Release and Dick Latvala interview
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (mark kraitchman)
Subject: Dick's Picks
Since so many people have asked me what is Dick's
Picks and who is Dick, I thought I would forward
the following info (which should answer the above questions)...
Here is the official press release from Grateful Dead Records!
FromEven Deeper InTheVaultComes...Dick'sPicks!
Famous in song and story are the world's great
repositories of hidden riches; There's Fort Knox, King Tut's Tomb,
The Wreck of the Titanic...and, of course, the Grateful Dead Tape
Vault. Happily, in recent years, some of the latter's treasures have
begun to see the light of day, in the form of Grateful Dead Records'
highly successful "From The Vault" series. The first
two releases were the answer to a Deadhead's prayers: a pair of the
very best shows from the band's stash of multitrack masters,
impeccably mixed and mastered for optimum sound quality. Ever since
then, music-starved tapeheads have been clamoring for Vault #3,
wondering what show would yield a worthy successor to 1 and 2...
...aye, there's the rub: given the Grateful Dead's
famously fanatical perfectionism about such things, the broad
diversity of ideas and opinions among band members, and the
incredibly high standards set by those first two releases, it's
pretty hard to settle on said worthy successor. A few strong
candidates were proposed, but none that everyone agreed was as
pristine as Vaults 1 and 2. So Vault 3 might be a little while
coming, kids. But fear not, sound-hounds -- for out of the void,
into the breach, leaps...DICK'S PICKS!
So who's Dick? And just what has he picked?
"Dick's Picks" is a new series of
releases on the way from Grateful Dead Records. And Dick is Dick
Latvala, one of the original Dead tapers. Among those notorious
"picky Deadheads", Dick is one of the pickiest -- by his
own admission, he's spent an alarming portion of his life wired to a
tape deck, compulsively sifting through countless hours of Grateful
Dead music, searching for those golden moments when the band unties
the Gordian Knot,
finds the Holy Grail, strums the Lost Chord. Luckily, like many of
us in Grateful Dead Land, Dick was able to turn his obsession into a
job -- since 1985, he's been the official keeper of the Dead's tape
archive, performing the heroic task of organizing nearly three
decades of recorded music -- a job which requires the combined
skills of a curator, archaeologist and detective. And Dick has a
special affinity for a certain kind of tape: not
the relatively high-tech multi-track items, you've heard on the
first two Vault releases. No, these come from somewhere deeper,
darker -- down in the cobwebbed catacombs, across the
alligator-infested moat -- that's where you'll find "Dick's
This is the real, raw stuff. Recorded direct to
two-track, with no chance to "fix it in the mix". You hear
it just like they played it -- to borrow Phil Lesh's pet phrase,
this is the Grateful Dead "warts and all". There are also
good old-fashioned glitches, splices and gaps due to reel changes.
In other words, you won't get the complete show -- some editorial
surgery has been necessary. But combine Dick's keen ear for a hot
tape, the excellent quality of the source recording and the fact
that mastering and editing has been placed in the hands of the
Grateful Dead's studio alchemists, and we've got a "live"
The first "Dick's Picks" is from the
Dead's final show of 1973, on December 19, at Curtis Hixon
Convention Center in Tampa, FL. This is a period that Latvala
describes as "chock full of killer shows". During this
time various members of the Dead family took turns taping shows, and
stalwart crew member Bill "Kidd" Candelario turned out a
particularly impressive batch, of which
this is among the best. We won't try to describe just what gets
played here, but believe us, it gets PLAYED!
Dick's Picks #1" is a must-have item for any serious Deadhead
(like you, we'll wager) and will be available by mail order only on
a soon-to-be announced date. Stay tuned to the Grateful Dead hotline
for further developments.
*****************cd track listing*****
Dick's Picks, Volume 1 - 12/19/73 Tampa, Florida
Here Comes Sunshine
Weather Report Suite
Big Railroad Blues
Playing in the Band
Nobody's Fault But Mine->
The Other One->
Around and Around
**************************excerpt from David Gan's
interview with Dick posted on
the Well Thu 7 Oct 93
DL: When these shows were recorded, they weren't
recorded for the purpose of someday releasing them live, as live
shows. They were recorded so the band could hear them afterward and
see, and hear how they performed. Kidd's job was to not only mix
that the recording, but take care of Keith's equipment, so we have
lots of responsibility on him to do both jobs and in that time
see--you know, he'd be busy with Keith, a reel would run out, and
you'd miss ten minutes of something or a couple songs, [and] there's
millions of technical problems in that era. It's important just to
understand that these tapes weren't made with the purpose of
releasing them. So editing them becomes a necessity ... sorry,
folks, but that's the way it's going to be. They're not going to
release material that has got glitches in it or doesn't have one of
the mics turned up high enough or something. So
we're going to have some shows that have a lot of really good things
in them, but the recording might have been screwed up so we can't
So you say, why 12/19/73? It was as good as any.
