Grateful Dead

To Terrapin: Hartford, May 28, 1977

By Blair Jackson

And the whistle is screaming...
...Terrapin

3 Disc Set

Whether or not the fabled spring tour of 1977 was, as many Dead Heads believe, the strongest Grateful Dead tour ever, it was unquestionably a magical time stuffed-to-overflowing with amazing shows. Say the word “Cornell” to any hardcore Head and it means one thing—the 5/8/77 show at Barton Hall on the august school’s campus. But there were numerous other stops on the tour that produced monster shows, as well, from the five-night run at the Palladium in New York, to the incredible Fox Theatre in Atlanta (5/19 was part of the two-show Dick’s Picks #29), to the two Florida shows—Lakeland and Pembroke Pines (Dick’s Picks #29 and Dick’s Picks #1, respectively)—Tuscaloosa, Richmond… the tour was a scorcher from beginning to end.

What was up? Well, by the spring of ’77, the Dead had been back on the road for nearly a year following their famous performing hiatus, so Mickey Hart was thoroughly re-integrated into the band, and the septet was hitting a new stride. There was a handful of great new songs being integrated into the repertoire, including Garcia and Hunter’s complex, epic “Terrapin Station” suite, Weir and John Barlow’s cool, off-kilter reggae tune “Estimated Prophet,” and Phil and Peter Monk’s rollicking “Passenger.” Those songs would form the core of the album that the Dead were recording in the winter of ’77 with producer Keith Olsen down in Los Angeles. Olsen was a sharp guy with good ears (as they say in the biz), and he worked the Dead hard in the studio, forcing them to play perhaps a bit more precisely than they were accustomed to. Now, one can endlessly debate whether the result of Olsen’s approach was ultimately an album that was a tad too precise—a criticism even the band leveled at Terrapin Station—but all the laboring over parts and arrangements in the studio seemed to have an extremely positive impact on how the band played live that spring.

Which brings us to Hartford, Connecticut on the night of May 28, 1977—the final night of this Tour for the Ages, and the source of our latest release, To Terrapin. You’d never know from listening to this show that the band had been on the road for more than a month and 25 previous concerts, because it has that sparkle and intensity the band only had when it was fresh, feelin’ good and in full exploration mode. From the rippin’ “Bertha” > “Good Lovin’” > “Sugaree” trifecta opening, through the spectacular second set sequence comprised of “Playing in the Band,” a brisk and buoyant “Terrapin,” a fantastic one-of-a-kind “Not Fade Away,” “Wharf Rat,” and the “Playing reprise.” Definitely the band at its best!

So, why put this out now? Why the hell not? And what’s with all the questions? Just enjoy it. OK, aside from it being a classic show worthy of release, we thought it might be fun to revisit a concert played in one of the venues The Dead are hitting this spring on their tour—that would be the Hartford Civic (now the XL Center) on 4/26/09… why, that’s the 31-year, 11-month, 2-day anniversary show of this epic ’77 show! Anyway, this three-disc complete show release has been lovingly mastered to HDCD specs from the original reel-to-reel tapes by Jeffrey Norman utilizing the usual array of mysterious black boxes and sonic tools unavailable to us mere mortals. Artist Scott McDougal, who’s done such a bang-up job for us on the Road Trips series, has designed a beautiful package, and the always erudite Gary Lambert has contributed a fine essay which is accompanied by glorious photos of the band in Hartford in 1977. And because we know that in these tough economic times everyone could use a bargain, we’re offering To Terrapin at the very low price of $17.98 for all pre-orders placed on dead.net before the April 7th release date. That’s $2 under the suggested retail price. For the complete track listing and ordering info, click here.

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Joined: Jul 29 2008
Clarification...

I was talking about Betty boards already in circulation in my previous post, not whatever may be in the Vault.

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Offline
Joined: Jul 29 2008
Is there a reliable list of Betty Boards?

I don't how reliable the comments for shows on the archive sites are, and the couple of lists I have found of Betty Boards don't include this show.

Also, anybody else notice the easter egg has changed?

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Offline
Joined: Jun 7 2007
2-track

This is most definitely a 2-track recording, not multi-track. I'm sure we'd hear about it in the information above if it were multi-track.

It's probably not completely accurate to say it's a feed from the board - this is surely a Betty Board and so won't be just the PA feed but rather a mix made on the fly for recording to a 2-track tape. I guess the very beginning of it might so sound so flash but the sound will be phenomenal if it's even just half as good as other Betty Boards.

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Joined: Jan 31 2009
what's the mix?

is this a two track feed from the board, or a multi-track recording?

Offline
Joined: Jun 14 2007
no bonus disc or t-shirt?

Bookah
Nice disc. However, I always ordered these releases thru dead.net since you always had ad-ons such as bonus discs or t-shirts. Not this time? Plus, the last few Rhino releases arrived after street date so with no incentive to purchase online I'll probably wait until April 7th & go to the local record store. Bonus discs paleeze!!

ludlow66's picture
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Joined: Jun 14 2007
I can't flippin wait

I think I echo many of the comments regarding this release. I can't flippin wait! Finally Rhino has gotten it right. I didn't order the last Road Trips as I decided I have so much music that I have a hard enough time to listen to what I already have. I am not going to spend money on something I don't feel is that special. This I spent money on.

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Joined: Jun 27 2007
tech question

Thanks for the info! Looking forward to getting my copy.

Marshun's picture
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Joined: Jun 5 2007
One More Saturday Night

I have never been real lucky but I was fortunate enough to catch a few of these '77 spring shows. I came into this whole Dead thing in late '74...just as the hiatus was starting. Live and studio albums were all we had and those were some great times but at the time...no one knew if it was the end or if there would ever be a return to the road for the band.
It didn't look promising for quite a while. Finally they did return and it was ecstatic frenzy.
Saw a show in Boston in '76 and had a blast...the dream came true...and then '77
came along and The band set up shop in the area...Springfield, Boston and Hartford were all played within weeks of each other and all on Saturday Nights! It was indeed "One More Saturday Night". These shows were all energetic barn burners and the band played with a
telepathic fire moving effortlessly together jammin' tightly with the Grateful Heads.
The brightest fire for me was Springfield...which I think is overlooked but Boston and Hartford kept pace and I can't wait to bre transported in time. Had to hitchike back to Boston after the show. Parks car was full and his steering column was sketchy at best. Took him a while to get around the rotary. Anyway, the state cops picked us up on the interstate. It was pouring.
The guy actually took us to a toll booth (covered) and dropped us off there. We got a ride to the door within 5 minutes. I guess I did have some luck from time to time. "One more Saturday, one more Saturday...one more Saturday night!" "Hey another Saturday night!"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Walk into splintered sunlight
Inch your way through dead dreams to another land"
Robert Hunter
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Ray, a drop of golden sun"

marye's picture
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Joined: May 26 2007
HDCD--from David Lemieux

addendum/correction to the foregoing:

"yes, HDCD will play on all CD players, but the more important aspect (to me) is that in fact all Dick's Picks from #15 onward and all Road Trips are mastered in HDCD."

So there you have it.

marye's picture
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Joined: May 26 2007
leno

unless something has changed drastically, your card won't be charged till your order ships.

Heads up to those ordering with debit cards on this point, and also heads up to our non-U.S. friends in particular, as currency conversion fluctuations have caused trouble in the past for people who had plenty of money on the card when they ordered but lo, their local currency lost value with regard to the dollar by shipping time. So you might want to be aware of this and build in a little flexibility.

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