To celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary in 2017, The Grateful Dead recently launched a special album reissue series through Rhino that will include two-disc deluxe editions and limited-edition vinyl picture-disc versions of all the group’s studio and live albums. Each will be timed for release around the individual album’s 50th anniversary.
These two-disc deluxe editions will include the original album with newly remastered sound, plus a bonus disc of unreleased recordings. The same remastered audio from the original album will also be released as a 12-inch picture disc produced in a limited edition of 10,000 copies, and hi-res 192kHz/24-bit and 96/24 files will also be made available.
The celebration began with the January 20 release of The Grateful Dead: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. The set is available for $19.98 and includes the original album as newly remastered from the original tapes by David Glasser and restored by Plangent Processes, along with a bonus disc that features a complete unreleased concert from July 29, 1966 and select cuts from July 30, 1966 at the P.N.E. Garden Auditorium in British Columbia, as mastered by Jeffrey Norman. The newly remastered version of The Grateful Dead is also available as a 12-inch picture disc, limited to the aforementioned 10,000 copies worldwide, for $21.98. The hi-res download version of The Grateful Dead: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is available at 192/24-bit and 96/24 files at HDtracks.com for $34,98.
The band recorded and mixed The Grateful Dead in 5 days before releasing it in March 1967. It captures the group’s early sound with a mix of electrified jug band stomps (“Sitting on Top of the World”), Chicago blues (“Good Morning Little School Girl”), crazed modal improv (“Viola Lee Blues”), and Dylan-y put-downs (“Cream Puff War”).
In the deluxe edition’s liner notes, Jesse Jarnow writes, “The Grateful Dead is the Grateful Dead as they existed, a slice of their fast-changing live repertoire circa 1967. Nothing would ever be the same, but nothing had ever been the same with The Dead from the time of their second show onward.”
The deluxe edition’s bonus disc unearths unreleased recordings from the band’s performances at the Vancouver Trips Festival in 1966. Only a few recordings from the Dead’s first 2 years exist, but each one reveals corners of the band’s repertoire not captured anywhere else. That’s especially true here, with three songs making their last appearance on any surviving Dead recording: “Standing on the Corner,” “You Don’t Have to Ask Me,” and “Cardboard Cowboy.”
The band has also opened subscriptions to the Grateful Dead 7-Inch Singles Collection. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of their first single, this special reissue series will bring pressings of the first four of the band’s 27 singles on 7-inch colored vinyl, each limited to 10,000 copies, and will be available exclusively at dead.net. The remaining 23 singles will be released over the next few years. Subscriptions will be $44.98, which includes the first four installments in the series, released quarterly across the year.
The first release, arriving March 1, is the band’s debut 45: “Stealin'” b/w “Don’t Ease Me In.” Scorpio Records released The Grateful Dead’s first single during the summer of 1966. When Gene Estribou produced “Stealin'” and its B-side, “Don’t Ease Me In,” in his San Francisco studio, the songs were already staples of the band’s early live shows. When it was released, fewer than 250 copies of the single ever saw the light of day. This limited-edition reissue is the single’s first pressing in 50 years, and features remastered audio, edited by David Glasser to reflect the original single edits.
In other Grateful Dead news, this year’s installment of the Grateful Dead Almanac has also launched at dead.net. This annual newsletter, dating back to the band’s touring days, keeps fans updated on all things happening in the world of The Grateful Dead. Also launching with the Almanac are subscriptions to Dave’s Picks 2017 Series, which features four unreleased live shows released as limited editions each quarter throughout the year. The beloved series, now entering its sixth year, kicked off its 2017 offerings on February 1 with the release of Dave’s Picks Vol. 21, which includes a live show from the legendary Boston Garden from April 2, 1973.
“We’re laser-focused on continuing the release of exceptional Grateful Dead concerts throughout 2017, with some incredible music being considered for release as the year progresses,” says archivist and producer David Lemieux. “Volumes 21-24 in 2017 promise to rival the very best releases of the first 20 installments of the series.” Can’t wait!
THE GRATEFUL DEAD: 50th ANNIVERSARY DELUXE EDITION – TRACK LISTING
Disc One: Original Album, Newly Remastered
1. “The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)”
2. “Beat It On Down the Line”
3. “Good Morning Little School Girl”
4. “Cold Rain & Snow”
5. “Sitting On Top of the World”
6. “Cream Puff War”
7. “Morning Dew”
8. “New, New Minglewood Blues”
9. “Viola Lee Blues”
Disc Two: P.N.E. Garden Auditorium, Vancouver, BC, Canada
1. “Standing On the Corner”
2. “I Know You Rider”
3. “Next Time You See Me”
4. “Sitting On Top of the World”
5. “You Don’t Have to Ask”
6. “Big Boss Man”
8. “Cardboard Cowboy”
9. “Baby Blue”
10. “Cream Puff Wars”
11. “Viola Lee Blues”
12. “Beat It On Down the Line”
13. “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”
14. “Cold, Rain and Snow”
15. “One Kind Favor”
16. “Hey Little One”
17. “New Minglewood Blues”