 'Wharf Rat'. I know he didn't play on some of the up-tempo numbers ('Cumberland Blues', 'Jack Straw', 'Sugar Magnolia' for example) but he normally played on the slow numbers.ReplyDelete
After a quick listen I think it's the same organ part on "Truckin'" from Europe 72 and the other sources of 5/26/72, but on Europe 72 they made it almost inaudible.Delete
It's hard to say why Pigpen didn't play organ on Jack Straw or Sugar Magnolia or Wharf Rat, etc... Just a few chords would've been required. I don't have an answer for that.Delete
It's also hard to say why they mixed down or omitted the organ on several songs on the album. Maybe at that point they just didn't want a strong organ feel in their music? Or who knows...
With all due respect to Pig when I listened to "Truckin" from the raw 5/26/72 tape the organ was repeating the same few licks, and arguably dragging things down a bit.Delete
However, he did make some good contributions near the end of "Prelude" that they kept in the album mix with good reason.
Before posting this article, I compared the organ on the album & the circulating live tapes for Truckin', Morning Dew, and He's Gone, and to me they sounded identical or at least not noticeably different.ReplyDelete
I could double-check these again, along with other songs; but other pairs of ears may be required here as well.
Whatever the findings, Saunders must've done something to get that E72 gold record. It may be that any organ overdubs he did were both minimal & not required (in that he was just repeating what Pigpen had originally played, with maybe a few touchups or improvements). Perhaps Garcia wanted to get Merl some extra studio pay?
Then again, it's possible that Merl did do overdubs, but the Dead ultimately decided not to use any of them....and kept that to themselves. Just the fact that they mixed the organ out of several album tracks indicates they didn't make much use of Merl!
In any case, I'd like to get additional confirmation on whether any organ tracks were actually changed on the album.
I re-checked the organ parts on Truckin', Morning Dew, Ramble On Rose, He's Gone, and Mr Charlie. Though on the album the organ is mixed very low in Truckin' & Ramble On Rose, I have no doubt it's Pigpen in all of them, no overdubs.ReplyDelete
Those are the songs I could check; other shows I don't have the original live organ tracks for. Though I couldn't compare Brown-Eyed Women, Tennessee Jed, or You Win Again, the organ parts on album don't sound any different from what Pigpen would play. Since several other songs on E72 have no organ, this has to make Merl's part in the album very minimal, at best.
Unless someone else has a different finding, I don't think Saunders is on the album.
It occurs to me that perhaps Saunders could have played not the organ, but the new piano parts instead of Keith.Delete
This sounds very unlikely to me, but I suppose all possibilities should be considered...
Here we have a good audience of "Brown Eyed Women" and a mediocre (and slightly slow) audience source of "You Win Again," that I think verifies that the organ is indeed Pig's performance from the shows.
“The overdubs began on "Skull & Roses”.”ReplyDelete
I was under the impression that process commenced on “Anthem of the Sun”, predating “Skull & Roses” by three years. Although the process was reversed in this case, as apparently live material was added on top of studio material, the end result was still the same—a conglomeration of live and studio recordings. LIA, or someone—please advise?
Well, it depends how you consider the procedure... Obviously Anthem and Skull & Roses were both live/studio mixes. To me the difference is that on Anthem (I think) there were not actually studio overdubs over the live material; instead the live show tapes were layered & edited together, with the studio sections separate. So, I could be wrong, but "overdubs" wasn't the specific process on Anthem.Delete
There's also the difference in concept, in that Anthem was not meant to be a "live" record, which is what Skull & Roses and E72 presented themselves as.
Comparing the wonderful sound/mix on the Steppin' Out CDs to the unfortunate "all Jerry all the time" mixes on the E72 box set confirmed my recurring suspicions upon first listening to the discs in the E72 box. Garcia's guitar is simply mixed too high, Keith is mixed too low and the result is a different band than the one I grew up listening to (on the original album and on reams of live tapes). The real magic is in the ensemble playing and when the mix is uneven, that magic is replaced by "wow, Jerry is really playing the shit out of this." While that can sometimes be thrilling, it's not the same experience and it's usually not as interesting.
For better or worse, I'm sure that someday (probably in the not terribly distant future) we'll be seeing "deluxe mixes" of complete EP shows (or complete "runs" in various cities/countries) being released by those who control such things.
