"When it came to 1973 Dead, I was always drawn to the big second-set jams, 'Dark Star' or 'The Other One,' and all of the places those songs could go that year. One week during my initial stint with the Dead, Dick was spending a lot of time listening to 9/8/73, and he could not stop raving about it. He was very intent on pointing out that despite the absence of the 'Big Two' from 1973, every song, every solo, every moment was out-of-this-world excellent. He played me the first set, giving a play-by-play of each song and what made it special. In those listening sessions, Dick taught me a lot about how to listen critically and objectively. Of course, the subjective self always creeps in, those moments when you whoop and holler at how good a performance is, but that objective listening is critical. After many days of listening, Dick moved to other eras, as was his wont, since he carried the responsibility of selecting the best Dead shows from all eras to represent the Dead’s recorded legacy. But he made it clear and inarguable that he felt 9/8/73 was one of the best-played shows from one of the Dead’s best years." - David Lemieux
Despite the gloriously blustering artwork above, the forecast for DAVE'S PICKS VOLUME 38: NASSAU VETERANS MEMORIAL COLISEUM, UNIONDALE, NY, 9/8/73 is blazing hot! With a double endorsement from archivists Dick Latvala and David Lemieux, you know it's a MUST HAVE. This one's got inspired playing from start to finish, with soon-to-be-minted Wake Of The Flood classics, a first-ever "Weather Report Suite," Keith polishing his chops on "Let Me Sing Your Blues Away," Jerry tapping into era-defining sound with his Wolf guitar, and we'd be remiss if we didn't mention Bob's exquisite playing too.
Among our 2021 Dave's Picks subscribers? The subscribers-only bonus disc featuring nearly an hour and a half from 9/7/73 is coming your way too. (P.S. there's 35 minutes of 9/7/73 on Dave's Picks Vol. 38, to boot)
Limited to 25,000 numbered copies, DAVE'S PICKS VOLUME 38: NASSAU VETERANS MEMORIAL COLISEUM, UNIONDALE, NY, 9/8/73 was recorded by Kidd Candelaro and has been mastered to HDCD specs by Jeffrey Norman.
Didn't subscribe? You'll want to jump on this one now as it is guaranteed to sell out.
*2 per order. Very limited quantity available.
Estimated, full stop, then Eyes...5/7/77
The Other One into Ship of Fools
Shipped on May 5 and delivered at my Italian address on 17 May. Pretty fast considering what's happening. 73/74 is my fav Dead era hands down, so I'll give the music a spin.I just wander : how many times did they perform "Sing my Blues Away"?
performed...six times, maybe?
Correct.. six times. ..and then done. I wonder who bailed?
09/08/73- Nassau Coliseum - Uniondale, NY
09/11/73- William and Mary College - Williamsburg, VA
09/12/73- William and Mary College - Williamsburg, VA
09/15/73- Providence Civic Center - Providence, RI
09/17/73- Onondaga War Memorial Auditorium - Syracuse, NY
09/21/73- The Spectrum - Philadelphia, PA
Today's the day. Tuscaloosa 5/17/77. Not just one of the best of the best Spring '77 shows, but also the legendary quacking duck Scarlet Fire.
What is "quacking duck" KF?
It's a toss up between 5/8, 5/17, and 5/25 for me.
He had a tusk-a-loose-a
Dreading...listen to 5 17 77 scarlet fire
A big-ass mallard gets loose on the town
Are you sure it wasn't for the nitrous? I mean.. look at those trunks... what do you think they are for?
Thought you'd never ask.
Well to some it's a folk story, but those closest to him will tell you - Jerry was known to give interviews to just about everyone, and here we catch up with him amidst some exchange with a fledgling writer I'm sure.
But what IS that?? Ah yes, "Quacking Duck Scarlet Fire" Tuscaloosa '77.
That's right - the immortal Scarlet / Fire that was so good even Jerry regretted it. Recalling that performance years later, Jerry reflects....
"I was chilling out, taking it easy up there after the transition into Fire on the Mountain.....a nice buzz started creeping in after a fan passed a joint our way...that happened all the time in those days, where they'd spark one up and hand it off to one of our security people; and then Ramrod or Bear or one of those guys would get a hold of it for "testing" - their words, not mine - and it eventually made its way to us."
"After the intense Scarlet performance, I thought it would be cool to ease back and play to this great buzz I was feeling, which was really not an unusual thing for us...and I use a Mu-tron on tunes like Fire on the Mountain and Estimated Prophet, you know, to get a little bit more of a snarky sound than a traditional wah wah pedal. I don't know what was special about THAT night....but in the light haze of a cool buzz, I coaxed this sound out of the Mu-Tron that sounded familiar....like a duck call of some sort."
"I didn't think much of it at the time....but as I later found out, the tape trading circles had blossomed into full swing that year, and it simply came to be known as the 'Quacking Duck Scarlet Fire'. After that show in Tuscaloosa, people would start shouting out for it every time we grooved our way into Fire on the Mountain...and it was really just...I mean what else can I do? Bring a monkey onstage?"
