Road Trips Vol 2 No. 2
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Notes

Road Trips: Road Trips Vol 2 No. 2 Feb 14, 1968 - Grateful Dead
Vol. 2 No. 2
Feb. 14, 1968
Carousel Ballroom
  
 
 
 
Order: GDM
 
030105GratefulDead iTunes downloads

Grateful Dead Road Trip Vol 2 No. 2 - New release

Road Trips Vol. 2 No. 2: Carousel 2/14/68 

Carousel Ballroom - February 14, 1968

Less is more! The commonly circulated soundboard of the Grateful Dead's Valentine's Day 1968 concert at the Carousel Ballroom is spread over three discs. Now officially released entitled Road Trips Vol. 2 No. 2: Carousel 2/14/68 fits on two discs and even adds some key essential rarities from earlier in the year including a tasty "Viola Lee Blues." 

The sonic quality is a noticeable upgrade to the popular soundboard that so many cherished, and it was very good. Road Trips Vol. 2 No. 2: Carousel 2/14/68 was perfectly remastered from the original 8 track source tape. It is the first  complete show on CD from the Road Trip series, and I believe this is the first from  multi-track reels.

Previously there have been a number of live 1968 releases. This edition captures the Grateful Dead early in the year. This period they are emphasizing material from Anthem of the Sun. a number of blues cover songs, and other originals like "Dark Star," China Cat Sunflower."  In fact, they were sequenced together in the middle of "Dark Star," and "The Eleven" medley. A version of  "Dark Star," > "China Cat Sunflower" > "The Eleven" trio was first released on So Many Roads. Then another on Dick's Picks Volume 22. Road Trips Vol. 2 No. 2: Carousel 2/14/68 brings us the third version, and a fourth on the bonus disc if you count those. The band was also emphasizing the material from Anthem of the Sun and a number of blues cover songs. 

Upon listening to the release a few adjectives come to mind: muscular, searing, repetitive runs, innovative, dated, exciting, boring, fresh, ahead of their time, complex, mind altering, acid drenched, intense, creative, and free-flowing. I could go on. So if you handle the journey through the emotional roller coaster read on. 

The first set is around 45 minutes. It starts off with "Morning Dew." While the arrangement of the song would improve through the years both vocally and musically, these early versions have bite and intensity, and the clarity of the soundboard really benefits this rendition. The band hits on two  Pigpen led covers, along with the previously mentioned "Dark Star," > "China Cat Sunflower" > "The Eleven." Both Pigpen numbers are well played, short by Grateful Dead standards, but long for most bands. The "School Girl" is tight as the rhythm section drives it powerfully, accompanied by Jerry blues runs at the forefront.  

The short set left plenty of space for filler and the selections are sure awesome, especially the 20 minute "Viola Lee Blues." The version of "Dark Star" is interesting in that it is stand alone. A true rarity without a transition into another song. A few cover songs to enjoy. The Elmore James song, "It Hurts Me Too" at less than five minutes proves, contrary to popular opinion, the Grateful Dead could can be effective quickly if they want to. According to some press material, much or all of these selections "were recently discovered in a collection of tapes that had been languishing in a long defunct San Francisco recording studio." 

Disc two contains the complete second set, which was originally broadcasted on the radio. This performance contains the studio album Anthem of the Sun performed in sequence with the addition of a delightful instrumental entitled "Spanish Jam." Further, a R&B cover to close.

The set begins with the suite of "That's It For The Other One>
i. Cryptical Envelopment
ii. The Other One
iii. Cryptical Envelopment." The version has a real hard rock feel to it. The energy and intensity could fit on a Black Sabbath album. 

The second track, "New Potato Caboose" is a perfect representation of the era. The composition takes a basic blues shuffle, you can hear the same sequence in Freddie King's Hide Away." Though, they don't try to interpret blues riffs. Instead, this is a completely original take and frankly where the Grateful Dead really shine. 

The next track is weird. The vocal exchange reminds me of some early Frank Zappa. Lucky the song is only a few minutes, vocal harmonies are not their strong point. 

It leads to  "Spanish Jam," an awesome display of 1968 primal Grateful Dead music. Truly!!! If I was at the concert I think it would frighten me. It builds slowly, starting with a militant drum beat. In no hurry the band plays on the theme with Phil really nailing the song. He has been quoted as naming the 2/14/68 show as one of his favorites. I think this song is one reason. The intensity continues to build with Jerry attempting to match Phil with searing, penetrating, biting guitar riffs. Wow! 