As for the Dead's obsessing over their vocals: I get it. I certainly am not troubled by their singing and the occasional flub or out-of-tune/synch efforts are just part of the rid. They've got some of the most interesting voices in the history of electronic music, I'd say. But it's also a fact that a lot of people have a really hard time with anything remotely resembling "failure" or even "weird" in a vocal performance. Did the attention on the vocal overdubs gain them any new fans who otherwise would never have gotten on the bus? Seems unlikely. But it might have affected the casual or curious record buyer who wouldn't have taken even that minimal step had someone written a review and commented on the "dubious vocals" or something like that.
Just adding: A perfect example of a Dead vocal which which tends to split heads and non-heads alike is something like the "Bo Diddley" from 5/23/72 (disc 2, track 9 on the Steppin Out set). I can't defend Garcia's vocal or Weir's attempt to harmonize with Jerry as anything but "curious" or "odd" or "incomprehensible." Neither is "awesome" or "ass-kicking" or "killer" or "insane" or "trippy" or "far-out" or "groovy". It's just ... something that happened there for the first time. And not very often subsequently, either because the band noticed that the crowd didn't really got off on it or because most of the band didn't really dig it (for whatever reason).Delete
Au contraire, Frank. Jerry is not up front enough for my taste in Steppin' Out. Audience tapes bear this out, as demonstrate how up front and high Jerry was on this tour. (Also goes for the rest of '72). Always thought the original E72 vinyl had Jerry mixed way, way too low.Delete
Additionally, the Complete 72 Jahrhundert show is a much better representation of Jerry's overall place in the mix compared to HYH, by far.
Question: does anybody know if that old Record Store day release of the 5/3/72 Olympia Dark Star is the same mix as on the E72 box CD?ReplyDelete
I suspect the 5/4/72 Dark Star LP release is the same mix as the box set (the credits are still mixed by Jeff Norman, mastered by David Glasser), but I don't really know for sure - someone who has the record might weigh in.Delete
It is odd not only that Jeff Norman changed his mixing approach between Steppin' Out and the box set, but that apparently all the other listeners in the Dead production chain approved of the new mixes.
I imagine it all came down to the decision (presumably made after the decision to release Steppin Out) to release the "complete E72" as a box set and get it done reasonably quickly, reasonably well and reasonably cheaply. There simply wasn't enought time to carefully mix everything. The selection on Steppin Out is definitely well-curated and whoever picked those tracks (DaveL?) probably had some ideas about how to mix each of them for maximum effect.Delete
The flip-side of all this, of course, is that Steppin Out can sometimes sound a tad "enhanced." The difference between those tracks and the corresponding tracks on the E72 box is more than just relative volume of each of the musicians. There's a lot more "hall reverb" going on, I think. Not necessarily a bad thing but there was something about the relative dryness of my Europe 72 tapes that I always found pleasant probably because the crispness made it easier to hear the separate instruments.
Thanks for the work on your nice essay.ReplyDelete
Too little too late, but PigPen might have been able to use some of the royalties if one of his songs had been included on the original E72 release.
Also hope these thoughts below might fit here. thanks.
grateful dead europe '72 stereo imaging
listening on headphones to the new "playin'" promo mix sent out on
deadnet draws my attention to the question of the stereo image created
by the mixer.
on this track jerry is split quite left, bobby right, keith center
right, bass and drums center and no pig to be heard.
I don't believe this mirrors the dead's stage set up and made me
wonder about the imaging on the original europe 72 release.
i randomly picked "you win again" for my first trial and found the more
"correct" image. from left to right pig(maybe??? someone who has
listened to the tapes of these shows may be able to tell if pig or
merle saunders is playing on which song), gar, weir, billy and phil a
hair right of center , and keith right. very nice. now does the whole
album follow the same layout? absolutely not!
"cumberland blues" is pretty much the same as "you win again", with
phil maybe more dead center.
but then we get to "he's gone" which is set up similarly to the new
"playin'" with jerry far left, bobby far right, and keith center right.
organ is far left.
"one more saturday night" pretty much the same as "he's gone".
"jackstraw" presents a new mix with bobby now far left, garcia center,
next the previously mentioned "you win again"
"china cat ...rider" returns to the "he's gone", "saturday night"
template. followed by...
..."brown eyed women" and a new imaging set up. organ left with bobby,
garcia in the center for the first time, keith right.
"it hurts me too" - back to "he's gone" image as does the final cut of
disc one - "ramble on rose"
wonder if there was any method to the madness behind the song to song
decision on the stereo imaging. boredom perhaps.
anyone have thoughts on this?
