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  1. #1

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    OK I've just got to get this off my chest.

    "Garcia" is one of the best albums of the early 70's and ranks with the best Dead studio albums.

    And "Without a Net" is one of the best Dead albums period.

    Fight me about it.
    Last edited by Doctor Jeff; 01-26-2021 at 03:52 PM.

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  3. #2

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    OK let me explain...

    Garcia is a great album--just Jerry playing EVERYTHING except Mickey Hart on drums. He plays a mean piano and organ, which is something new to me. Also a fair amount of slide and steel on this album.

    The songwriting from Jerry and Robert Hunter is top-notch: Deal, Loser, Birdsong, Sugaree, The Wheel--obviously working in the same arena as Gram Parsons, Dylan, The Band, etc. Deal, Birdsong and Sugaree are Dead show staples and would have fit in on any Dead album from the era.

    Jerry's voice is as good as it ever gets for him and as good as on any of the Dead albums.

    There are some, uh, interesting studio and instrumental digressions here that are reminiscent of the Beatles on Abby Road and Pink Floyd. They don't detract too much from the great songs, but once a year is enough, so usually I just fast forward through them.

    The sound and production is also high-quality. It's a cleaner sound than the Dead had at the time, where sometimes there's just a little too much going on.

    Anyway, if the Dead had never existed IMO this would have been considered a classic roots-rock album ala The Band and some of the Byrds contemporaneous stuff.

    It's also interesting to speculate if Jerry would have been successful and maybe healthier as a solo artist. Being in a band is a big crutch for some people and provides a lot of codependents and people around to catch you if you slip up. Until the one time they don't.

    Here's Birdsong...


  4. #3

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    I won't fight you on Garcia, that record is fantastic.

    "Without a Net" though? I guess as an "officially released as an album while the Dead still existed Live record" it's not a terrible example from that period, but for live Dead records, there's a lot more I'd rank ahead of it...

  5. #4

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    OK, Without a Net is not the best Dead album. That would be Europe '72, or American Beauty, if you're more into the studio stuff.

    But it is a really good album, and the best document of their late career playing. I am not a huge Deadhead and have not heard every single version of Althea out there (the Nassau version is generally considered the best), but this is very good. Jerry and Bob and Brent are all in good voice.

    The production is excellent, and probably the best of any Live Dead, although again I haven't heard all the boots that may have been remastered over the years. The playing is all crisp and clear. For once Brent's keyboards add to the sound, don't distract from it.

    The standouts on this album are Althea, Cassidy, Birdsong, Eyes of the World, and surprisingly Victim or the Crime...a rather mundane Bob song that Jerry elevates into the stratosphere with his guitar solos. (I believe he was using a Roland synth setup with his Rosebud guitar.) Normally I don't care for such effects, but I think it works on this album.


  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I won't fight you on Garcia, that record is fantastic.

    "Without a Net" though? I guess as an "officially released as an album while the Dead still existed Live record" it's not a terrible example from that period, but for live Dead records, there's a lot more I'd rank ahead of it...
    I think it's their second best officially released live album after Europe '72. Also the best production of any live albums they put out.

    I would be interested which shows you would recommend.

    The problem I have with a lot of shows--I listen to the Dead channel on Sirius XM a lot--is THE SOUND. I know it doesn't bother some people, but it does me. Also the quality of the vocals. If Jerry or Bob aren't in good vocal shape, or if Mountain Girl is screeching in the background, I just can't deal with it.

    That said, I listened to their show from 3/1/69 San Francisco Fillmore West yesterday and was blown away by Dark Star segueing into St. Stephen. Great stuff.

  7. #6

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    All of my favorite "semi-official" releases as far as live albums go are "Dicks Picks." Those tend to be actual full sets, so I prefer them to stuff like "Net" because it captures a night, not a whole tour (although Europe '72 is pretty fantastic)

    A Favorite Dick's:

    31: 8/4 8/5 74
    29: 5/21/77
    19: 10/19/73
    10: 12/29/77
    3: 5/22/77

    As you can see, I'm very partial to mid-late 70's Dead...their most "jazz" era I guess....

