Grateful Dead

July 11- July 17, 2011

Tapers Section By David Lemieux

Road Trips Rides into Texas for Fall ’71 Gems

Years before Willie Nelson called it home, and decades before South By Southwest gave it international hip cache, Austin was Texas’ only hippie-tolerant city. It had bohemian coffee houses and clubs that served up psychedelic bands playing in front of mind-bending light shows. So is it any wonder that Austin was the first city in Texas to really take a shine to the Good Ol’ Grateful Dead?

The band first played the Austin Municipal Auditorium during a swing through Texas in February 1970, surprising (and delighting) a crowd that was no doubt expecting an evening of music from their most recent album, Live Dead, by playing a lot more folk and country-influenced material (including a short acoustic set). By the time the Dead returned to Municipal Auditorium on November 15, 1971, they had resoundingly affirmed their interest in Americana by putting out the twin masterpieces Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty (as well as the live “Skull & Roses”), but the band still had a few surprises up their sleeves, including a great young piano player, Keith Godchaux, and a cornucopia of fine new songs. The entire fall ’71 tour showed the thrilling impact that Keith’s arrival had on the Dead’s ever-morphing sound—talk about a quick study!—and Austin, just his sixteenth show with the band, is certainly among the strongest of that era, and a worthy choice for the latest installment in our Road Trips series, presented in its entirety. (For those of you keeping score at home, this is Volume 3, No. 2.)

There’s a freshness and spontaneity to the playing in this show that is a wonder to behold. It sounds like the group is exploring new musical worlds together, and indeed that is precisely what was happening: New songs introduced that summer and fall and played that night in Austin include “Jack Straw,” “One More Saturday Night,” “Mexicali Blues,” “Ramble On Rose,” “El Paso” and “You Win Again”; and several more date back just to the beginning of the year—“Bertha,” “Playing in the Band,” “Deal,” “Loser,” “Me and Bobby McGee.” The addition of Keith’s imaginative piano flourishes brought a new spark to all of those songs and in general inspired the rest of the group.

However, the reason this show is so revered among hard core fans is a pair of remarkable stretches of improvisatory genius—one in the first set, another in the second. On Disc One, you’ll find an amazing sequence of tunes that moves from “Dark Star” (a relative rarity in ’71) to “El Paso” (perfect for a Texas audience, of course!), back into more deep space, and finally landing at “Casey Jones.” And at the end of the show, on Disc Two, the Austin crowd is treated to what is, in my humble opinion, one of the best-ever versions of “Not Fade Away” > “Goin’ Down the Road” > “Not Fade Away,” loaded with beautiful and surprising musical turns and propelled by the can-do confidence of a band reveling in its new-found power. It’s prime Dead, for sure.

Sound quality is crisp and clean, and sonic sultan Jeffrey Norman has once again mastered the whole deal to the HDCD spec. Included, as always, is a booklet with a lively historical essay and cool period pics.

Order Road Trips Vol. 3 No. 2 here.

—Blair Jackson

Track List

Recorded live at Municipal Auditorium Austin, TX (November 15, 1971)
All selections are previously unissued recordings

1. Truckin'
2. Bertha
3. Playing In The Band
4. Deal
5. Jack Straw
6. Loser
7. Beat It On Down The Line
8. Dark Star>
9. El Paso>
10. Dark Star
11. Casey Jones
12. One More Saturday Night

1. Me And My Uncle
2. Ramble On Rose
3. Mexicali Blues
4. Brokedown Palace
5. Me And Bobby McGee
6. Cumberland Blues
7. Sugar Magnolia
8. You Win Again
9. Not Fade Away>
10. Jam>
11. Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad>
12. Not Fade Away
13. Johnny B. Goode


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Joined: Jun 4 2007
something's weird

The sweet jelly filling is missing.

Joined: Jun 4 2007
nice Dark star

Thanks for the 1/2/70 Dark Star. I hadn't heard it before. There's a sweet embryonic Sugar Magnolia Jam in there before switching to the more well known named theme. Sounds like TC is still in the mix, too. Thanks again!

UnbrokenSunflower's picture
Joined: Jul 4 2011

thank you

"...fields of fragile thunder..."

Joined: Feb 10 2008
Bob, You are forgiven

And I mean it. Enough said!!!!!!

grateful_vince's picture
Joined: Jun 8 2010
Thank you!

Thank you so much for these tracks. The 1/2/70 Dark Star is one of the first jams I heard that truly turned me into a Deadhead - I never get tired of this DS. Also thank you for the beautiful 1982 sequence. I'm one of those Heads who loves the early 80's (cant get enough of Brent from 1979-1985) . This Bertha made my day. David you are the best!

"What we do is as American as lynch mobs." - Jerome Garcia

Joined: Jun 4 2007
And sure enough....

4/6/82 release announced today.

Joined: Jun 5 2007
Dark Star

oh, yeah, I call the quiet jam in Dark Star the "graveyard jam" because it reminds me of walking around a graveyard at night.... not in a bad way. Great Star

Joined: Jun 5 2007
Heart flutter

The dialogue mentions the *possibility* perhaps of releasing 1 2 70 and possibly 4 6 82? Bring it on, and Leave it On!

I would highly support each of these releases and 4 6 would be the first show I attended to be released.

As always, thanks for the tunes and for everything you do getting the music out. This is going to be a great year for official releases...

guit30's picture
Joined: May 1 2009
What a great way to start

What a great way to start out the year of magic, 1972, I love this sound, Jerry sounds GRATE, you never can underestimate their creativity.

"Jesus Christ, The Same, Yesterday, Today and Forever"

pkpotter's picture
Joined: Jun 7 2007
The above posts tell myself

The above posts tell myself the story of what is so wonderful about this grate community...reminisces, hope, love, anticipation, tolerance, fellowship, and what makes it all happen...exploration. Beautiful.


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