[Lights a cigarette] "It came to be expected, like Townshend and the guitar smashing; and people got upset when I wouldn't do it. I know how he felt - 'Smash your guitar Pete, smash your guitar!' Well, what you have to realize man, is that it's the spontaneity of a moment like that which makes it special; and you can't reproduce spontaneity - it's a paradox, you dig? 'Play Quacking Duck Jerry, play Quacking Duck!' I'm sorry, I can't do it. It got to be a weight around our necks, but we moved on....and eventually the fans moved on."
"Tuscaloosa was the only time I ever did it, but it does make you wonder....you hear about this great dichotomy: does art reflect life or does life reflect art? As a musician you always want those lines to be blurred.....[laughing] but I did see a line of fuzzy little yellow ducks marching across that stage! It was weird man, really really weird...beyond the pale..."
That's a funny mock interview. I got a kick out of that. I listened to it before I read your reply and I remember hearing that FOTM before. Well named. I don't think I will be able to hear that one again without thinking of ducks. But aren't the little yellow ones chickens?
41 years ago today Mt St Helen blew it's top....talk about "Fire On The Mountain"...
I once shot an Elephant in my pajamas...
How he got in my pajamas I'll never know....
15 to go...
he forgot to pack his trunk
Fun story about the duck "calls". Never even noticed or heard about it. To me what is famous about the show is Bobby's intro to Jack-a-Roe. Very inventive and the kind of stuff Jerry was probably watching and listening closely to and would weave into the fills. Not sure I even caught the significance of it until Phil brought it up in the "Phil Zone" CD.
Latvala! And cheers!
EDIT: Listening to Fox Theatre Atlanta 5-18-77 now and blown away by The Other One > Brokedown. Source is a tape recorded in 1994 from the GD Hour radio show. David Gans must have been using DAT direct from the vault source as the sound is amazing for a TDK DS-X100 tape. (recorded in Dolby C, but I don't often use the Dolby on replay as it dulls the treble too much) Unfortunately David Gans was not allowed to offer whole shows back then as I recall.
Got my replacement Daves 38, big thanks to MaryE and Doc Rhino for taking care of me.....Have listened to it all three times and this is an AWESOME release. One of the best Birdsongs ever, can’t stop playing it. Great first version of WRS and Let it Grow. The bonus disc is fantastic, been listening to that eyes almost every night for the last week, killer version.
I agree with the calls foe a fall 72 box or the Ark.....please Dave😊
On one hand, most of the music on here (and Bonus) is awesome! Even the complicated new stuff is hot...
On the other hand, I can’t believe Angry Jack Straw, DCVMT, and I are the only ones having issues or hearing???, not even sure what the hell it is?.....
I’ve purposely held off on posting about this until I spent significant time on this first...
I’ve tried the actual discs in different players, server playing on several different systems,... same weird results?
Worst part is not being able to figure out what it is?...
The overall levels are not too hot, peaks set at -1 dB which is how I like it; no need to chance over saturation by going 0 db (that’s what a volume control is for...). So don’t think the mastering level is too hot...
My guess is something in processing/mastering? Perhaps a synchronicity issue between processors?
Perhaps some hard compression/limiting. I’ve noticed the phenomena/artifact on several instruments and vocals, usually only noticeable when that source is loud and/or with sharp attack...but it’s never like everything is distorting all at the same time which would lean towards some kind of overall level problem. It’s only on individual sources at mostly individual instances, though there times when more then one source distorts...
Don’t think it’s original tape over saturation because it would be highly unlikely that that would of gone unnoticed by recordist and wouldn’t have been so prevalent on so many different sources. Meaning you might have one guy who’s level is too hot because he turned up extra and the recordist didn’t catch it and adjust right away, but I’ve never heard a tape with basically, potentially, all the sources distorting like this.
It’s often very subtle, other times it’s not. Haven’t noticed it as much on the bonus disc. Seems to start a little as LIG picks up volume, only the louder parts of Stella, but from then on its more prevalent.
38 itself is pretty much riddled with these distortion artifacts.
Complicating things are other variables like Bob using some kind of distortion peddle, which I’ve never heard from him this early on? Kieth occasionally has some noisy stuff kick in/out? Cymbals often trigger it, but everything, including occasionally vocals too.
Agree with All that you can really hear and appreciate Bobs playing on all of this, in fact I liked the overall mix. I can see why this show was regarded by DL so highly, which makes this ?? all the more annoying.
Oh, and I don’t think it’s my gear as all my previous stuff still sounds the same, so it’s something going on with the production of this release.
Don’t know any of the specifics about plangent, but wouldn’t think that processing would alter volume peaks like this?
My guess is that perhaps there were signal to noise issues on the original tape, or inconsistent levels between instruments (one significantly loader than another), where some compression was used to bring the overall level up, which then caused certain, individual sources to occasionally, noticeably, distort due to hard compression, but that would usually be more quick, arrack only phenomena.