    Now, there's also been a bunch of shows released "from the vaults" in recent years, stuff that was previously only available on tape and such...

    Among these, the (rightfully) revered 5/8/77 Cornell show is a must hear (I believe many refer to this as the best Dead show of all time)

    And yeah, that Nassau Coliseum show with Branford is great. There's another comp released in the last few years, Pacific Northwest shows from 73-74 that is outstanding too.

  8. #7

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    garcia is a strong album...fave dead live is Wembley Empire Pool London England 4/8/1972..keith godchaux is killin it on keyboards



    garcia- grisman the pizza tapes is also great

    cheers

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    garcia is a strong album...fave dead live is Wembley Empire Pool London England 4/8/1972..keith godchaux is killin it on keyboards



    garcia- grisman the pizza tapes is also great

    cheers
    I listened to the Pizza Tapes right after Tony Rice passed.

  10. #9

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    Jerry Garcia is the reason I saw The Grateful Dead over 100 times live. My favorite was the the R&B and Gospel leanings of the Jerry Garcia Band. I saw JGB live well over 50 times. I really loved Jerry's guitar work AND vocal delivery. When you went to a JGB show it was in a much smaller venue. For example I saw JGB several times at Keane College Concert hall (capacity 312) also a club called The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY (capacity 900) Saw B.B. King there too!

    This was mid 80's when the Dead were playing arenas and sometimes stadiums! We were giddy with delight and couldn't understand how more people weren't flocking to see these Garcia Band shows in such intimate venues. We felt like we were getting away with something. It was the essence of The Dead pure drop. JGB often always played an early and late show ans we always caught both. I still have the ticket stubs.

    For the record Mountain Girl (Carolyn Adams) was Jerry's girlfriend and then later wife. She never sang with the boys. Donna Godchaux was the female singer in the Dead. Her husband Keith played piano. Little known fact is that Donna was a Memphis Shoal-er and sang back-up on Elvis' "Suspicious Minds" recording. Ron Tutt, Elvis' drummer also drummed for JGB! Donna's voice was often terrible live; she attributed it to not being able to hear herself through the monitors. Hmm why could everybody else on stage sing relativity in tune then? About ten years ago I did a gig with Donna and she sang just fine. She can sing very well.

    A particularly good JGB show and widely recognized at such was Music Mountain (link below). On that tour JGB and Bobby and the Midnights, who had the time had Billy Cobham and Alphonso Johnson in the band as well as Bobby Cochran; a fine guitar player and the nephew of Summertime Blues author Eddie Cochran. On this tour unbeknownst to us they were flipping order of appearance and to our surprise JGB opened on a beautiful early summer crisp comfortable sunny Catskill late afternoon. Jerry did two sets. The drummer that tour was the Dead's Bill Kreutzmann. Somewhat of a rarity for JGB. After Jerry's two sets the clouds came and torrential Ark-like rain fell on Bobby's entire show.

    Here's 1st set of Music Mountain a near flawless performance full of energy:

    <span class="aCOpRe"><span>


    For something really interesting check out Jerry isolated from Europe 72 tour. That album was heavily tweaked with overdubs prior to release. I was told that The Dead even went back to particular venues to re-track vocals and get the same room ambience. The Morning Dew on Europe 72 is a far cry from the bootleg of the same performance. I always loves Skulls and Rose as a live album too.

    By the time "Without a Net" came out the shit had already started to hit the fan. Interestingly Jerry seemed to be on better behavior at his band's shows. Maybe because he had to carry more of it. I've seen Jerry at his worst and some of his best. His later work with Grisman showed that if he was into it he would deliver.

    Here is an isolated Jerry track on Mexicali Blues:

    <span class="aCOpRe"><span>[video=youtube_share;ykFtzu7s0ks]

    These days I listen to the Dead on XM when the mood strikes. Some of it is mind numbingly brilliant, some of it mind numbingly horrific.

    <span class="aCOpRe"><span>


    Finally a picture of the joy that was Music Mountain 6-16-82

    Garcia and the Dead-jgb-music-mountian-jpg

  11. #10

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    always liked this solo with overdubs track jerry did for antonioni's zabriske point film

    love scene




    cheers

    ps- mountain girl is still alive and well in oregon...

