About The AlbumEdit
"It occurred to me a while back that since we'd been releasing more-or-less complete shows in our vault series, it might be interesting to search out some of the rarer material (P.A. tapes and other reference sources culled from shows that wouldn't have made it out complete), that could stand on its 'historical relevance.' I also was looking for an excuse to put out some of my old favorites." - Phil Lesh Dancin' In the Streets [11:40] April 12, 1970, San Francisco, CA "We always thought of this as a kind of 'hippie anthem' as much as anything else - I remember driving down a street in Santa Monica on the way to the beach sometime in '66, hearing it on the radio and thinking 'we GOTTA do this tune' - we were never that great as Vandellas, as you'll hear on this version, but we liked to use it as a vehicle for stretchin' out and jammin' hard on two chords Coltrane-style, and this performance reflects some of the best of that." New Speedway Boogie [8:07] Unknown 1970 acoustic "It's probably well known that this song was written in the aftermath of Altamont; this version is one of the earliest, and has a much snakier groove to it than we later gave it. This isn't really 'acoustic;' Bob plays acoustic, and the rest of us are electric. This tape was found in a box of old stuff marked 'unknown' in the bowels of the vault. Who knows what else we might find in there?"
Viola Lee Blues [19:43] April 26, 1969, Chicago, IL "The definitive early GD jammin' tune - the first one we ever really stretched out beyond all recognition, by using what we called then 'shifting gears' - which is really nothing but a twenty minute accelerando, influenced by the North Indian music that we were listening to a lot of at that time. This version has a riff towards the middle (at about 12:20, played by me) that we later expanded and used extensively - unfortunately, none of those performances seem to have survived."
Easy Wind [8:04] May 15, 1970, New York, NY "One of Pigpen's best tunes - the contrast between the straight-ahead bogaloo rhythm and a slow blues triplett groove made it really expressive, as did the lyrics 'ballin' a coal-black steel jack-hammer,' etc... (also contains a classic sample of P.A. feedback during Pig's harp lead - truly authentic)."
Mason's Children [6:07] January 2, 1970, New York, NY "A tune that never made it onto an "official" album - who knows why? Maybe we just decided we didn't dig it all that much at the time (maybe we never performed it that well, either - judge for yourselves). Anyway, it's turned out to be one of the most requested (for release) tunes in our history. Go figure."
Hard To Handle [7:34] August 6, 1971, Hollywood, CA "A hyperdrive version (from an audience tape) of Otis Redding's classic macho anthem distinguished by some intense jamming and a 'very' responsive crowd (I don't remember why they were so excited - maybe Pig was doing some strange dance),"
The Music Never Stopped [8:55] July 17, 1989, East Troy, WI "One of my fav Bobby tunes - I always enjoyed playing this one 'cause the changes really challenged us to try different stuff - also the two-part jam at the end usually builds to a grand climax..."
Jack-A-Roe [5:52] May 17, 1977, Tuscaloosa, AL "When I first met Jer, he was playing acoustic guitar and singing old folk ballads. This song, along with 'Fennario,' 'Whiskey In The Jar' and 'Matty Groves' is my all-time favorite of those that he used to do (at parties as well as gigs). The feeling in this performance is vastly different from the faster way we did it later on - it has a kind of loping, banjo-frailing groove to it that I find very appealing."
In The Midnight Hour [31:49] September 3, 1967, Rio Nido, CA "We were once accused of playing this song for 45 minutes - this version isn't quite that long, but it's the longest I could find. This was recorded at a Russian River resort ballroom on Sunday night of Labor Day weekend - I don't think there were more than 25 people there, but we played our little hearts out for them anyway. Pig does his patented 'Git your hands outta yo' pockets-git on up an' dance' rave, and the band keeps endlessly inventing new stuff behind him. We had to master this one in mono, because it was recorded with vocal mikes on one track and the whole band on the other."
Visions of Johanna [10:23] March 18, 1995, Philadelphia, PA "One of Dylan's greatest songs, and one Jer always had a particular affinity for - I only wish we'd done it more often. I find his guitar lead on this version unutterably poignant."
Box of Rain [5:11] July 19, 1989, East Troy, WI "This song means a lot to me personally, as I understand it does to many others - I've wanted to put out a live version for quite a while now, so here it is..."
- Dancin' In the Streets
- New Speedway Boogie
- Viola Lee Blues
- Easy Wind
- Mason's Children
- Hard To Handle
- The Music Never Stopped
- In The Midnight Hour
- Visions of Johanna
- Box of Rain