And you wouldn’t think that pros of this caliber, with the gear they have access to would do such a thing?
I’m just desperate to figure out what the hell is going on since it’s driving me nuts and ruining what would otherwise be a long term, go to release, maddening! It’s no secret I’m a fall/winter 73 nut, so this of all releases being almost unlistenable is Murphy on 11!
I’ve listened to this at least a dozen times already trying to just enjoy the awesome shows/music, but this phenomena keeps rearing its ugly head, uggggggg!
It really freaked me out the first virgin spin as I was really psyched for some killer fall 73 so prepped accordingly, including firing up the big boy system extra loud and putting on the ole proverbial seat belt. So when it started to become unmistakable it really freaked me out! Now it’s just an unfortunate, un-ignorable annoyance.
But mostly, this is deeply disappointing that such a great show, from one of the best eras is basically unlistenable.
This is so frustrating too, as I’m sure many of you are scratching your heads wondering what the hell im taliking about lol. But at least 2 others; Angry Jack, and DCVT have experienced the same thing, so it’s not just me.
The question then; is this a product defect, if so, is it comprehensive or just a small sample, and thus should we be asking for replacements?
I’m guessing unfortunately/fortunately it’s a small sample problem or this board would be filled with displeasure!
Possibly many folks listening on “normal” modest gear, at lower volumes, with normal ears might not notice much of it, but not everyone! I have to believe if this was a comprehensive problem more folks would be noticing it?
So fortunately it’s probably not a problem for most, and unfortunately, because it’s sometimes hard for just a few to get acknowledgment of such a unusual idiosyncrasy.
Ugggggg, my brain hurts from this release pulling me in two such diverse directions!
Luckily I have several hundred other shows to listen too ; )
Would love to hear if anyone else out there is experiencing this same problem?
Wait, we are supposed to listen to these releases??
I just got my copy last week and have been able to listen to it once. I think it is a great release. Sound quality is not as good as say Dave's #21 or #5, but still good. I have a good old wired system in my basement that I am sure it is nothing like yours, but it is still good. Anyway, I will have to put this one again and try to see if I hear what you are talking about. Typically if there are issues with the recording I usually pick it up on the first listen. I didn't on this one. Is it perfect, no, but like I said I still think it sounds really good and the performance is stellar.
I recently got a new amp in my system and am hearing details like never before. You have covered all the sonic equipment possibilities thoroughly so I have to go with operator error on the original recording that could not be Normanized away. Maybe the sound quality is why this took so long to get released. It doesn't seem as bad on the 9/7 material. Worth putting up with for sure but it kind of spoils playing it really loud. The old church of the IDM. (It Don't Matter) From ancient Denver AM radio with Charley & Barney in the morning. They had their own religion: "If you don't mind, then it don't matter". The 9/7 second set is worth it with that amazing Eyes jam.
In some places it’s noticeable enough most people should be able to tell with at least a moderate volume, and being top notch GOGD I’m sure many have cranked it lol. It’s prevalent enough I’m guessing you’d have noticed it even with just a casual listen. I only hope I don’t ruin this for others who haven’t heard it, but go looking for it and then can’t not hear it LOL.
But I’m thinking it has to be a small sample problem, though I find it hard to believe only 3 of us have had it?
EDIT: I hear ya 1st SHOW, and truth be told there are many shows I wouldn’t care so much, but these shows, though I don’t agree with best of year hyperbole, are so up my wheelhouse, and otherwise sound so good, that it just bums me out. But hey, just like most dead “worts and all” ; )
PS: love that if you don’t mind quote!
DBL EDIT: wonder if they used any compression/limiting on the original tape feed? If said device was not set well it might explain...it’s puzzling that they’d use such a tape? Perhaps they felt it the benefit out weighed the negative and figured most folks wouldn’t notice? Interesting what ever the case.
The Dead played at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, along with Big Brother and the Jefferson Airplane. The Dead played a great version of Alligator , hopefully they have a tape of this in the vault and will release it as part of a 1968 box set. My brothers friend went to this show.
#38 sound is wobbly here and there
I just go with it....but it is uneven, fo' sho'
Dave L walks into a bar, and has a seat at the front. “I’ll have a beer, bartender”
The bartender replies “What!? No 2021 Box Set!?”
Put down the fishing pole, DL, and release that Box!!
Oroborous, I found exactly what you're describing to be what I hear on the 1973 PNW shows. The 1974 shows are fine; it's just 1973. Let me preface this by saying this is by no means any reason not to get the box set - it's an awesome triple dose of '73, Dark Star a la mode, plus the three 1974 shows that sound better than any 1974 show I've heard.
So what I hear on those 73 shows sounds like what you're describing. Unevenness. Artifacts. Loud symbols. Dropouts. Hiss. Certainly not throughout the entire three shows, but enough to get on the radar of someone who listens to shows with headphones most of the time. And the odd thing is that I don't think anyone else took this from the 1973 revordings on PNW.
