This week we have some terrific jams from 1971 and 1972, some great examples of what made these two years so highly regarded amongst Dead Heads.
Our first segment today is one of my favourite pieces of music from 1971, and is a good piece to get people hooked on what makes the Grateful Dead so darn interesting. From 11/15/71 in Austin, Texas, we have the show-closing sequence of Not Fade Away>Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad>Not Fade Away. Straightforward enough, right? Well, check out this jam between Not Fade and GDTRFB. It is relentlessly powerful, and demonstrates how the Dead could take the simplest song structure, Not Fade Away, and create a completely unique jam that explores some amazing spaces, before dropping perfectly into GDTRFB. Stunning stuff. Really one of the best jams of its kind.
Also from that same show on 11/15/71, we have the big jam of the night, Dark Star>El Paso>Dark Star>Casey Jones. This was a rare show in which the major jam was in the first set. Aside from the NFA>GDTRFB>NFA played above (which was, of course, a major jam in its own right), the second set this night did not feature a typical big jam. But, the first's more than made up for that.
While we're in mid-November, let's stop into a day before the above-heard tracks, to 11/14/71 in Fort Worth, Texas. As 11/15 got the Dark Star, you could be pretty sure what they played on 11/14, and if you guessed an Other One jam, you'd be correct. From 11/14/71, we are very pleased to play this outstanding Truckin'>The Other One>Me and My Uncle>Other One. If you enjoyed this one, be sure to check in next week for one of the finest Truckin'>Other Ones from 1972, a year with plenty of great Other Ones.
For our penultimate selection this week, we have a simply stunning Playing In The Band from 11/15/72 in Oklahoma City. Virtually every single Playing In The Band from the second half of 1972 was extraordinary, and this one was no exception. There was a great rendition played a few nights later on 11/18/72, which we played here a couple of months ago, but you really can't go wrong with a late 1972 Playing In The Band.
Lastly this week, we have the set-closing sequence from 11/17/73 at UCLA, featuring Eyes of the World>Sugar Magnolia. Of course, earlier in this set was one of the finest musical sandwiches ever played, and it's amazing to think they still had enough energy and inspiration to end the proceedings with this jam.
Not a bad week, if I do say so myself: a Dark Star, Eyes, Playing, Other One and a killer jam from 1971.
Be sure to check in next week for more great music. As always, we welcome and encourage your input, suggestions, questions and comments. Please send them to the email address below.