History of the Grateful Dead, Vol. 1 (Bear's Choice) [Bonus Tracks]

History of the Grateful Dead, Vol. 1 (Bear's Choice) [Bonus Tracks]

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This 1973 release was the very last collection that the Grateful Dead authorized during their tenure with Warner Bros. in the late '60s and early '70s. However, this live disc was a sort of melancholy affair, as it centered on material featuring Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (guitar/vocals/mouth harp), who had left the band due to illness in June of the previous year. History… See more details below

Overview

This 1973 release was the very last collection that the Grateful Dead authorized during their tenure with Warner Bros. in the late '60s and early '70s. However, this live disc was a sort of melancholy affair, as it centered on material featuring Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (guitar/vocals/mouth harp), who had left the band due to illness in June of the previous year. History of the Grateful Dead, Vol. 1 (Bear's Choice) is somewhat misleading, as a follow-up never came to pass. Band historians, however, claim that this release was optimistically titled because the label had hoped to issue a series of live recordings (à la Dick's Picks) containing highlights from a variety of vintage Dead performances. Alas, with the formation of the group's own label, it was not to be. The single disc includes performances from a highly touted series of shows held over two nights (February 13-14, 1970) at the Fillmore East in New York City. While most assuredly not the finest example of the Dead's formidable acoustic sets, the platter opens with a quartet of cover tunes -- many of which had been entries in Jerry Garcia (guitar/vocals) and McKernan's folky jug band repertoire prior to ultimately forming the electric, psychedelic Grateful Dead. McKernan's playful cover of Lightnin' Hopkins' "Katie Mae" is a somewhat lightweight affair. He counterbalances ad-libbed lyrics with his own very sparse solo guitar picking, which is in perfect keeping with the lonesome nature of this blues. Garcia and Bob Weir (guitar/vocals) join in on the remaining "unplugged" tracks. Both the affective and noir "Dark Hollow" and "I've Been All Around This World" reveal the command of this highly underutilized subdivision of the Dead. Clocking in at seven-plus minutes, the album's sole original composition, "Black Peter," is masterfully executed. It ultimately bests the original Workingman's Dead (1969) version in sheer emotive realization. The two electric offerings -- a cover of Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightning" and Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle" -- are full-blown rave-ups allowing the entire band to weave its collective R&B-influenced psychedelia, unedited and in real time. Both tracks had become assertive vehicles for McKernan's no-nonsense R&B sensibilities. In 2001, History of the Grateful Dead, Vol. 1 (Bear's Choice) was included in the 12-disc Golden Road (1965-1973) box set, and in 2003 was also made available by Rhino and Warner Strategic Marketing as a stand-alone purchase. This remastered edition comes replete with a newly inked 16-page liner notes insert containing an essay from "the Bear" (aka Owsley Stanley) himself. The expanded track list yields four additional performances from the same cache of shows: the McKernan-led "Good Lovin'," "Big Boss Man," a second and equally scintillating version of "Smokestack Lightning," and an uptempo "Sitting on Top of the World," the latter of which keeps the frenetic spirit of the reading from the Dead's self-titled debut firmly intact.

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/25/2003
Label:
Rhino
UPC:
0081227440022
catalogNumber:
74400
Rank:
34687

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Grateful Dead   Primary Artist
Mickey Hart   Drums
Jerry Garcia   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Bob Weir   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Bill Graham   Spoken Word
Bill Kreutzmann   Drums
Phil Lesh   Bass
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan   Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Percussion,Vocals

Technical Credits

Grandpa Jones   Composer
Mickey Hart   Composer
Jerry Garcia   Composer
Otis Redding   Composer
Bob Weir   Composer
Robert Hunter   Composer
Robert C. Smith   Composer
Walter Vinson   Composer
James Austin   Reissue Producer
Felice Bryant   Composer
Boudleaux Bryant   Composer
Howlin' Wolf   Composer
Lonnie Chatmon   Composer
Bill Graham   Introduction
Lightnin' Hopkins   Composer
Bill Kreutzmann   Composer
Phil Lesh   Composer
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan   Composer
Owsley Stanley   Producer,Audio Production
Gary Peterson   Discographical Annotation
Luther Dixon   Composer
Rudy Clark   Composer
David Singer   Artwork
Bill Browning   Composer
Shawn Amos   Liner Note Coordination
Daniel Goldmark   Editorial Research
Traditional   Composer
Alvertis Isbell   Composer
David Lemieux   Reissue Producer
Arthur Resnick   Composer
Bear   Liner Notes
Chester Burnett   Composer
Allen Jones   Composer

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