They did put Mr. Charlie on the original E72, so Pigpen did get a songwriting credit.Delete
I noticed the changing mixes on the original album as well. My best guess is that it was partly due to the overdubs - that is, on the songs where they changed the piano, they adjusted the mix so that it would blend in better and not sound so obviously overdubbed (putting the piano in the center).
Other mix changes may also have been meant to disguise studio trickery... Or maybe they just felt a little mix variety would be good on a long album?
I remember my friend saying way back when "Who is playing the piano?" on Wharf Rat on Skull and Roses.That was my first inkling there were overdubs going on. Also the fact that trying to play guitar along with E72 was frustrating because I was always out of tune! $%#$@$!ReplyDelete
Wonderfully detailed and respectfully insightful. Thank you so much for this article and larger collection of knowledge. Europe '72 for me is the Holy Grail. The Aurum Potable. The Medicine of Metals. The Philosopher's Stone of the Grateful Dead. God Bless.ReplyDelete
In a recent interview, Jeff Norman was asked about mixing the Europe '72 box set, and groaned in regret. He said it was a rushed job, he made mistakes with the mixing ("not enough piano"), he wasn't happy with it, and would like to re-do it.ReplyDelete
https://www.thenexttrack.com/%E2%99%AB-episode-74-jeffrey-norman-on-restoring-mixing-and-mastering-the-grateful-dead/ (about 19 minutes in)
I'm reliving the tour once again this year. It's definitely interesting comparing sources. I have the first set from 4/26 on now, I just noticed on the box set they removed Bobby saying "guess you know about that" after "...winner take the hand" in MAMU. Criminal!ReplyDelete
Yes, I haven't gone through all the shows but everywhere I spot-checked, any vocals that took place outside of the regular lyrics generally got mixed out...so there's quite a bit less singing on the box set than actually took place. There was one Dark Star where Garcia's guitar was even mixed out for a bit (perhaps to cover up a little tuning)! It's a shame.Delete
Has anybody ever made a list of the differences between the box set mixes and what is circulating?Delete
No, I don't believe so. Depending on how much detail is included, a list of the mix differences through the whole tour could be overwhelmingly long.Delete
I don't think it would be overwhelmingly long, but I wouldn't see much benefit in doing so. And in the end, there's really only one main conclusion: turn up Pigpen's organ!Delete
I think an interesting approach to this could be figuring out where all the splices are in the box set that were either patched or unpatched.ReplyDelete
Examples of these include the 4/8 Caution being patched with the two track (not done on Steppin out) or the mystery of the 5/11 OMSN.
So far I'm relistening to the tour and I'm up to 4/17 but I can't pick up on any other two track patches so far other than the 4/8 Caution. I think the 90min reels were really beneficial in this regard.
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Good point. While most of the album overdubs were either vocals or piano, with the guitars left alone, Weir apparently did replace his guitar part on Jack Straw, and may have on China>Rider as well. With the original live tracks for these songs unavailable, we can't compare.Delete
Here are Jesse Jarnow's overdub comments so far in the Europe '72 deadcastsReplyDelete
Cumberland Blues 1972-04-08 from 61:20 in Episode 2 Empire Pool & Newcastle
"The vocals on the Europe '72 version of Cumberland Blues are overdubbed, all of them. Often the lead vocalist would overdub their new vocal on a spare track on the tape leaving the original intact. In fact, it seems as if Cumberland Blues was the first song the band worked on when assembling the album as well with Garcia adding a lead vocal on July 3rd 1972 back home at Alembic in San Francisco in the same room they recorded the song originally. Weir and Lesh overdubbed new vocals on July 31st with Garcia then singing another vocal over his original. So even on Europe '72 The Complete Recordings box set all of the Cumberland Blues vocals were added later. But those were the only overdubs. A crackling document of the group dynamic in April 1972. Look ma, no banjo."
Brown Eyed Women 1972-04-14 from 34:18 in Episode 3 Denmark has no mention of overdubs
China > Rider 1972-05-03 from 63:57 in Episode 5 France
"Back in San Francisco after the tour the band whittled it down to three versions of the China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider combination. Copenhagen, Hamburg and Paris and picked Paris. Garcia, Weir and Lesh overdubbed entirely new vocals on July 13th at Alembic with Garcia apparently making another pass on August 8th. Though Donna didn't sing on Rider during the tour she's on the studio track sheet sharing track 12 with Weir with a paranthetical acapella."