I didn't catch this on Dave's Picks 38, except for the warm-up tune Bertha, which I'm good with, because it's the first song. I listen to Dave's Picks 38 about half a dozen times and then put it down for the last week. I'm putting it back on to see if I hear anything differently. Where are some places that you hear it in the show? Also I'm curious if Playing in the Band and Birdsong are doing it?
Edit - just listened to a few tracks from Pacific Northwest 73 in the car on the way to get some pizza and it's not nearly as noticeable on regular speakers. DaP 38 sounds better still on the couple of tracks I had time to compare a little bit of. Not that I want to hear anything bad on Dave's Picks 38, but I would be willing to take a listen to whatever tracks you're hearing things on.
I was surprised this is the first real discussion about it. I got my copies a week ago, and have made it through the Bonus and Bird Song and Playing as I ripped and converted and had 9/7 first. Also, made it up to Weather Report Suite on the release. The sound struck me as incredibly washy, and while it's great to hear Keith and Bob much more than usual (some releases you wonder if Keith played on much at all from his presence on the tapes, but these are great for Keith fans!), so I just balance that with the cymbal heavy mix. Maybe they were trying new mic placements for the drums. Not Kidd Candelario's best tape by any stretch. He's usually top notch, though. Jai Alai Fronton last year is a phenomenal Kidd tape. That may be my favorite Wall of Sound release for sound quality.
Also, I'm surprised, or have missed, no reference to the Bonus Eyes ending not with its Slipknotish jam, but ending with a Here Comes Sunshine jam. A fantastic Eyes! Phil with a different start to his solo, and a different feel, maybe reacting to the Wolf darting around? So far enjoying the release and bearing with the sound.
Next up on the E72 anniversary list. What at a great show. And it's Dark Star => Morning Dew night.
I'm going to go out on limb here and say it's the first time they did this combo. This is one of my favorite shows from the tour. Jerry's guitar is louder than usual (and louder is always better). Crunchy guitars are tight!
Sugar Magnolia really hits a groove, and Billy has this absolutely ridiculous drum fill at the....drum fill part; I've never heard him play it quite like this - it's like gets a running headstart. Great version despite a classic Bobby lyric miss early on (proof of the weed).
Jack Straw is great. This is maybe the second one where Jerry sings the Watchman and Tulsa verses, and Bobby forgets it's not his line anymore - so they both jump the Watchman - not a fair fight at all.
And some great banter after Black-Throated Wind. Jerry always makes me laugh up there. He was the king of one-liners:
Girl Fan (to Jerry): Lovelight!
Jerry: Turn on YOUR Lovelight baby.
Girl Fan: You Turn on yours first.
Jerry: Oh no, after you...
Great joke.. made my day.
I wholeheartedly agree.
Yes.. the sound on 38 is a bit wobbly in the beginning. But isn't that Grateful Dead standard time? It sounds ok by the time they get warmed up.
I don't hear it, which isn't saying much. I rip everything to my hard drive as WAV files and run them through an equalizer with a bunch of sound options. "Concert Hall" is perfect for these old Dead tapes, plus I push up the four EQ sliders all the way to the right about halfway.
That being said Oborious, this sentence got my attention. You say:
I’ve noticed the phenomena/artifact on several instruments and vocals, usually only noticeable when that source is loud and/or with sharp attack...but it’s never like everything is distorting all at the same time.
This phenomena sounds like something Norman may have done in production. It sounds like a feature I have that prevents clipping at high volume. I am a fan of good sound but no engineer so I will copy the internet definition, which you probably know:
Clipping is a form of waveform distortion that occurs when an amplifier is overdriven and attempts to deliver an output voltage or current beyond its maximum capability. Driving an amplifier into clipping may cause it to output power in excess of its power rating.
When I play stuff too loud this feature cuts back on only the parts that are causing the clipping. It is obvious to the ear when this feature on my system gets activated. It sounds exactly like your description where you say 'several instruments and vocals, usually only noticeable when that source is loud and/or with sharp attack...but it’s never like everything is distorting all at the same time.'
My theory is that the master tapes Jeff Norman worked with had some hot spots so he used a feature like what I have on my equalizer to "even out" all the levels as he input the music from the master tapes on to a digital storage.
I am not sure why I don't hear it but I guess my EQ is dressing it up. If I listen to the CD with no EQ it sounds like the treble needs to get turned up all the way. Even then it doesn't sound even close to the quality of the EQ and Concert Hall enhancement. It makes me curious if a lot of people out there listen straight off the CD with nothing 'extra' to improve the sound.
On a different note I laughed heartily at the quacking duck interview. Well done whoever made that up. It sounds like something Jerry would say.
And last, I listened to the Dark Star / Morning Dew that KF mentioned on 5/18/72. I don't know how I overlooked that one but it is much better than I remembered. Somehow the Europe 72 Dark Stars never stuck with me. Probably because I rarely play those shows. Only because I want them to be special every time.
