After 17 albums of the Grateful Dead put out in the 60s, 70s, and 80s we come to a more recent time. In 2013 Warner Brothers put out a rare release for Record Store Day from the Grateful Dead called “Rare Cuts and Oddities 1966.” 1966 the band consisted of Jerry, Pigpen, Lesh, Weir and Krutzmann. These songs were pieced together by their soundman at the time and never put out. A mix of studio and live songs, this album is one to be highly appreciated as a Grateful Dead fan.
The first few songs are studio versions but are more like rehearsal versions. All short and quick versions of these songs are on this album. “Walking the Dog” (Rufus Thomas) & “The Promised Land” (Chuck Berry) are two blues covers they rehearse on this first side. The rehearsed songs are not in front a live audience and still unknown exactly where they were performed.
The bluesiness off this album is prevalent throughout. You can hear the cracks and pops from the original recordings as well. Bear did an amazing job keeping this songs and tracks fresh for over 40 years. David Lemieux, the Dead’s archivist, worked with Bear to get these out for publication.
I don’t want to go on about every song on this album as most are fantastic. They are a view behind the scenes in 1966 of the Grateful Dead. Just barely a year into their existence, the Grateful Dead sound like they knew what they were doing for decades on this album. The sound on this album is outstanding and done all because of one guy, Owsley Stanley or otherwise known as Bear.
Bear is known for being the soundman of the Grateful Dead. His biggest claim to fame is building the Wall of Sound, one of the largest mobile public address systems ever constructed. Little known fact, he created the skull logo for the band as well. In 2005 Bear helped put this album together with a collection of music he had. Warner Bros put this out on CD and later in 2013 this special limited edition vinyl.
I can’t tell you how much I love the Grateful Dead after listening to this album. The pure innocence of this band screams through out. The glossy vinyl gatefold package has some beautiful artwork on it and comes with a few paragraphs from Bear and Lemieux. I have one more Record Store Album but nothing will come close to how rare (only 6600 made) and exceptional this is in my collection.