Greg’s Grab Bag – Grateful Dead/Tim Buckley/George Jones
Greg’s Grab Bag
Grateful Dead – Winterland, June 1977: The Complete Recordings
Many Grateful Dead fans consider the band’s June 1977 run at Bill Graham’s Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco one of the strongest in the storied history of the group. It is no surprise then that the new 9-disc set documenting those three performances is one of the more highly anticipated releases from a band known for churning out archival concert recordings.
There’s a good reason Deadheads speak with reverent tones when discussing the band’s live output from 1977. After a touring hiatus in 1975 and an abbreviated live schedule in 1976, a revitalized Grateful Dead was firing on all cylinders in ‘77.
Midway through the year and immediately following an extensive 26-show swing through the Northeast, Midwest and South, the band members returned home to San Francisco to rest their bones before resuming their tour schedule in September. As a final send-off before summer vacation, the band rocked the Winterland Ballroom for three epic evenings.
Mastered from the original soundboard reels and presented in HDCD format, the 68 tracks on Winterland, June 1977: The Complete Recordings capture these three performances in their entirety and reveal a band surging with confidence and energy – seven talented individuals functioning as a cohesive unit.
The setlists from the run feature the band’s finest work from the 1970s including “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” and “Eyes Of The World” from 1973’s Wake Of The Flood; “Scarlet Begonias” from 1974’s Grateful Dead From The Mars Hotel; “ “Help On The Way,” “Slipknot!” and “Franklin’s Tower” from 1975’s Blues For Allah and “Estimated Prophet,” “Samson And Delilah” and “Terrapin Station” from Terrapin Station, a studio album that would be released a little over a month after the Winterland shows.
As a band with over 70+ live recordings in its catalog, it is really impossible to single out individual releases as being “the best.” That said, you would be hard-pressed to find an example that better demonstrates the power wielded by the Grateful Dead on-stage than Winterland, June 1977: The Complete Recordings.
Tim Buckley – Live At The Folklore Center, NYC: March 6th, 1967
The Tompkins Square Records label has produced one of the more interesting albums of the year with Tim Buckley’s Live At The Folklore Center, NYC: March 6th, 1967. This set affords listeners a rare opportunity to enjoy a complete Buckley performance in the months following the December 1966 release of his self-titled debut album on Elektra Records.
Izzy Young, a seminal figure in American folk music history and the man who opened and operated the Folklore Center in Greenwich Village, captured this 16-song set for posterity using a simple field tape recorder. While the audio quality of the album may not be ideal, it is easily overshadowed by the both the power and tenderness of Buckley’s performance and the overall vibe of the evening. Young estimates that roughly 35 people attended this concert and it is clear they witnessed a special show.
Although Buckley’s take on Fred Neil’s “Dolphins” is memorable, the real highlights from this set are the six original compositions that have never been released on any of Buckley’s previous live albums or studio recordings including the hard-charging “Country Boy” and the beautiful “Cripples Cry.”
George Jones – A Collection Of My Best Recollection
Country music living legend George Jones is the latest artist to release an album exclusively through the Cracker Barrel chain of restaurants. Jones’ new 12-song collection combines some of his biggest hits with two previously unreleased recordings, giving both casual and diehard fans more than enough reasons to pick up the album.
Country classics like “White Lightning,” “The Window Up Above,” “The Race Is On” and “He Stopped Lovin’ Her Today” fit nicely beside the cheating ballad “I Really Don’t Want To Know” and Jones’ cover of Hank Williams’ “Long Gone Daddy,” the two new tracks on this collection.
While it is certainly not a complete retrospective, A Collection Of My Best Recollection provides a nice little snapshot of George Jones’ 40+ year career in country music.
Until next time, enjoy the music!