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    All of my favorite "semi-official" releases as far as live albums go are "Dicks Picks." Those tend to be actual full sets, so I prefer them to stuff like "Net" because it captures a night, not a whole tour (although Europe '72 is pretty fantastic)

    A Favorite Dick's:

    31: 8/4 8/5 74
    29: 5/21/77
    19: 10/19/73
    10: 12/29/77
    3: 5/22/77

    As you can see, I'm very partial to mid-late 70's Dead...their most "jazz" era I guess....

    Now, there's also been a bunch of shows released "from the vaults" in recent years, stuff that was previously only available on tape and such...

    Among these, the (rightfully) revered 5/8/77 Cornell show is a must hear (I believe many refer to this as the best Dead show of all time)

    And yeah, that Nassau Coliseum show with Branford is great. There's another comp released in the last few years, Pacific Northwest shows from 73-74 that is outstanding too.
    Listened to Cornell today. Great versions of some of their AB/WD songs like Brown Eyed Women and Jack Straw. Kind of a laid-back song selection, sort of country-rock oriented. Jerry was on fire on guitar. Nice sound--my only complaint is the vocals are down too low in the mix.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by alltunes
    Jerry Garcia is the reason I saw The Grateful Dead over 100 times live. My favorite was the the R&B and Gospel leanings of the Jerry Garcia Band. I saw JGB live well over 50 times. I really loved Jerry's guitar work AND vocal delivery. When you went to a JGB show it was in a much smaller venue. For example I saw JGB several times at Keane College Concert hall (capacity 312) also a club called The Chance in Poughkeepsie, NY (capacity 900) Saw B.B. King there too!

    This was mid 80's when the Dead were playing arenas and sometimes stadiums! We were giddy with delight and couldn't understand how more people weren't flocking to see these Garcia Band shows in such intimate venues. We felt like we were getting away with something. It was the essence of The Dead pure drop. JGB often always played an early and late show ans we always caught both. I still have the ticket stubs.

    For the record Mountain Girl (Carolyn Adams) was Jerry's girlfriend and then later wife. She never sang with the boys. Donna Godchaux was the female singer in the Dead. Her husband Keith played piano. Little known fact is that Donna was a Memphis Shoal-er and sang back-up on Elvis' "Suspicious Minds" recording. Ron Tutt, Elvis' drummer also drummed for JGB! Donna's voice was often terrible live; she attributed it to not being able to hear herself through the monitors. Hmm why could everybody else on stage sing relativity in tune then? About ten years ago I did a gig with Donna and she sang just fine. She can sing very well.

    A particularly good JGB show and widely recognized at such was Music Mountain (link below). On that tour JGB and Bobby and the Midnights, who had the time had Billy Cobham and Alphonso Johnson in the band as well as Bobby Cochran; a fine guitar player and the nephew of Summertime Blues author Eddie Cochran. On this tour unbeknownst to us they were flipping order of appearance and to our surprise JGB opened on a beautiful early summer crisp comfortable sunny Catskill late afternoon. Jerry did two sets. The drummer that tour was the Dead's Bill Kreutzmann. Somewhat of a rarity for JGB. After Jerry's two sets the clouds came and torrential Ark-like rain fell on Bobby's entire show.

    Here's 1st set of Music Mountain a near flawless performance full of energy:

    <span class="aCOpRe"><span>


    For something really interesting check out Jerry isolated from Europe 72 tour. That album was heavily tweaked with overdubs prior to release. I was told that The Dead even went back to particular venues to re-track vocals and get the same room ambience. The Morning Dew on Europe 72 is a far cry from the bootleg of the same performance. I always loves Skulls and Rose as a live album too.

    By the time "Without a Net" came out the shit had already started to hit the fan. Interestingly Jerry seemed to be on better behavior at his band's shows. Maybe because he had to carry more of it. I've seen Jerry at his worst and some of his best. His later work with Grisman showed that if he was into it he would deliver.