The chances are virtually nil that some defect would have only affected such a small number of discs. Furthermore, it only occurs on the 9/8 show, not 9/7. I am very surprised as well that others are not hearing it.
I've been in the record business all my life and agree with AJS. There is almost no way an audio anomaly like what was described could occur on some discs and not others for Dave's Picks. These discs are pressed ùfrom the same master. There would need to be two different master mixes for a subset of CDs to contain an anomaly. I would say the player could be a factor, but Obo ruled that out already. I assume like Jim said we are not counting Bertha because it is uneven for obvious reasons. I hear a decent sounding 1973 show here. The master tapes sound better better than Pacific Northwest but not as good as DaP 5. I don't hear many audio issues at all. I would like to hear what Obo and AJS are disliking. I whipped out the Bose headphones and all I hear is Jerry "shredding". What a night he is having. Weir too. Early on somebody said Keith was gone and that is true. Every once in a while I will hear a section that sounds like a tunnel for 5 or 10 seconds, but they are few and far between. Or Weir will just stop playing like in China Cat Sunflower but he needs to rest sometimes. He played China Cat, HCS, EOTW and Bird Song all in one night ;-)
I ultimately reached the conclusion that part of the issue is how people are listening. I do not listen on headphones, computer speakers or use any type of equalizer. So far I have not listened in the car. I did try using Dolby on one of our stereo systems, which reduced the noise to a certain extent, but not entirely.
Upon several listens to these cd's, I concur, this release has a few abnormalities that don't take away from the overall enjoyment of listening to these discs, but they are noticeable and makes me wonder if it was the master tape or was it a mailed in mastering job?
This has also made me wonder, will the rest of Dave's sound like this? I love me some Jerry right up front, why I'm here, but there should be a better balance of all the players in a band, not just one or two.
Disappointing? yes, deal breaker? not sure yet, will have to wait and see, but if there is any more killer shows that they do want to release, lets hope that the folks who do the mastering of these ancient tapes does a little bit better job than this release.
On a separate note, I was privileged to receive a code for the Dead and Company presale going on today at 10 am. Funny, I did not receive a code last tour, not privileged I guess. The price for these tickets is outrageous. A vip guaranteed reserve seat is over 250.00$. That's for one ticket.
It was fun getting excited like the old days, yahoo, the dead to tour, get your head together, get some tickets, get excited, get ready.....then I realized that those days are over for me. I can go see Billy strings, get a great hotel room, then go to the hot air balloon festival and get to ride on a hot air balloon, all for the same amount of cash. Kinda seems like a no brainer here, twice as much fun for the same dollars.
I realize that Bobby, Mickey and Billy are getting up there and there won't be too many more tours for them, and I would love to revisit these guys one more time.
The last time I tried to get tickets and got them, the show was cancelled due to Mayer's appendicitis. I don't want to jinx it so I will pass on this tour, besides, it's just too soon for me to be out there with all those vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Too all those who decide to go, enjoy.
I mentioned that a while ago, after others had already detected it with headphones.
I played the CDs twice on my stereo system are did not detect any sound issues.
Onkyo 6-disc CD changer
Cambridge Audio receiver
Bose 301 speakers
I then imported to computer and made ALAC files for my music players and AAC files to play from a USB flash drive in the car.
When I played the imported AIFF files on the computer there was extensive distortion through the small external computer speakers.
The colored bars that show the sound levels (not volume) on the computer audio software were almost hitting red. Clearly too high, but don’t know if that is on the original recording or the result of mastering.
Recall that on 8-25-72 Norman boosted Phil’s bass beyond what was on the original recording.
Maybe he boosted the levels for this release.
I played the ALAC files with an iBasso DX120 music player connected to my Cambridge Audio receiver. Did not detect any distortion or other sound flaws.
Been playing the AAC files in the car this week and have not heard any issues so far (set 2 started just before getting to work today).
So, it definitely depends on your system whether you hear the issues.
Crappy computer speakers sound terrible.
Apparently a high end system like Oro’s reveals the sound problems too.
My midrange system sounds good as does the audio system in my car.
There is really only one solution. It's a bit complicated.. so hang in there with me. This is what we all need to do.
1) Get out the credit card with the greatest limit.
2) Google, select and purchase the new Wall of Sound, Home Edition TM (C) R with this credit card. As soon as the purchase is made destroy this card.
3) DO NOT TELL your partner/significant other.
4) Go to the roughest bar in town and tell some raunchy mom jokes to the bouncer. Keep doing this until he pummels you.
5) Come home and tell your partner / significant other you were mugged and robbed. Tell them all they took was your credit card.
6) If your partner is suspicious file a police report.
7) Install the WOS Home Edition in your listening room while your partner is not home. If complaints arise later, amnesia from the head trauma is your response. "honey, I am having trouble remembering anything from that week.
8) Replay Dave's Picks 38 at high volume.
Your sound issues are now resolved. Happy listening.
