Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

1972 Blowing Up Inside My Mind

Dave’s Picks 11 came in via FedEx today. (FedEx is my nickname for the illegal torrent site I immorally steal people’s hard work off of) and it’s a peach of a slam dunk of a roller coaster ride of an incoherent cliché.

The production quality alone is so good that obvious truths reveal themselves: a Strat simply sounds different from a Gibson 335. The distinct, but complementary, timbres by themselves make up a huge part of the Dead’s sound, but–and this is only focussing on Garcia and Bobby’s interplay, mind you– the way Bobby stays out of Garcia’s way, staying to the slashing upper-register chords that he seemed to invent and perfect in the early 70’s, was the kind of stuff that Keith Richards and Mick Taylor only dreamed about.

To some, Bobby’s playing has always been as interesting as Garcia’s; to others, this is blasphemy, but this latest DaP lets you make up your own mind about things.


  1. It’s taken me a little while now, but I now desperately want Enthusiasts with some musical sophistication to understand this about Bobby. He should be at or near the top of the list for rhythm guitarists. Part of the problem for me has been finding him in various mixes. Listen to the first set of Dave’s Picks 9 (the Montana show) on headphones. Bobby is all over the left channel and you can hear EXACTLY what he’s doing for the whole set, with Keith conveniently given the same clarity on the right. Bobby is a monster.

  2. Yes, to the original writer and to Garner, on all counts! This show happened one month from the first one I saw at the Fox Theater in St. Louis. Here is what makes you so right:

    1) This is an Owlsley mix, as was this whole fall run. He knew exactly how to create a great stereo mix for a band in a small theater from the first night. At the Fox, where thay had played before, and where I saw the second of three shows in October, the mix was absolutely dialed in! I spent the next 165 shows searching for that sound!

    2) It’s totally true that the combination of these guitars is made in heaven. They lock in, but never step on each others toes.

    3) It’s also true that especially after 1980, Dan Healy absolutely buried Bob in the mix during almost every show. With Brent occupying so much middle and Jerry dominating the top, Dan got lazy with the mix a lot. And remember, he had to deal with listening to Bob’s slide “playing” EVERY show in 78-79!!
    So he gets some understanding for turning it down thereafter.

    4) People who saw the band in 70-71 on the west coast have describes Bob’s best shows as being “The Keith Richards of the West Coast” and there are tapes from that era that really document that claim.

  3. What’s the torrent site you’re using? I missed the opportunity to purchase this release. 🙁

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