What's All This Then

Why should I care what this guy has to say?

The correct answer is that you shouldn’t. We’re all entitled to our opinions. Develop your own. I try to be sane and rational, but that may change with the level of caffeine intake. I’m just telling my stories in the hopes they may amuse and/or inform others. And... I Confess... I'm showing off my bitchen collection a bit.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Grateful Dead on 45

The Grateful Dead.  One of the most successful touring bands ever.  The subject can be a bit divisive amongst record collector types and music fans.  You're either on the bus or not.

I was on the bus as was my wife, Winnie Margate.  We saw tons of shows.

Their records had a hard time capturing the magic of their shows.  Not to say there aren't some gems (American Beauty, Workingman's Dead).  As they rose to prominence as a touring band, the records became less and less important.  The hit single proved to be elusive until 1987.

I'll present a few 45's in my collection.

Here Comes Sunshine b/w Let Me Sing Your Blues Away

After starting their recording career with Warner Brothers, the band decided to go it alone.  They launched Grateful Dead Records for band projects and Round Records for solo projects.  This was different from the labels set up by the Jefferson Airplane (Grunt), The Beatles (Apple) or the Rolling Stones (Rolling Stones) as those labels were still under the supervision of their parent labels.  There were still hassles from the parents even though to the outside world it appeared the labels were autonomous.  

The Grateful Dead controlled the whole thing from top to bottom - from recording to getting the product on the shelves.

  'Wake of the Flood' was the first album on the label.  This was the first single pulled from that album.  It carries the catalog number GDS-01.    Nice label by Rick Griffin.

The Music Never Stopped b/w Help on the Way

After a few years of trying to run their own label, the band ran into problems with distribution, quality control, counterfeiting, warehouse flooding (ironically destroying copies of 'Wake of the Flood' on green vinyl), and the stress of running the company.    At this point they looked to one of the majors to distribute their product.   All Grateful Dead Records catalog were now pressed and distributed by United Artists.  

This single was from the 'Blues for Allah' album.  It was not a hit single.   Both sides have a different mix from the album.

Touch of Gray b/w My Brother Esau

Now the band gave up on even running a distributed label.  They signed with Arista.  

Finally, there was a  hit single for the Grateful Dead.  Pulled from the 'In the Dark' album.  The band had been playing most of these songs for about 5 years before they went into the studio with them.  The single, 'Touch of Gray' put them in the top 10.  I heard Casey Kasem say the name of the band once.  

The single was pressed on grey vinyl

And contained a B-Side that was not included on the album

And came wrapped in a poster sleeve

Extra Bonus - Record Store Day Mystery Release

Record Store Day 2013.  Release of a mystery disc.  One side features a live recording of 'Iko Iko' by the Grateful Dead.  The other side features two versions of the same song done by Dr. John and the Dixie Cups.  Pressed on what they were calling 'tie dye vinyl'