So, I listened to the release in the car this morning. Now I am more baffled by the fact that most folks can't seem to hear the distortion. The best way I can describe it, as I stated in my initial post, is that the cymbals are way to high in the mix. It's quite a nuisance. I also recant my earlier comment on the problem not being on the 9/7 release. It is very evident on HCS. Hell, even our dog can hear it.
It's a shame because it detracts from an otherwise fine release.
went to bed early
had my phone on archive 5/13/83 set two
she comes up later
I am asleep
Space is full steam
She hisses: "THIS IS THE WORST MUSIC I HAVE EVER HEARD!! THIS IS THE WORST MUSIC I HAVE EVER HEARD!!"
uh, ok. I'll just turn it off....
Jim, you had me at "There is really only one solution". I sensed some chortle-worthy shenanigans on the way.
Awesome Version Alert -
My favorite part of Casey Jones is the finale where they repeat the chorus a bunch of times and everyone joins in and plays "denser" I guess you would say. The combo of Pigpen's Hammond, Jerry and Bobby laying it on thick, and Keith's piano gradually building in tempo - it's just fantastic on this night.
I think Pigpen was really wielding that Hammond with some exceptional skill at that point. Never flashy, but he could play fast at need, was always on time, and always picked his spots with musical know-how. That was quite a period when they had both Keith and Pigpen playing together.
Edit - whoops - would help if I provided a date - 5/18/72. I'm still rummaging through that show.
That is pretty much what I currently have.
About 6-7 years ago, I was looking for a new car. Well, new to me. Buying a new car is one of the biggest rip-offs known to mankind. You are much better off purchasing a slightly used one for a 1/3 or more less. Anyway, I went about my search by bringing a copy of DaP1 to the dealerships. The whole point was that since I spend so much time in the car, I wanted a nice sound system. I would simply turn on the car and listen to the music. After a minute or so, the salesperson would ask if I was ready for a drive. "Not needed" I would reply to a perplexed look. "Thank you for your time." Most wanted thousands more for an upgraded sound system. I wound up going with Acura because the sound was excellent and the price was significantly lower.
I hear some loud hi-hat in places. Like the beginning of Jack Straw. If you get a chance can tell me if you hear the same kind of loud symbols on the "Big Railroad Blues" on PNW boxed set June 24, 1973 Portland? I sure do.
Please read the caveat emptor for Dick's Pick's.
We now return to our regularly scheduled program.
Jeffrey Norman walks into a bar, and orders a beer. The bartender takes one look at him, and says, “Ok!! But I don’t want to hear any problems from you!!”
Wow, lol, this is all over the place.
I’ve tried twice to go through with the intention of noting precise instances with pad and paper, but didn’t because I didn’t want to waste a whole day on this but it obviously needs to be done lol. The situation is the boss!
It’s a dirty job but somebody needs to do it, so guess that’s what I’m doing today lol.
First, a few reply’s in an attempt to clear some things up or perhaps get more of us on the same page?
- FIRST THE SOUND: there is nothing wrong with the “sound” of this, it’s some kind of production anomaly that hurts the “sound”
- THE LEVELS TOO HIGH: I don’t believe this is the problems since the peak level is at -1db, which is perfect. You’ll notice on discs that are over mastered set at 0db with hard compression to make them LOUDER. IMHO this style of mastering is obnoxious and sucks! There has been much discussion on this the last ten years or so about this elsewhere if your interested. I stopped buying “remastered” stuff after getting some Floyd and Stones Some Girls since they sound like shit. All their doing is compressing the hell out of the mix to make it louder, but that ruins the dynamic range, which is one of the most important elements of good music I.e., see the GD! Luckily, the GOGD folks don’t do this!
- BAD COMPRESSION: sometimes if the recording levels were too low there can be a bad signal to noise ratio. You’ve all probably heard this with a beloved tape that you have to turn up extra loud to hear, which then makes tape noise and hiss super noticeable. BITD sometimes folks would use a compressor. This cuts off some of the level peaks but boosts some of the quieter sounds, hopefully making the ratio of noise to sound more tolerable. But there are limits to how much you can use this method without causing hard compression or limiting which can cause the processor to distort.
This is referring to all analog too, digital is even more unforgiving about clipping etc. I wouldn’t think they’d use this methodology on a distributed piece of professional work, but it could be possible? If they wanted this show released bad enough and the tape was noisy...? And/or If they felt that the vast majority of people would never notice it, who knows?
- TYPICAL 73: agree, besides these issues, and perhaps some differences in the mix I.e., Bob is really nicely present, this sounds very 73...
- THE MIX: this is not the mix. Whatever your feelings are on the mix, that isn’t the problem
- THE USUAL: yes there are the “usual” “dropouts”, “unevenness”, etc, but none of these or the usual stuff people comment on, are the problem, this is different. In all my years I’ve never experienced this!
- WASHY: not sure what that means, but I doubt that’s it either. Washy sounds like more of the “normal” idiosyncrasies found on 50 year old non professionally recorded tape.
