December 17 - December 21, 2007
This week we’ve decided to stay in 1971 and check out some great music played in the latter part of the year after Keith had joined the band.
Our first stop will be at the Felt Forum in New York City, on 12/7/71, the final night of a four night stand at the basement theatre at Madison Square Garden. Plenty of great music was played at these four shows, with this little December tour featuring the return of Pigpen after he sat out the start of Keith’s tenure with the band in October and November. The return of Pigpen made the Grateful Dead a sextet for the first time since Mickey left the band after the 2/18/71 show. It also, of course added all of that great Pigpen material to the repertoire. From 12/7/71, we have a trio of first set songs, Sugaree, Jack Straw, Next Time You See Me. There is a very light right-channel crackle during some of the louder parts, present on the vault master reels.
From three nights later, on 12/10/71, we have some outstanding music from the Fox Theatre in St. Louis. From the start of the first set, we have the first version of Good Lovin’since 8/26/71. This version has the perfect blend of inspired jamming and Pigpen showmanship. From a little later in the set, we have this beautiful Comes A Time. A little different lyrically than it would be in 1976; a gorgeous Garcia-Hunter composition. Finally from 12/10/71, we have the set-closing Not Fade Away>Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad>Not Fade Away. This one even has that little China Cat tease before GDTRFB like the 11/15/71 version we played a little while ago. It’s also great to hear Pigpen back on the closing Not Fade Away vocal ending.
Finally this week, we have another little taste of Pigpen, in the form of this mighty fine It Hurts Me Too from the second show at the Felt Forum on 12/5/71. The return of Pigpen really did add a whole new dynamic to the performances that had been lacking in October and November. It’s sad to think that six months or so after this show, Pigpen would be gone from the Grateful Dead for good. Thankfully the intervening six months contained the seven Academy of Music shows and the 22 Europe shows, at which Pigpen shone most nights
Check back next Monday for more great music from the archives. As always, feel free to write to the email address below with questions, comments, suggestions or requests. Your input is always appreciated.
vault [at] dead.net
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