Pausing briefly, the show continues with "Alligator" > "Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)" > "Feedback." The versions are well played. I always enjoy hearing the section of "Alligator" where they tackle instrumentally "There Is a Mountain," a song by Donovan. These melodic riffs would be used by the Allman Brothers Band for their live concert epic "Mountain Jam."  The transition to "Caution" is dangerously efficient.

Road Trips Vol. 2 No. 2: Carousel 2/14/68 is about as good as you can get with 1968 Grateful Dead. For the material that precedes the 1969 Fillmore material; Complete, Compilation, or Live Dead. I would rank this as the top live Grateful Dead release available. The performance is outstanding as is the mix. If that isn't enough the filler on disc one, if it's not worth shouting from the roof top about, it unquestionably deserves a letter home. 

This release is nearly perfect. The one small exception is the unavoidable patches where the reels needed flipped. Road Trips Vol. 2 No. 2: Carousel 2/14/68 is a complete show, has awesome sound, the band in fine form, and superb filler to complement the fine sounds of the featured show.

By Barry Small
Grade A +

Order: GDM

Bonus Disc
The bonus disc that came with early orders includes additional live tracks from the Northwest Tour. All of the songs were included on the featured discs, no new songs. Those these are quite rare. Much of it may not have circulated previously. The songs are a bit longer in length than the featured disc. I haven't had a chance to explore this in great detail yet. Though, from a distant listen, it comes from good quality source tape and is as lively as the featured show. The "Dark Star" has a some awesome bass on it and Phil and Jerry really get into it. 

Order: GDM

 
Grateful Dead Road Trip Vol 2 No. 2 - New release
Track List

 Top of Page

Disc 1
1. Morning Dew
2. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
3. Dark Star>
4. China Cat Sunflower>
5. The Eleven>
6. Turn On Your Lovelight
Bonus tracks from January 1968
7. Viola Lee Blues (1/20/68 Eureka)
8. Beat It On Down the Line (1/23/68 Seattle)
9. Hurts Me Too (1/23/68 Seattle)
10. Dark Star (2/2/68 Portland)

Disc 2
1. That's It For The Other One>
i. Cryptical Envelopment
ii. The Other One
iii. Cryptical Envelopment
2. New Potato Caboose>
3. Born Cross-Eyed>
4. Spanish Jam
5. Alligator>
6. Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)>
7. Feedback

Bonus CD (with early orders)
1 Viola Lee Blues (1/23/68 Seattle)
2 Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (1/20/68 Eureka)
3 New Potato Caboose (1/30/68 Eugene)
4 Dark Star> (1/23/68 Seattle)
5 China Cat Sunflower> (1/23/68 Seattle)
6 The Eleven (1/23/68 Seattle)
7 Turn On Your Lovelight (1/23/68 Seattle)
Grateful Dead Road Trip Vol 2 No. 2 - New release
Musicians:       

Top of Page

Grateful Dead

Jerry Garcia: Lead Guitar, Vocals
Mickey Hart: Drums
Bill Kreutzmann: Drums
Phil Lesh: Electric Bass, Vocals
Bob Weir: Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan - organ, harmonica, percussion, vocals 

Grateful Dead Road Trip Vol 2 No. 2 - New release
Notes:

Top of Page

Released - March 2009
Master source from 8 track reels

The liner notes essay by Blair Jackson focus on some amazing anecdotes about Neal Cassady’s powerful impact on the band.

Extra tracks including bonus disc by date
1/20/68 Eureka
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
Viola Lee Blues

1/23/68 Seattle
Viola Lee Blues
Dark Star>
China Cat Sunflower>
The Eleven
Turn On Your Lovelight
Beat It On Down the Line
Hurts Me Too

1/30/68 Eugene
New Potato Caboose

2/2/68 Portland
Dark Star

From Deadlists - set lists - (These don't seem complete)

Location Eureka, CA 
Date 1/20/68 - Saturday 
One - Clementine [#6:11] > New Potato Caboose [8:29] > Born Cross-Eyed [2:49] > Space [2:55] > Spanish Jam [8:33] > Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks) Jam [1:54] > Dark Star [3:14#] 