- WOBBLY: : same with this, not sure exactly what is meant as I’ve never heard it used in professional audio terms before lol, but I’m guessing it’s same as above in that it’s a “normal” item that occasionally is noticeable? If it’s meant in regards to variable tape speed issues, that is not the problem we’re referring to here.
-“IN THE BEGINNING”: this problem has nothing to do with the often occurrence of the mix taking awhile to be dialed in by the mixer etc.
DARK-STAR: though there is definitely a clipping factor here, I can assure you it’s not due to amplifier clipping. My MC 601 mono blocks have circuitry to prevent clipping, plus, I don’t push them that loud. That’s the whole point of having 600 watt amps, headroom! It’s all about phat tone, not volume! I don’t like super loud anymore, so I find around 90 db peaks or so at the listening position of about 7-8’ is plenty loud. At that volume, the amp meters usually are registering 60 watt peaks, so no where near clipping.
I’m curious what you mean about your equalizer “evening” out the sound besides the eq? I’m assuming you have some kind of limiter in the unit? I’m curious what unit your using? EQ itself has nothing to do with this problem.
A little info on EQ though: it is usually used for 1 of 2 reasons; professionally, it is used as little as possible to tune a room, like a studio or dedicated listening room using sophisticated analyzers and testing equipment.
The second general use is for preference; the way many of you use it to suit your personal taste influenced by the gear, and speakers/headphones your using. It is also used similarly to mix individual sources for live and recorded music. Though live EQ is also used for room issues, it is more often used to “color” sound to preference, not to make things accurate. Whole nother thing there that the reader can look up about accurate vs “good” sound...
But research increasingly shows that phase/timing issues are the biggest negative factor on sound and unfortunately EQ can cause unwanted phase issues. If you ever wondered why Mickeys studio stuff is the gold standard it’s because he doesn’t use EQ but instead painstakingly uses appropriate mics and mic placement. If you must use EQ, you should try to cut prominent frequency’s instead of boosting others. Like turn down the bass versus turning up the treble. You should never boost if possible. The little op amps in the knobs were not intended to be used as amplifiers, but that’s what your doing when you boost! Sorry, I don’t explain this stuff vert well. So if your having to boost all those upper frequencies, no offense, but you might have bad sounding speakers and/or significant hearing loss, something more common in us older folks than most might be aware of. Like you could have hearing loss and not even realize it unless you get tested! Of course all that really matters is if your happy with your rig, no matter how much or how little it costs etc, the only thing that matters is if your happy with it!
- SMALL BATCHES: I disagree that it’s not possible for damaged small batches. Yes their using the same master, that’s why it’s called a master, but that doesn’t mean that batches of blank/raw discs couldn’t be flawed or that somehow a setting got changed during the master transferring. I don’t think it’s the former but could be the latter?
It could be something as esoteric as there were weird power issues on the grid at the plant during part of the run? Again, I don’t think that’d be the case as any real professional facility would have isolated, professionally treated power, but it’s an example of the many weird things that can happen with electronics and electricity that most folks have no idea about.
HOW PEOPLE ARE LISTENING: what your listening on may well be a factor if your not hearing it, but I doubt this is caused by what your listening on. This is definitely a production issue, either on the original tape, or during the subsequent production.
I’m still wondering if they ever used a limiter and/or compressor on the original recording? It would make sense to have one since Kidd et el can’t be sitting there the whole time riding the mix like that. These guys had other responsibilities, so to ensure that something/someone doesn’t occasionally clip the recording, using a soft limit could smooth out those occasional peaks. But there are limits to this (no pun intended), if someone turns up significantly louder, it’ll still clip and can cause audible distortion by overdriving the limiter/compressor etc.
This to me would explain the phenomena. If your sharing a unit via a aux mix on a mixing console, that means everything, all sources potentially get bussed through that unit. If the unit isn’t set just right, any time anything engages the unit, there could be audible artifacts caused by this. That’s why I think this may be it, since it’s not effecting only one source, and it’s not everything all the time. It’s effecting most sources but not all the time...
LOL, being such an audio nut, not knowing what’s going on is more annoying to me than the actual problem, though I think it’s bad enough that I’ll need to look into replacements. It is definitely very interesting, at least to this geek!
Anyway, I’ll go through song by song and document as much as I can and report back.
Oro - That is quite a great dissertation on sound production! You know your stuff!
I’ve never had the ear of a Brian Wilson/George Martin, and I know Dick’s & Dave’s come with the odd hiccup and blemish, but at the end of the day, it’s The Grateful Dead.
No doubt Mike, but I think some of us were concerned it was a production issue versus usual GOGD zits and all..
After furthur review, I think this is just a perfect storm of normal, smaller issues that combined can be very noticeable and thus annoying.
I think perhaps this was a case of a great show, but not the best source? Perhaps the ravages of time were more than they considered, but bye the ticket...once committed, they had to see it through?
Examples you say? Since I spent all day...
