Birth of the Dead, Vol. 1: The Studio
Over the course of their career, the Grateful Dead would grow from a pioneering improvisatory jam band into a gentle country-folk entity and eventually just encompass their own genre of music as they became one of the most popular live acts in American history. At the beginning of their long, strange trip, however, they were a band of five young San Francisco dwellers, tuning up and dropping out with a uniquely acidic brand of blues-based rock exploration. Birth of the Dead, Vol. 1: The Studio captures the earliest studio creations of the band, dating back between 1965 and 1967. These recordings precede what would stand as the band's self-titled 1967 debut and focus on what grew to become concert favorites like "Cold Rain and Snow" and "I Know You Rider," as well as early versions of later album tracks like "Caution (Do Not Stop on the Tracks)" and a lovely rendition of Gordon Lightfoot's mellow "Early Morning Rain."