Grateful Dead “Dick’s Picks Volume 12” 6/26 & 28, 1974 www.RealGoneMusic.com
These shows occurred during the same season and year that the Dead released “From the Mars Hotel” in fact, but they also continued to explore music from their previous album, “Wake of the Flood,” which was released just eight months prior. Though not indicated in the liners it’s important to note the superior sound quality found on this album that’s mainly attributed to the use of their legendary and dynamic “Wall of Sound” performance system.
On this triple-CD volume, specifically on “Weather Report Suite,”(14:35) and the epic, flowing and concluding “Jam” (27:54) is a mesmerizing (nearly forty-five minute non-stop extravaganza) that opens disc three. This is precisely why this performance makes this twelfth volume of Dick’s Picks so treasured, sought-after, collected and enamored by Deadheads, but there’s more.
Tape archivist Dick Latvala had occasionally taken more editing liberties, and volume twelve is a good example of his (tape) slicing and dicing magic. Latvala smartly intertwines two nights from four sets, and downsizes them into a ‘best of” two nights compilation/performance. (*Note: The song performance dates aren’t indicated in the liners, but the reliable www.deaddisc.com documents the following data.) Disc one starts with the third song of the second set from June 26, 1974, at the Providence Civic and continues to the end of the set on CD one. It also featuring an extended version of “Truckin'” (complete with Jerry’s guitar nods to Freddie King’s “Hideaway,”) Lesh’s bass solo intros a very brief “The Other One” that transitions into a mighty “Spanish Jam” that gorgeously meshes to “Wharf Rat,” a raucous “Sugar Magnolia,” ends the set.
CD two begins with the June 26 encore, “Eyes of the World” (11:41) that’s pretty and airy, but ends abruptly with Weir saying goodnight. Two nights thereafter it’s onto the Boston Gardens: I don’t know why they included bassist Phil Lesh and partner Ned Lagin performance of their odd electronic music piece (fortunately it’s only about five minutes) “Seastones” later (inexplicably) became a full-length album. Another tasty “Sugar Magnolia” segues into the infrequent pairing with “Scarlet Begonias” produces stimulating jams and ends without the typical “Fire On the Mountain.” Disc two closes with rollicking “Big River,” a sharp “Mexicali Blues,” but also has lackluster covers of “To Law Me Down,” and “Row Jimmy Row.”
Disc three opens with the previously mentioned and complete “Weather Report Suite” and the lengthy “Jam.” The “Let It Grow” segment is fiery suggesting hints of what’s looming. The “Jam” starts off very loose and spacey and just when I thought this would turn into a bad trip, Garcia leads the band into delightful space(s) that are flush with warm thoughts and boundless creativity, though Godchaux’s piano is mostly out to lunch and MIA. So it’s basically the core-four quartet teasing and expanding our minds, but near the end of this “Jam” Godchaux finally joins-in adding his own colorful hues on electric piano as the band (though not indicated in the liners) simmers into a shuffling “U.S. Blues.” The Dead must have been in a playful mood as there’s another rare combination of a buoyant “Promised Land” shifting into “Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad” finds the band full of confidence and warmth as they (almost) take us home with a return to “Sugar Magnolia/Sunshine Daydream” reprise. The Beantown event encores with “Ship of Fools” that’s mostly anticlimactic and (arguably) unnecessary, yet it’s unquestionably touching.
As per usual for the entire Dick’s Picks series: Caveat Emptor: “This release was digitally mastered directly from the original half-track 7.5 IPS analog tape. It is a snapshot of history, not a modern professional recording, and may therefore exhibit some minor technical anomalies and the unavoidable effects of the ravages of time.”
For 16 years Bob Putignano has been pivotal at WFDU with his Sounds of Blue radio show (Wed. & Fri. 9am-1pm) www.SoundsofBlue.com – 2015’s most pledged to ($21,000+) radio program at http://wfdu.fm Previously a contributing editor at Blues Revue, Blueswax, and Goldmine magazines, currently the Music Editor for the Yonkers Tribune www.YonkersTribune.com – www.MakingAScene.org & www.wfdu.fm/Whats-Happening/Bob’s Music Reviews/bobs music reviews/ Bob was the 2003 recipient of the “Keeping the Blues Alive” award (given by the Blues Foundation in Memphis) for his achievements in radio broadcasting. Putignano can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com Wed. & Fri. 9am-1pm:
2015’s most pledged to radio program at WFDU @ $21,000+ http://WFDU.fm Now celebrating 15 + years on the air in the NYC area Music Editor: www.yonkerstribune.com, www.makingascene.org & wfdu.fm/Whats-Happening/Bob’s Music Reviews/bobs music reviews/