    Here is an isolated Jerry track on Mexicali Blues:

    <span class="aCOpRe"><span>[video=youtube_share;ykFtzu7s0ks]

    These days I listen to the Dead on XM when the mood strikes. Some of it is mind numbingly brilliant, some of it mind numbingly horrific.

    <span class="aCOpRe"><span>


    Finally a picture of the joy that was Music Mountain 6-16-82

    Garcia and the Dead-jgb-music-mountian-jpg
    Thanks for the info. Donna Godchaux's vocals on Terrapin Station were awesome, and there are some shows out there where she sounds fine. I know that Mountain Girl was Jerry's girlfriend/wife; for some reason I always thought she sang backup on occasion.

    There are definitely shows where the vocals backup or otherwise are so bad I can't stand to listen to it. One of my pet peeves.

  14. #13

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    I think Garcia was (and often still is) a very underrated guitarist.
    In a way he was closer to a jazz player than many of the rock players of his time.
    His solos employed a variety of scales, double-stops and arpeggios as well as the venerable pentatonic we all associate with rock music of that era, and he really "made the changes" so-to-speak... a lot more than I realized back when I was a teenager.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzmanstever
    and he really "made the changes" so-to-speak...
    Indeed Jerry outlined the chords very nicely. You can hear it on many tunes like "The Deal". He was also was great at embellishing a tune's melody. And of course he took the modal thing and ran with it!

  16. #15

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    On the earlier live stuff like the Cornell show and the Mexicali Blues mentioned above he tended to play a lot of bluegrassy licks, employing flat-picked arpeggios and "chicken picking"...very similar to what Clarence White was doing at the time. (You could move his Jack Straw solos over to acoustic and they would fit in perfectly with progressive bluegrass ala Tony Rice.)

    The other side of his playing as the Victim or the Crime piece shows are his spacey flights into the stratosphere...reminiscent of Coltrane or Wayne Shorter, or Robert Fripp for that matter. The more I listen to that cut the more I like it...boy is he scorching with that one. If anyone has a better example of such mind-blowing soloing, please share it.

    Weir is an underrated guitarist as well. He tends to play jangly counterpoint and arpeggios a lot early on, but in later years used a lot of power chords as well. The best thing is that he knew to stay out of Jerry's way...

  17. #16

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    My previous post seems to have disappeared, but others covered it well, so OK. Except for the characterization of "Victim or the Crime" as- what was it, pedestrian? What the heck? Moving on...

    Bob is under-rated more than Jerry IMHO. He was inspired by McCoy Tyner's playing with Coltrane in part. His style developed between Jerry and Phil, trying to intuit and bridge where they were going harmonically and rhythmically. Early on in my days getting into the Dead, I had a chance to listen through a fine sound system and good headphones, which revealed to me that a lot of what I had thought was Jerry- fills and such- was actually Bob. Hearing Bob's playing more clearly floored me.

    Later on Bob's tone got very bright, thin and stringy so it was easier to tell the difference. And for a number of years sound guy Dan Healy buried Bob's guitar in the PA mix because he just wanted to hear Jerry. But there are times when the interplay between Jerry, Bob and Phil in particular is just stunning.

    No one's mentioned the "Sunshine Daydream" show in late 1972, which was a benefit concert in Oregon to financially support Nancy's Dairy. Nancy was Ken Kesey's sister in law. The show was a bust since most of the audience gate-crashed, so the Dead ended up just writing a check to the dairy. Nancy's Yogurt is still made and sold in stores across the country. The movie is a slice of the times and the performance is fantastic.

    If, as Pat Metheny says, jazz is a process rather than a repertoire then the Dead played jazz in a rock idiom. A Dixieland-free jazz-country-bluegrass-fusion band?

