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Aoxomoxoa

Grateful Dead

Initial release : June 1969

Warner Bros. WS 1790

The third Grateful Dead LP. The first flowering of the Garcia / Hunter songwriting partnership.

Tracks

  • St. Stephen (Garcia/Lesh/Hunter)
  • Dupree's Diamond Blues (Garcia/Hunter)
  • Rosemary (Garcia/Hunter)
  • Doin' That Rag (Garcia/Hunter)
  • Mountains Of The Moon (Garcia/Hunter)
  • China Cat Sunflower (Garcia/Hunter)
  • What's Become Of The Baby (Garcia/Hunter)
  • Cosmic Charlie (Garcia/Hunter)
Bonus tracks on 2003 expanded CD release;
  • Clementine Jam (Excerpt) (Garcia/Hart/Kreutzmann/Lesh/McKernan/Weir)
  • Nobody's Spoonful Jam (Excerpt) (Garcia/Hart/Kreutzmann/Lesh/McKernan/Weir)
  • The Eleven Jam (Excerpt: live in studio) (Garcia/Hart/Kreutzmann/Lesh/McKernan/Weir)
  • Cosmic Charlie (Live) (Garcia / Hunter)
Musicians

  • Tom Constanten - keyboards
  • Jerry Garcia - guitar, vocals
  • Mickey Hart - percussion
  • Bill Kreutzmann - percussion
  • Phil Lesh - basses, vocals
  • Ron McKernan - Pig Pen
  • Bob Weir - guitars, vocals
The Supporting Musicians;
  • John Dawson (Marma-duke)
  • David Nelson
  • Peter Grant
  • Wendy
  • Debbie
  • Mouse
Credits

  • Producer - The Grateful Dead
  • Arranger - The Grateful Dead
  • Engineer - Bob Matthews and Betty Cantor
  • Cover Illustration - Rick Griffin
The credits given on the sleeve are;

The Crew:

  • BOB MATTHEWS - Executive engineer
  • BETTY CANTOR - Engineer (Hot Dog!)
  • CONSULTING ENGINEERS - Ron Wickershim, Dan Healy, Owsley
  • KWIPMENT KREW - Ramrod, John P. Hagen, Jackson
  • THE WORDS - Robert Hunter
  • THE TUNES - Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh

  • Recorded at Pacific Recording Studios in San Mateo in late 1968 and early 1969
  • Completed at Pacific High Recording in San Francisco
Remixed in September 1971 at Alembic Studios, San Francisco;
  • Remix engineers - Bob and Betty
Notes

Aoxomoxoa was the Dead's first recording to be made without an external producer and the to be dominated by Garcia/Hunter songs. It was also the first recording by the Dead using sixteen track tape technology. Early 8-track recordings for the album were abandoned when the 16-track technology became available. Garcia commented on the use of 16-track in the first Deadheads newsletter issued in 1971;

It was our first adventure with 16-track, and we tended to put too much on everything. We tried to use up every track, and it came out mixed by committee. A lot of the music was just lost in the mix.
Tom Constanten also commented on the use of 16 track technology in Skeleton Key;
Mixing 16-track was another brand-new game. Even when it didn't sound loud, it sounded dense, and the VU needles were bouncing off the pins. The mixdown became a performance in it's own right, with three or more pairs of hands on the soundboard, minding their cues.
The lengthy recording and mixing period and the relative lack of success of the album when released resulted in the band being in debt to Warner Brothers for nearly $200,000.

All eight tracks are written by Garcia and Hunter. Robert Hunter spoke of the period in an interview;

Garcia asked me how I'd like to be lyricist in residence for the Dead, and I thought it might be like fine. I had written lyrics on and off since I was 17, but I fancied myself as a serious writer, and rock 'n' roll wasn't exactly what I had planned for myself. But things were changing at such an intense rate, and it seemed like it would be a nice thing to do ... I went right to work, fell right into it.
Garcia spoke in a later interview about the songs, and the reason for many of them subsequently being dropped from the Dead's performances;
A lot of the Aoxomoxoa songs are overwritten and cumbersome to perform. They're packed with lyrics or musical chnages that aren't worth it for what finally happens with the song. But at the time , I wasn't writing songs for the band to play - I was writing songs to be writing songs. Those were the first songs Hunter and I did together, and we didn't have the craft of songwriting down.
In a Rolling Stone interview Garcia described the album as;
...one of my pet records, 'cause it was the first stuff that I thought was starting to sound like how I wanted to hear songs sound.
Aoxomoxoa was recorded at about the same time as Live/Dead. The first Deadheads newsletter also includes a quote from Garcia about the two albums;
If you take LIVE DEAD and AOXOMOXOA together, you have a picture of what we were doing then. We were playing LIVE DEAD and we were recording AOXOMOXOA.
The album title came from the cover artist Rick Griffin who had been experimenting letter groupings. Griffin asked Hunter about a title for the LP and Hunter suggested that he tried out some of his palindromic lettering things such as OXO and MOM.

One working title of this album was Earthquake Country.

A number of outtakes from the Aoxomoxoa sessions circulate on tape.

Related releases

A white label promotional version of the LP was distributed.

Remixed and reissued in a slightly altered sleeve by Warner Brothers in 1972.

Released on CD in 1987 by Warner Brothers 2-1790

All CD releases have been of the remixed version.

Aoxomoxoa was included with bonus tracks in the box set;

The expanded CD release that formed part of the Golden Road box set was released as an individual item in February 2003. This CD release was remastered in HDCD and included extra tracks, an expanded booklet, rare photos, and new liner notes.

Cosmic Charlie and Doin' That Rag were included on the Grateful Dead compilation;

Rosemary and St. Stephen were included on; An abridged version of Doin' That Rag was included on; One single was released in conjunction with this LP; For information about other Grateful Dead releases that include music from this period see the 1969 section of the Dead by Date page.

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Expanded CD cover

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