Monday, May 24, 2010

It's Monday, Let's Practice Dead....

So a bit of a curveball this Monday with our ongoing Grateful Dead Series of shows.  This unique listening experience comes from Bob Weir's Home studio during the bands rehearsals for their 1975 album, Blues for Allah.  Today's show is actually a practice from 2-28-1975 Mill Valley, CA.  Click that link or listen c'here:

There is a freedom to this season that makes it a joy to hear even with no vocals present.  The "Distorto Jam" from the group has a great feel to it as does the "Bouncey Jam" which finds Phil Lesh poping and plucking all over the place giving the track a very Meters-esque vibe.   Phil is loud and clear all practice leading the way on a lot of tracks, allowing the band to follow and create.

These first two tracks alone make this a special listen, but as the tape rolls you can feel the synapses firing as the groups flushes out different rhythmic structures and scenarios.  Some of these jams were released on the Blues for Allah remastered release, but this is the first time I was privileged to hear them.  That album sparked an early career renaissance for the band, producing one of the best live albums of all time with One From The Vault.  You can hear some of the energy that made that show so special here in these practice tapes.

The "Stronger Then Dirt" Jams benefits from Godchaux's organ playing, which is something he didn't focus on too often. I do think the second jam does seem to wander on too long without much variety, but there are worse ways to spend 11 minutes.  Jerry pulls out the riffage on the rambling jams that populate track 7, Bob also add's some really nice strums to augment the track.

The title of these tracks don't seem to accurate as I don't really hear much of "Shakedown Street" in track 8, but what I do hear is some upbeat funky goodness.  The "Showtune Jam" is some playful and the "Jungle Music Jam" again finds Phil bopping away in very George Porter Jr fashion...Here are the Meters
That is dirtyfunky.

The Dead are more shuffling then funky but it certainly comes from that same vein.  "The Music Never Stopped" takes over to close out the session.  They stay funky with this tune giving it some extra focus and guts...Bobby Weir in particular sounds great coming out of the right speaker with clean crisp strumming.  This is some great playing on a tune that not all Dead Heads enjoyed...but it is tough not to love these jams, especially the first few and last moments.  Enjoy!  

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