  18. #17
    Yep, a very talented musician - apparently he had synesthesia, where his brain experienced musical notes as individual colors. I've read that his best material is from the 1970s and early 80s as his playing deteriorated after that (blasphemy! I hear you say) mostly due to years of hard drug use.
    Digression: In the early 90s, I was laid off as a newspaper reporter in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I packed my belongings in a U-Haul and headed back East. By the time I reached Virginia, my close friend in Washington DC told me the Dead were playing there. Now, I was never one of those Dead fans who just show up and try to scrounge a ticket in the parking lot, but I pulled into town late and felt I had nothing to lose.
    With no luck in the parking lot, and not being practiced at general panhandling, we headed to the Will-Call window. We got in line and after a few minutes, the young couple in front of us turned around and asked if we were looking for tickets. They explained they'd won two tickets via radio call-in but they really didn't like the Dead. They sold us their tickets at face value and within 10 minutes we had scored some psilocybin and were sitting 12th row on the floor - best seats I ever had. And within a week, I'd landed a new job in DC.

  19. #18

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    The closest I've ever come to the Dead is dining at Phil Lesh's Terrapin Crossroads restaurant in San Rafael, CA while Phil Lesh and Friends performed on the bandstand.

  20. #19

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    fun page deadicated to fave versions of dark star...with links to audio


    Grateful Dead best Dark Star | headyversion

    veneta is nice but i still like wembley! hah

    cheers

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Fred
    The closest I've ever come to the Dead is dining at Phil Lesh's Terrapin Crossroads restaurant in San Rafael, CA while Phil Lesh and Friends performed on the bandstand.
    I have never seen them, but since all my friends from college were/are Deadheads, I feel like I have LOL.

    I was planning to go see the Wolf Brothers when they played in Omaha last March, but the week before the show they cancelled b/o COVID.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by TommyBrooklyn
    Yep, a very talented musician - apparently he had synesthesia, where his brain experienced musical notes as individual colors. I've read that his best material is from the 1970s and early 80s as his playing deteriorated after that (blasphemy! I hear you say) mostly due to years of hard drug use.
    Jerry had severe diabetes and did not take very good care of his health. Heroin certainly didn't help. He developed peripheral neuropathy, arthritis, neck problems (his main guitar for a decade and a half, Tiger, weighed about 15 pounds) and, from the looks of the photographs in his last few years, significant heart failure and probably COPD from decades of smoking like a chimney. He had a rather publicized diabetic coma after which he struggled to put things back together to be able to play again. Merle Saunders came over to his house and played with him every day to coax him back; the first thing he wanted to play was not a Dead tune but "My Funny Valentine." He was what, 53 when he died? He looked like he was about 85 at the final concert.

    Since I am a psychologist in real life, I also wonder if there weren't mental health issues as well. Addiction, of course, is an obvious one. But he also ended up living an isolated life in a small apartment, fairly unable to go out and do things because of his extreme fame and the rather proprietary attitude of Deadheads towards the band. Scuba diving in Hawaii was one of his releases. He apparently felt the Grateful Dead as a tremendous burden towards the end of his life and did not want to go out and tour anymore. The hassles of the last few tours were extraordinary, including one show where there had been death threats against him and so the house lights remained up throughout the concert with police stationed throughout the hall. That had to be weird. And yet he also felt an obligation to the extended Grateful Dead family whose livelihoods were dependent upon the band touring and generating $30-$50 million a year. It would not surprise me if he was clinically depressed. Bob Weir has said that Jerry told him heroin rolled up all of his problems into one neat little package: "where's my next hit?"

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Fred
    The closest I've ever come to the Dead is dining at Phil Lesh's Terrapin Crossroads restaurant in San Rafael, CA while Phil Lesh and Friends performed on the bandstand.
    the dead always put a lot back into their community...garcia was always keenly aware of the numbers of people that were involved in making a living from the dead touring excursions!!...

    aside fom lesh's place in san raphael, weir owns sweetwaters (music club) in mill valley...and merle saunders son had music place in san raphael too

    the bunch didn't stray

    cheers

  24. #23

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    I don't know when it started, but in the early nineties, there was a mail order process for ordering tickets for GD concerts—basically a first-come, first-served sort of ticket lottery. Nothing like a bunch of deadheads standing in line for a 12:00 AM postmark at the airport post office on the date that mail-order opened for a particular tour. Anyways, I think you could order up to four tickets per show, but there were five of us in our group. I decided to go it alone and submitted a solo request for just one ticket per venue. This strategy paid off better than I could have possibly hoped for: I ended up with a front-row seat at Soldiers Field for one of the nights.

