Another relatively quiet week in the Grateful Dead’s performing history, although there were some great shows performed as the new year got rolling. In addition to a few choice cuts from this week in the Dead’s recorded history, we’ve also got some great new year’s eve moments we didn’t play last month, and one of my favorite studio outtakes, from early 1966.
January 17, 1969, saw the Dead playing in Santa Barbara. Bear was, of course, along for the ride and made his usual recording. Of note on this night was a set-closing That’s It For The One>Cosmic Charlie that featured not only a stunning Other One, but also the first live Grateful Dead version of Cosmic Charlie. What a version, too! After a tentative beginning, not sure when to start the verses, the band jumps into a version that sounds as though they’d been playing it for years. The sound on this one is a little rough, particularly the right-channel drums in the mix, but the quality of the performance far outweighs any sonic anomalies.
A couple of other shows during this week, from 1970 and 1971, were loaded with good music. January 16, 1970 saw the band playing in the great city of Portland, Oregon, and always being an admirer of acoustic-Dead-done-electrically, here’s a great little Uncle John’s Band from that show. And from January 21, 1971 in Davis, California, here’s a great little Cumberland Blues, as well as an early, reelin’and rockin’ Around and Around, both from the 7” _ track tapes running at 7.5 ips.
Also, a few pieces of music we didn’t have a chance to play during the new year’s week column: the long, meaty That’s It For The Other One>Black Peter from 12/31/70 at Winterland (we hope you don’t mind hearing two raging versions of The Other One this week…); the China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider from 12/31/71 at Winterland; and, Loser and Jack Straw from 12/31/77 from Winterland. These are all essential additions to your new year’s listening, which we thought you should hear.
Finally, just because I love the alternate chorus to this version so much and because those of you who haven’t heard it should, here is the Cream Puff War studio demo from early 1966 featured on the Rare Cuts and Oddities 1966 CD.
Check back next week when we’ll look at and listen to some great music from the end of January in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1993, and maybe something cool from 1968. Feel free to get in touch with questions or comments, or if there is any particular show about which you’re curious of the vault source (if any), don’t hesitate to ask. We’ll try to address your curiosity in future entries, date-appropriate, of course.David Lemieux
vault [at] dead.net