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CAN TAYLOR DO IT AGAIN?
What does Vegas think? (8/20a)
HEAVY WEATHER:
RAINMAKERS II
This is no ordinary doorstop. (8/19a)
END OF THE "ROAD," BILLIE GETS HER FIRST #1
Kids these days... (8/19a)
A PRESEASON
HITS LIST
The biz is getting its game face on. (8/19a)
GRAMMY CHEW: COMING IN
UNDER THE WIRE
More speculation over lox and bagels (8/19a)
HEAT!
Seriously, we can't take off any more clothes at the office.
DOLDRUMS!
Nothing doing.       
LUNCH!
Well, what do YOU want?      
VACATION!
Badly needed.     
Critics' Choice
INTRODUCING THE DEAD
1/27/17

Deadheads who haven't yet checked out Rhino's reissue of The Grateful Dead, the band's 1967 Warner Bros. debut album (the first in a planned series of lavish 50th anniversary releases), will get a chuckle out of this: the version of "I Know You Rider" on the accompanying live disc clocks in at 3:14. 

Considering you could drive from one end of California to the other while listening to a typical Dead rendition of the song from the 70s, 80s or 90s, the timing is noteworthy. The two shows on disc 2, from Vancouver in 1966, find the band in fine psychedelic fettle but still confining their longform workouts to a couple of tracks that made the first set, "Cream Puff War" and "Viola Lee Blues." 

It's fascinating to hear this version of the band on the edge of codifying its identity. The album, meanwhile, remains a remarkably vibrant picture of the era. The band kicks off the proceedings with stellar original "The Golden Road (to Unlimited Devotion)," which provided the name for a great local beer, years later; in addition to putting their trippy stamp on a handful of blues standards, they also issued the brilliantly adapted "New, New Minglewood Blues."

Things are largely fleet and grooving, preceding as they do the fully lysergic experimentation that would come before the flowering of the Dead's magnificent Americana in the early 70s. Jerry Garcia's guitar is simply blistering and Pigpen's organ riffs are quintessential. Bill Kreutzmann is the sole drummer this time out, and keeps things in the proper dance time for hippies.

The Vancouver material boasts some gems not on the album, including the charming "You Don't Have to Ask" and Phil Lesh's "Cardboard Cowboy" as well as a take on Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue."

The set is of course accompanied by a booklet full of stellar photos and a lovely essay by Jesse Jarnow.

Once again, Mark Pinkus and Team Rhino have made a vital contribution to Deadhead life and lore.