Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 1: Big Rock Pow Wow May 1969
Our popular Road Trips series begins its fourth big year with just our second release from the 1960s, and Vol. 4, No. 1 is a certifiably great one: Two complete performances from the Big Rock Pow Wow festival on the Seminole Indian reservation in Hollywood, Florida, May 23 and 24, 1969. If you dig ’69 Dead—and let’s face it, who doesn’t?—then these two sets, spread across three discs, will be right in your wheelhouse. Beautifully recorded by the inimitable Owsley Stanley, aka “Bear,” just three months after the amazing Fillmore West shows that gave us Live Dead (and the fantabulous Fillmore West 1969 box and compilation), and a month after the Midwest shows immortalized on Dick’s Picks 26, the Big Rock Pow Wow set gives us the ragin’ beast that was ’69 Dead at its most feral and wild.
On Disc One we have the full Live Dead sequence of “Dark Star” > “Saint Stephen” > “The Eleven” and “Lovelight,” but each component of this quartet of tunes is loaded with unique moments and fiery interplay. “The Eleven” is particularly ferocious, and the half-hour “Lovelight” will definitely get you shakin’ your groove thang as you bop along to the Mighty Pig & Company.
The next day’s set (and Disc Two of RT 4.1) begins with a smokin’ “Lovelight”; same song, totally different feel and vibe, as the band eases into the set and builds to its first few climaxes, with Pig once again in firm control, making damn sure that nobody has their hands in their pockets. Then it’s on to a fine “Doin’ That Rag” (from their soon to-be-released third album, Aoxomoxoa), a truly stirring version of the relatively rare “He Was a Friend of Mine,” which charges into “China Cat,” followed by another scorching “Eleven,” and capped by a dire and emotional “Death Don’t Have No Mercy.”
Disc Three includes a charged “Morning Dew,” “Alligator,” “St. Stephen” exploding out of “drums” (for the only time during its ’68-’71 incarnation) and more. Nothin’ tame about this mind-blowing stuff!
This release does not contain a bonus disc.
1. Hard To Handle
2. Dark Star
3. St. Stephen
4. The Eleven
5. Turn On Your Lovelight
2. Turn On Your Lovelight
3. Doin' That Rag
4. He Was A Friend Of Mine
5. China Cat Sunflower
6. The Eleven
7. Death Don't Have No Mercy
1. Morning Dew
2. Me and My Uncle
3. Yellow Dog Story
6. St. Stephen
8. We Bid You Goodnight
Show: Hollywood, FL May 23-24 1969
Available while quantities last.