Thoughts On The Dead

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

An Open Letter To Kidd Candelario In 1972

Dear Kidd Candelario in 1972,

Hi. How are you? I’m fine, but the future is terrible. You should stay in 1972.

Anyway, when you are recording Dead shows in 1972, could you please turn Keith up? Betty made me Keith really loud, except by the time Betty took over the tape deck, Keith was playing kinda shitty some nights. In 1972, however, Keith was a god; you cannot hear him.

To reiterate: make Keith louder. Also, if this letter reaches you in the first half of 1972, then you need to stop the Olympics. I don’t know how that might be accomplished, but if anyone can get the Olympics cancelled, it’s the Dead. If you are reading this in the latter half of the year, then I am sorry about what happened at the Olympics.



  1. The Central Shaft

    May 3, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Thank God, then, that it’s not just me. I’ve tried like Hell to hear Keith when listening to that era and my old, rock&roll abused ears cannot find him between or among the two guitars. A common enough problem, I know, for the piano’s range, but I’ve wanted to hear what Keith was doing.

    I know Betty recorded Europe ’72, but I have a similar problem there. The one standout is the Bickershaw festival show (5/7/72), where Keith sounds like he is playing a honky-tonk piano with tacked hammers. Knowing this was not the case, I could only educate myself of the source of the sound. I concluded that the Countryman electrostatic pickup he was using was affected by what appears to be, from all photographs and remembrances of the day, a typically foggy and damp English spring afternoon.

    • I’ve always thought the Countryman pickup was born in 1974 because of the Wall of Sound. Pianos were usually amplified by aiming microphones at the strings but because of the Wall of Sound, this was unfeasible. Carl Countryman then fashioned a pickup for Keith’s piano that went on to become and industry standard.

      But if I’m wrong, please enlighten me.

      • The Central Shaft

        May 4, 2016 at 12:24 am

        You can definitely see the Countryman in all the pics and films of Europe 72. The five knob control box (for the five separate pickups) is always perched on top of the grand piano. Prominently featured in the Beat Club video if you’ve seen that.

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