Tennessee Jed 1972-05-03 from 73:32 in Episode 5 France
"The Paris version they used on the album was take number 8. Other contenders were versions from Empire Pool and Amsterdam. Garcia, Lesh and Weir did their overdubs back home at Alembic on July 11th 1972. Garcia leaving his original vocal on the tape as well."
Jack Straw 1972-05-03 from 81:29 in Episode 5 France
"Weir, Garcia and Lesh did a vocal overdub session at Alembic on July 12th and then wiped those for another session on August the 7th. On July 10th before the vocal work began Weir added an additional track of guitar to the mix taking up the space where the new lead vocal track would often go. As such, all the vocals on the box set are overdubs with Weir, Garcia and Lesh harmonising in the same room where they recorded Workingman's Dead."
Sugar Magnolia 1972-05-04 from 101:23 in Episode 5 France
"On the Europe '72 version you can hear Donna Jean singing during the song's finale. But, like Garcia's Jack Straw vocal, that's a post-tour addition. On August 4th back at Alembic Weir added a new guitar part, unusual for the album. On August 7 Weir, Garcia and Lesh overdubbed new vocals. On August 8th an uncredited member of the band added maraccas and Donna Jean added her own vocal part. From then on she sang on the live versions of the song as well."
Thanks for the notes. They put a lot of work into those vocal overdubs! But that partly ironed out the "live" feel on the album....Delete
Jesse also mentioned that all the vocal tracks for Beat it on Down the Line (I believe from May 16 but possibly the 18th) were also recorded over for the overdubs by Jerry, Bob, and Phil - can't find the quote but remember he played a snippet.Delete
The last episode includes a summary of the overdub dates:Delete
Lots of work on those vocals...
But it's kind of ironic that we have a better chronology of the studio dates for this live album than we do for some of the Dead's earlier studio albums!
Another recent radio interview with Jeff Norman in which he talks about mixing the Europe '72 box set:ReplyDelete
https://kboo.fm/media/109284-grateful-dead-and-friends-050722 (about an hour in)
He was on "a tight budget" for this set, and rented a studio for five months, mixing a show a week. "It didn't turn out as well as I wanted it to." Usually on multitracks, he's used to mixing one song per day, but on this project he was "so rushed - I had to mix five songs a day." So often the piano was too low or the mix wasn't quite right: "I would love to redo it, but it's not going to happen."
As if to illustrate his point, the radio show starts off with the 5/7/72 Greatest Story, in which there is no piano! - Keith mixed out entirely. (Donna's cries in the solo are also mixed down.)
Good to get this context. I, like others, remember being so frustrated at Keith's levels in the mix after getting the set. Such a shame.Delete
I mostly did the whole tour once again this year, and enjoyed it just as much as last if not more. I wish I had referenced this post and comment section before listening to each show, I definitely noticed one or two moments where I could hear the brief switch to the two tracks to cover flips, but don't remember at all where they occurred. I also remember noticing Donna's missing "come alive" in SMBH but did not catch the bleed, I just assumed they hadn't settled on that being a regular part of the song yet. It's such a shame they dropped it, every year when I listen to these shows I gain new appreciation for SMBH and Two Souls and lament that both had such limited time in the repertoire.ReplyDelete
At any rate, I don't think I've ever inquired anywhere about why the bass got 2 of the 16 tracks, does anyone with any experience recording and mixing live music have an explanation for that? Is that common or deliberate or did they just have an extra track and somehow Phil ended up on it? I wonder if both tracks sound identical or what. I suppose I should listen to the final episode of the podcast series on the tour before making these comments...
I just hope I'm still alive when they eventually re-release the tour in 16 track form where we can create our own mixes (I once read TC propose this idea for the Live/Dead tapes and am fully on board). People laugh at that idea but give it 20 years. If it does happen, I want to listen to the whole tour from just the AUD track perspective (where such track exists anyway). I wonder what those sound like? In my dreams it's something similar to the March 1968 tapes, but I imagine the reality is far different. I still can't believe they rushed such a project when they put out the box, what a terrible series of decisions that was, and "it'll never happen" is even more heartbreaking. Sure, it sounds okay, but it could be so much better. At least they give Pig some redemption.
When they recorded the Live/Dead shows in '69, they also used two tracks for Phil's bass. This puzzles me too.Delete
One technique they used when recording their studio albums in 1970 was to record the bass on two tracks, but each track would use a different mic so the tracks would capture different bass tones that could be combined. I don't know whether the live recordings used the same principle.