You name another date and, you know, I could tell you why maybe I
didn't choose that one. But 12/19 particularly had a lot going for
DG: Among the missing items from the set list,
according to Deadbase, is the song Sugar Shack.
DL: Yes, that is missing on the master itself. It
is not there. I was
looking for it. It's even written on the tape box, but it wasn't
DG: That's a shame.
DL: I have no idea what happened there.
DG: So unless somebody's got an audience tape out
there, we'll never
DL: Yes, we'd love to hear what that was like. I'm
sure it was only a
second or two.
But anyway, like this first set you were
mentioning. It is edited.
And it became apparent to me and others--me and John and Cutler and
Jeffrey Norman, who were working on this--that each CD should have a
life of its own. This isn't an attempt to recapture the total
picture or the whole show. It's a picture of the show, or the best
of the show idea, and so it has an entity of its own so we tried to
make that disc one have the feel of a first set, but you'll notice
that Weather Report is thrown in there and that is actually from the
DG: And so is Mississippi Halfstep, actually.
DL: Yes, right.
DG: So you rearranged a few things to give it sort
of the contour of a first set even though it's not, strictly
DL: Right. Right. And, yeah, it's not going to
ever be literal just
like it happened on the show itself. You can check DeadBase or your
audience tapes for those things.
DG: Well, I've maintained all along that it was
going to have to be
edited. I can't recall ever hearing a Grateful Dead show that was
perfect from start to finish. In fact, One from the Vault is one of
the few shows that every moment really is great.
DL: It was. Yeah, yeah, that's amazing.
DG: So it doesn't surprise me and it doesn't
particularly annoy me
that the Grateful Dead have decided to present an edited version of
this. I think it's in their own interests, and if I were the
musician responsible, I would certainly want the right to hold back
things that I thought weren't excellent and worthwhile.
DL: And believe me, there are. Each musician has
those feelings and can make decisions about this at any point, which
is another one of the obstacles I faced in getting this one out. To
me, this is a coup.
This is a real coup to get this material out of the vault. We shall
see what happens but, depending on the response to this, you know,
more shall follow, I'm sure. But when it becomes real personal--like
imagine if you are the one doing this music, how would you feel if
you have embarrassing pictures out in the world of yourself. You
know, I mean, there has to be some editing.
***More interview excerpts posted by David Gans on
Wed 13 Oct 93
DG: Do you have a sense of how often these releases will be coming
DL: At this point, no. This is really an
experiment, this first one, to see how it does, because no one has a
clue as to how much interest there is out there to get at this
material. This is only mail order, you see. It's not going to be in
record stores. So this will be like a little private club, so to
speak, you know, that is willing to go that extra mile for the
really good stuff.
DG: So if this first one does well, obviously the
Grateful Dead will see the interest and be willing to put out some
DL: Absolutely. That's what I hope.
DG: Right. You know what that means, listeners.
DG: Oh, how does this affect Dan Healy's plans for
additional "From the Vault" releases from multitrack?
DL: That doesn't affect it at all as far as I can
tell. At his whim
he can go in and attack those multitracks any time. There aren't
that many, though. That's one of the problems we ran into with it
last year: there's only a limited amount of multitracks. So that's
why I think the two-tracks are very exciting, you know. It's just
that you have to wade through it. Every show isn't a killer.
DG: Well, they picked the right guy for the job.
DL: Well, thanks, David. I feel like I'm just the
luckiest person on
earth. I know there could be any number of you out there doing this
just as well, but I happen to be here, the one doing it, so that's
my goal, to get the great stuff out.
DG: I feel kind of the same way about my gig, you
know, but you've been a great associate. It's been great fun. You're
the guy that I work with when I go into the vault to get out tapes
and it's always been really fun to go in there with you and to
compare notes, and I think our knowledge and our tastes are
complementary enough that we always have a good time when we're
poking around in there.
DL: Yeah, well, we have the same goal--let's get
this stuff out to the public, to everyone who wants it and needs it.
These rushes are what it's about.