  25. #24

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    Yep, and the Grateful Dead ticketing service really riled a lot of feathers among the three piece suit and cigar crowd that had been controlling ticket sales to rock concerts. Suddenly their little cash cow was threatened. Fortunately for the Dead, they had a lawyer who was (1) excellent dealing with laws around the entertainment industry and (2) not overawed by the Dead because he was older than they were and not part of the scene, plus he wasn't dependent on their money. That let him be direct and honest with them about what they could and should or shouldn't do, and he was quite effective on their behalf because the entertainment industry is filled with people taking advantage of artists. The Dead inadvertently paved the way for artists to have a lot more independence and control over their revenues. There are even textbooks written about the band's business practices as models for operation, most of which they walked into back-asswards.

  26. #25

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    Jerry but then I dig all these guys


  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    Jerry had severe diabetes and did not take very good care of his health. Heroin certainly didn't help. He developed peripheral neuropathy, arthritis, neck problems (his main guitar for a decade and a half, Tiger, weighed about 15 pounds) and, from the looks of the photographs in his last few years, significant heart failure and probably COPD from decades of smoking like a chimney. He had a rather publicized diabetic coma after which he struggled to put things back together to be able to play again. Merle Saunders came over to his house and played with him every day to coax him back; the first thing he wanted to play was not a Dead tune but "My Funny Valentine." He was what, 53 when he died? He looked like he was about 85 at the final concert.

    Since I am a psychologist in real life, I also wonder if there weren't mental health issues as well. Addiction, of course, is an obvious one. But he also ended up living an isolated life in a small apartment, fairly unable to go out and do things because of his extreme fame and the rather proprietary attitude of Deadheads towards the band. Scuba diving in Hawaii was one of his releases. He apparently felt the Grateful Dead as a tremendous burden towards the end of his life and did not want to go out and tour anymore. The hassles of the last few tours were extraordinary, including one show where there had been death threats against him and so the house lights remained up throughout the concert with police stationed throughout the hall. That had to be weird. And yet he also felt an obligation to the extended Grateful Dead family whose livelihoods were dependent upon the band touring and generating $30-$50 million a year. It would not surprise me if he was clinically depressed. Bob Weir has said that Jerry told him heroin rolled up all of his problems into one neat little package: "where's my next hit?"
    Of course he was depressed!

    Well as I mentioned above I wonder if he would have been more successful psychologically if he were not part of a huge operation where all his needs were catered to (except the psychological ones of course). Being in a band is like hanging with a bunch of wealthy codependents 24/7. No wonder he isolated himself.

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    Yep, and the Grateful Dead ticketing service really riled a lot of feathers among the three piece suit and cigar crowd that had been controlling ticket sales to rock concerts. Suddenly their little cash cow was threatened. Fortunately for the Dead, they had a lawyer who was (1) excellent dealing with laws around the entertainment industry and (2) not overawed by the Dead because he was older than they were and not part of the scene, plus he wasn't dependent on their money. That let him be direct and honest with them about what they could and should or shouldn't do, and he was quite effective on their behalf because the entertainment industry is filled with people taking advantage of artists. The Dead inadvertently paved the way for artists to have a lot more independence and control over their revenues. There are even textbooks written about the band's business practices as models for operation, most of which they walked into back-asswards.
    I agree they were trendsetters...also in terms of concert sound, with Owsley’s systems and live recording techniques. Business-wise they did very well in spite of themselves.

    Makes up for the early shows where there were so many gatecrashers. Eventually they found a way to make money from the hippies. ;-)

  29. #28

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    BTW I have been relistening to Without a Net quite a bit, and that song sequence from Althea to Franklin’s Tower is just amazing...the sound. A beautiful recording, and great performances.

    Listen to it with good headphones, as I did, or with a good soundsystem for a proper appreciation. Really sets the bar for a live recording. Also one of the better uses of guitar synths IMO.

  30. #29

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    longtime head here as well, as you can see by my avatar pic lol...i always dug this