2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Grateful Dead and there were many projects to celebrate the occasion: concerts, CD anthologies and boxsets, documentaries, DVDs/Blu-rays, and more. But the Dead did not release their first studio album until 1967 and Rhino is celebrating that anniversary with a new 2-disc version of The Grateful Dead on January 20, 2017. And Rhino promises that this release is just the start of a massive new reissue campaign focused on the band.
The Grateful Dead: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition presents the original album on Disc 1 and an unreleased concert from July 29, 1966 in Vancouver, Canada on Disc 2. The first disc has been remastered from the original tapes by David Glasser and restored via Plangent Processes (a tape transfer technique which has been used on other Dead projects). The second disc has been mastered by Jeffrey Norman. Exact packaging has not been revealed, but the reissue will feature new liner notes by Jesse Jarnow. And also being released on the same day is 12-inch picture disc LP limited to 10,000 copies featuring the remastered version of the original album.
The Grateful Dead’s studio catalogue has of course been reissued before, most notably as two box sets and individual releases back in the early 2000s. The version of The Grateful Dead in the 2001 box set The Golden Road (1965-1973) and 2003 individual release featured 6 bonus tracks (5 studio tracks and 1 live track), all of which appear to have been dropped for this new reissue. That edition also substituted longer versions of the songs “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl,” “Sitting on Top of the World,” “Cream Puff War” and “New, New Minglewood Blues” in the album sequence. The new remaster appears to feature the original versions of these tracks.
But that is just the beginning. Rhino is promising that this release is kicking off a campaign to reissue all of the Grateful Dead’s live and studio albums, timed to each individual album’s 50th anniversary (meaning that this campaign will not get through the studio albums until around 2039). Presumably, each reissue will be in a similar format to The Grateful Dead. A limited edition picture disc of the original album will also accompany each release.
In addition, The Grateful Dead 7-Inch Singles Collection is being launched in 2017 as a subscription service through the band’s website dead.net. The plan with this campaign is to reissue all of the group’s 27 original singles as new 7-inch colored editions limited to 10,000 copies. The first release will be on March 1 with the debut single originally from 1966: “Stealin b/w Don’t Ease Me In.” The current plan is for each release to be quarterly, meaning that this approximately a 7 year campaign.
We’ve got Rhino’s full press release below with a few more details together with the tracklisting and pre-order links if you’d like to start another long, strange trip with the Grateful Dead.
LOS ANGELES – To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band’s debut album, the Grateful Dead will launch a special album reissue series in January 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. The celebration begins with the January 20 release of THE GRATEFUL DEAD: 50th ANNIVERSARY DELUXE EDITION. The set will be available for $19.98 and includes the original album – newly remastered from the original tapes by David Glasser, and restored by Plangent Processes – along with a bonus disc that features the complete unreleased concert from July 29, 1966 and select cuts from July 30, 1966 at the P.N.E. Garden Auditorium in British Columbia, mastered by Jeffrey Norman. On the same day, the newly remastered version of The Grateful Dead will also be available as a 12-inch picture disc, limited to 10,000 copies worldwide, for $21.98.
The band recorded and mixed THE GRATEFUL DEAD in five 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 two 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, the Grateful Dead will launch a special reissue series in 2017 that 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 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: “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 launched today 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, kicks 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.”
Grateful Dead, The Grateful Dead: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Rhino, 2017)
Disc One: Original Album (Originally released as Warner Bros. LP WS 1689, 1967)
- The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)
- Beat It On Down The Line
- Good Morning Little School Girl”
- Cold Rain & Snow
- Sitting On Top Of The World
- Cream Puff War
- Morning Dew
- New, New Minglewood Blues
- Viola Lee Blues
Disc 2: P.N.E. Garden Auditorium, Vancouver, BC, Canada 7/29/66
- Standing On The Corner
- Know You Rider
- Next Time You See Me
- Sitting On Top of The World
- You Don’t Have To Ask
- Big Boss Man
- Cardboard Cowboy
- Baby Blue
- Cream Puff Wars
- Viola Lee Blues
- It On Down The Line
- Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”
- Cold, Rain and Snow 15. One Kind Favor 16. Hey Little One 17. New Minglewood Blues