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The Grateful Dead

Grateful Dead

Initial release : March 1967

Warner Bros. WS-1689

The first Grateful Dead album.

Tracks

  • The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion) (McGannahan Skjellyfetti)
  • Beat It On Down The Line (Jesse Fuller)
  • Good Morning, Little School Girl (H.G. Demarais)
  • Cold Rain And Snow (McGannahan Skjellyfetti)
  • Sittin' On Top Of The World (Jacobs/Carter)
  • Cream Puff War (Jerry Garcia)
  • Morning Dew (Dobson/Rose)
  • New, New Minglewood Blues (McGannahan Skjellyfetti)
  • Viola Lee Blues (Noah Lewis)
Bonus tracks on 2003 expanded CD release;
  • Alice D. Millionaire (Garcia/Kreutzmann/Lesh/McKernan/Weir)
  • Overseas Stomp (Lindbergh Hop or The Lindy Hop) (Jones/Shade)
  • Tastebud (McKernan)
  • Death Don't Have No Mercy (Edited studio take) (Davis)
  • Viola Lee Blues (Edited version) (Noah Lewis)
  • Viola Lee Blues (Live) (Noah Lewis)
Musicians

  • Jerry Garcia - guitar, vocals
  • Bill Kreutzmann - drums
  • Phil Lesh - bass
  • Pigpen (Ron McKernan) - keyboards, harmonica, vocals
  • Bob Weir - guitar
The liner notes describe them as;
San Francisco's Grateful Dead:

Bob Weir, Pigpen, Bill The Drummer
Jerry ("Captain Trips") Garcia, and Phil Lesh

Credits

  • Producer - Dave Hassinger
  • Arranger - The Grateful Dead
  • Engineer - Dick Bogert
  • Cover design - Mouse Studios
  • Collage - Kelly
  • Photography - Herb Greene, Gene Anthony
  • Recorded mainly at RCA Studio A in Hollywood
Notes

Recorded in roughly three days in January 1967 in Los Angeles. The Dead supposedly selected Dave Hassinger, a Warner Brothers staff producer, because he had worked as engineer on two Rolling Stones records that they liked.

Golden Road was recorded separately at Coast Recorders in San Francisco.

In an early interview Garcia described the album;

I think our album is honest. It sounds just like us. It even has mistakes on it. But it also has a certain amount of excitement on it. It sounds like we felt good when we were making it. We made it in a short period, four days, and it's the material we've been doing onstage for quite a long time. It sounds like one of our good sets.
In an interview for Rolling Stone Garcia provided one explanation for the fast tempos of the songs on the album;
... So we went down there and what was it we had, Dexamyl? Some sort of dietwatcher's speed, and pot and stuff like that. So in three nights we played some hyperactive music.
The album was not a commercial success and failed to get into the Billboard top 100 album chart.

Cryptic or ambiguous lettering has been a feature of a number of Grateful Dead LP sleeves. The lettering at the top of this cover reads;

In the land of the dark the ship of the sun is driven by the
which is followed by the easily readable;
Grateful Dead
The original design included lettering that was more easily readable but the band asked for it to be changed. Garcia explained their reasoning in an interview with Ralph Gleason in 1969;
We didn't like it because we thought it was a tad pretentious. So we talked to Stanley [Mouse] and said could you do something that almost says something but doesn't quite. The result of that has been that all the places we've been where people have had the album, we've been able to hear their translations.
McGannahan Skjellyfetti was a pseudonym used by the Dead for the three group compositions on the album. The name derives originally from a character in Kenneth Patchen's "Memoirs Of A Shy Pornographer", although the name was possibly used by the Dead because one of the band members had a cat of that name.

Note that Cold Rain and Snow and New, New Minglewood Blues though credited as band compositions are adaptations of existing songs.

Related releases

Initially released with a gold Warner Brothers label and then reissued in 1968 by Warner Brothers (as WS 1689) with a green label.

Released on CD in 1987 by Warner Brothers 2 1689

The album 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.

A limited edition vinyl was released for record store day in April 2011.

The Grateful Dead was repackaged together with Anthem Of The Sun as a double LP;

One single was released in conjunction with this LP; New, New Minglewood Blues was included on the Grateful Dead compilation; The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion) was included on; The whole LP was included on the double LP release; The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion) was included on; For information about other Grateful Dead releases that include music from this period see the 1966/1967 sections of the Dead by Date page.

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