The AUD track perspective, ha! You know that might be really cool to hear, if it captured the actual hall sound of the band....
A lot of the double tracking bass has to do with the hi and low end. Basically having an independent control over how low to highs you get when mixing the track in the studio. Usually, when an instrument is recorded on a mono track, all frequencies are lumped together and we use EQs (whether digital or analog) to boost bass or treble if need be. But when you start manipulating one area of the frequency landscape, whether you like it or not you are always changing a little bit of everything (a very watered down explanation, but either way). So having both channels to shape the sound, not to mention how much of the "string" and "fleshy" tone you want from the bass. Phil also did play with a pick so being able to pull down that ticky tacky sound is nice too. Hope this helps (~);}Delete
Yes, that does put it in a perspective I hadn't considered. I'm no expert on the science of sound, I just pick up on differences in feel but can't explain why they're different. I suppose a really simple way of thinking about it would be to compare tapes where you hear the bass notes clearly and loudly in the mix but don't feel the bass, and any attempt to raise the lows with something like a basic car stereo EQ just gives you a booming kick drum and makes everything else fuzzy? Basically you can't manipulate part of the frequency on a track without affecting all the other parts, having more tracks alleviate this issue. Think I got it!Delete
On the source of 5/11/72 Rotterdam that started circulating in the 90's and is on the Archive, you can hear the audience track by itself at the beginning of "Playing In The Band," as the engineer dials in the mix (fortunately getting it right just in time for the jam).Delete
Jamie Howarth of Plangent Processes posted a comment at the Steve Hoffman Forums touching on the piano overdubs and the sped-up songs on the album: "...[T]hey locked to line frequency which in Europe was from a generator that varied 60.1 60.2 59.9 Hz, and the Hammond and everything else (except the piano) chased it. That's why a lot of piano was overdubbed on the Europe 72 3 LP set. Then they boosted the speed on the multitrack a semitone or 2 just to make it zippier. I just finished syncing the multitracks to the LP masters' speed for a project yet unreleased. It was a lot of work. The machine changed pitch at every edit. They got cute and sped up the guitar solo of "Tennessee Jed" more than the rest of the song..."ReplyDelete
I'm renewing my search for an answer about a possible patch in the box set for the 4/24 One More Saturday Night. On the archive source we've had forever, the SBD fades into an AUD with about 40 seconds left. This last AUD part matches the official release; however, everything before this point is completely different. The Rockin' the Rhein/Europe 72 box soundboard and the archive soundboard are two different performances up until the last 40 seconds. So which is the correct version? The amount of patches Lemieux’s team has been inserting in official releases is absolutely crazy (they’ve even mixed and matched pieces of songs within this very box set, meaning you hear the same exact snippets of Truckin’ on two supposedly different shows), so I wouldn’t put it past them to sub the entire first four minutes. But if they didn’t sneak in a patch, this would mean the 4/24 show we’ve been listening to all along until Rhein was released was cobbled together from a different performance, and I find that hard to swallow. A complete AUD (which must exist but that I can’t find) would solve this mystery. Either that or do a side-by-side comparison of all the potential Saturday Nights with the two versions we have, which would be a monumental undertaking. I could make a guess as to which one is correct and list the reasons why, but I’d love to have a provable answer. Anyone know for sure what’s going on here?ReplyDelete
I'm guilty of being a little obsessive about these things and taking them a bit too seriously sometimes, I mean I'm pissed they took out Weir's "guess you know about that" on the 4/26 Uncle, but even I have to draw a line with One More Saturday Night. While no version from the tour doesn't rock, I'm usually lying when I say I've listened to the whole tour in order, ain't no way I listened to all of em lol. But I admire your passion. Strange mystery indeed, good luck detecting the minor subtleties among them all and getting to the bottom of the truth, I could never have the patience.Delete
That's a good find, and a tricky edit indeed!Delete
After some searching, I believe the old crappy circulating tape of 4/24 actually substituted a different Saturday Night -- from 5/18. (The AUD portion, and the official release, are from the genuine 4/24.)
How a song from a different show got stuck onto that tape, who knows, but it sounds like the 5/18 Saturday Night to me.
THANK YOU. Finally. Funny, because the “old crappy circulating tape” is a pretty good edit! This scenario makes the most sense, but it’s a relief to know exactly where the substitute version came from. Good thing we got the correction, because the real 4/24 is smokin’!Delete