$ = quick and dirty references if you don’t want the full report lol ; )
BERTHA starts with usual opening idiosyncrasies that are not part of our focus except in how these “usual” suspects interact and combine with our target issues. Listen though to the snare, and eventually the Hi Hat (that shows up more later). Part of the problem is the snare wires resonating and bleeding through other mics. Then you throw in Bob who’s really loud. It seems his speakers must be set up in front of Billy somewhat as Bobs guitar seems to exasperate the snare problem...
You can really hear this in the quiet just after the song when Bobs banging some chords, listen to the snare wire rattle etc! It gets better but I think it’s a reoccurring ingredient of this aural stew. Bobs level and distortion (both intended and otherwise) are another stew ingredient.
Listen to both guitars and keys during the instrumental section. Think this is more normal type distortion but again, adds sometimes to the stew...
ME & MY UNCLE: more of the same early in especially...I found it useful to use my balance control throughout and it’s often the right channel where the problems mostly live.
By SUGAREE it sounds like maybe some kind of processing added for the snare issue? Early on not too bad, occasionally usual type moments of old R& R tape and/or guitar distortion, but around 6:18 you can hear some noise on the snare roll etc, by 6:23 through 6:33 you can get a good taste of the overall phenomena. But generally the song wasn’t bad.
Status quo fir next couple, LL RAIN I seemed to notice the Hi Hat more prevalent and adding to and getting snare bleed etc. Made me think there’s something up with one of the Drum overhead mics? If so, bleed from everything! would exasperate an issue there? Perhaps another stew ingredient...Bob has some noticeable distortion, perhaps “normal” around 3:45 or so and 4:40+. It overall kind of kicks in on the end chorus’, but not too bad overall.
JACK STRAW not so bad, a little somethin round 3:40 with snare/hat/cymbals?
Also, I think this show suffers overall from the goofy custom condenser vocal mics that add to our stew. Listen to the end of Row J between the 8:30 and 9:00 mark...
Let It Grow is overall not too bad. Get usual Phil spikes occasionally on peaks, and my notes suggest that I’m convinced much of the “problem” here and throughout is Bobs too loud? Not sure if too loud is correct, perhaps he’s playing really loud (it was a big hall with loud NY crowd for that period?) and the recordings fine, your just hearing his rig distort? But though I really dig his sound and prevalence in the mix, cause he’s killing it, perhaps he’s occasionally a tad loud relative to other sources? (Good example in upcoming tape splice)
Oh, and what the hell was that weird “organ” sound starting around 12:55 or so lol, certainly not a B3! Pretty wild whatever it was.
ROLLL OUT the Barrel sounded pretty good lol.
EYES you can get a good taste during the instrumental section around 2:30..and a good example of normal piano clipping (sensitive pickups), but then he switches to ? guessing the Rhodes, which occasionally has its own distortion characteristics, but this is more of what I call normal stuff.
Listen around 9:40+ for what I call FM like static. This is another stew ingredient that is harder to hear, not always there, but there on occasion?
More of the same minor stuff through to about 3:30 in BIG RIVER, though Bob goes way outta tune at 2:25 in GSET and seems to take a few tunes to fully get back lol.
$ LET ME SING is perhaps the best overall example of many things going on on this release. This and $ CHINA CAT are the most obvious examples of the idiosyncrasies on this release. Check out LMS at 2:00 mark and at the end etc.
check out Weirs intro licks to China Cat and some of that drum stuff at 1:30+...eventually it gets better and by RIDER it’s sorta status quo again (meaning instances but nothing huge).
From there on I mostly stopped with notes and just listened, though $ Trucking, GDTRFB etc are good examples of the “stew” especially the blending of the cymbally snare FM static with Bobs distortion whether intentional or not, it all adds up.
EDIT: $$$ end of show especially One Mo Sat is really dirty all the way around, and
TRUCKIN’ TAPE SPLICE? $$ Check out how “it” almost disappears at 4:56, actually something starts to be tweaked a little before that? Bobs not there at all until around 6:00 but he’s back at 6:22. Sounds like a tape splice, perhaps using a cassette, or perhaps some processor kicked in and out, but what’s most interesting is listen to Bob comparatively during these 2 sections, before, during, and after, it’s amazing how much different the 2 sound, especially Bob, and seemingly our phenomena too!
By George I think we’ve figured most of this out!
Conclusion: it’s the battered old tape, complicated by a perfect storm of minor, often normal anomalies, and an unusual Weir mix for good or for ill, and when occurring simultaneously, often during song peaks, it can unfortunately be distracting.
Listening equipment, environment, and personal habits no doubt play a roll in individual experiences. I can see how many folks might not notice much of this.
But on revealing equipment with certain ears it can be so obvious as to be jarring on first occasion.
Like many uncertainties, once the knowledge is gained, the dissonance is usually manageable. Getting better with every listen, though at low volume : (
VERDICT: Caveat Emptor indeed, but with perhaps an extra pinch...
EDIT: this in no way shape or form describes the musical content, which is superb!
I’ll go back to lurking now ; )
Caveat emptor indeed needed
I bow to my new sound technician overlord.
What a fantastic and forensic analysis.