Location Seattle, WA 
Date 1/22/68 - Monday 
One [73:27] ; [0:12] ; 
Alligator [3:20] > (1) Drums [3:21] > Alligator [8:52] ; [0:04] ; Cryptical Envelopment (2) [#1:40] > (3) The Other One (4) [2:36] ends 4:16 > Cryptical Envelopment [3:05] > New Potato Caboose [7:54] > Born Cross-Eyed [1#:40] > Feedback [3:02] > Spanish Jam [10:04] > Dark Star [5:40] > China Cat Sunflower [4:08] > The Eleven [6:33] > Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks) [5#:03] > Feedback [4:38] > And We Bid You Goodnight [1:12] ; [0:13] 

Location Seattle, WA 
Date 1/23/68 - Tuesday 
One Cryptical Envelopment [1:42] > The Other One [2:56] > Cryptical Envelopment [3:30] > Clementine [8:44] > New Potato 
Caboose [8:#14] > Born Cross-Eyed [3:08] > Spanish Jam [5:06#] 

Location Portland, OR 
Date 2/2/68 - Friday 
One Viola Lee Blues [14:07] > Feedback ; Cryptical Envelopment [1:48] > The Other One [3:14] > Cryptical Envelopment 
[3:47] > Clementine [8:05] > Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (1) [13:55#] 

From the GD website
In the winter of 1968, the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service embarked on their first major tour of the Pacific Northwest. Now, this wasn’t an era when bands traveled in plush custom tour buses and stayed in luxury hotels. Rather it was a caravan of funky cars and semi-dilapidated equipment trucks bombing up US 101 from the Bay Area to points north and hotels that probably weren’t going to make the AAA guide book. But the bands played like beasts in Washington and Oregon, spreading San Francisco magic in an assortment of small auditoriums and ballrooms. The Dead, in particular, were really spreading their creative wings, exploring and honing what were unquestionably the most ambitious original songs they’d written to date. Their old friend Robert Hunter had penned lyrics for unusual songs called “Alligator,” “China Cat Sunflower,” “Dark Star” and “The Eleven,” and there were also mind-boggling new tunes such as “That’s It for the Other One,” “New Potato Caboose” and “Born Cross-Eyed.” Say whaaaat? 

Now, while the Dead were on the road blowing minds in places like Eureka, Seattle, Portland and Ashland, Oregon, a couple of their “people” back home were busy signing a lease that would give the Dead, Jefferson Airplane and other interested freaks, control over a fantastic new venue: San Francisco’s venerable Carousel Ballroom, a one-time Big Band dance hall that was little-used by the mid-’60s. In January, before the Northwest tour, the Dead and Quicksilver had put on a successful dance there (a “Ben Franklin’s Birthday” celebration, the poster said), but the Grand Opening of the ballroom was slated for Valentine’s Day, with the Dead and Country Joe & the Fish on the bill. One of the scene’s budding artists, Stanley Mouse, produced a poster for the event with a jug-eared, retro geek imploring his prospective romantic conquests to “Be Mine,” and a pair of local FM rock stations carried the show live on radio.

This magnificent show—long admired by Dead Heads (and the band—it’s a Phil Lesh favorite)—captures the Dead at a real turning point in their career: When they tossed out the rock rule book and truly found their own sound. They tried out nearly all their new songs that night, and everyone was amazed at how effortlessly—yet powerfully—one flowed into the next and how their sets ebbed and flowed and exploded and got quiet and covered such an incredible range of textures and emotions. This wasn’t just a good-time dance band. This was serious… and still a good time!

Because the Valentine’s Day dance was a hometown show, on the radio and also being recorded for possible use on the Dead’s then-in-progress second album, Anthem of the Sun, soundman Dan Healy captured the music on an 8-track tape machine, and this Road Trips set marks the first time that those 8-tracks have been completely, properly mixed down—by ol’ reliable, Jeffrey Norman, of course—and released (aside from a few short missing passages on the multitrack masters, which are included from another source). So forget any version you might have heard before—this is state-of-the-art ’68 Dead, and you’re gonna love it! This is also the complete show, another first for the Road Trips series. As always, the discs are mastered to the HDCD standard and the package includes an entertaining and informative historical essay.

The first set of 2/14/68 was relatively short, so we’ve also packed the last third of Disc One with a selection of tunes from the Northwest Tour that were just recently discovered in a collection of tapes that had been languishing in a long-defunct San Francisco recording studio. Alas, there were just isolated songs on reels (not full shows), and the sound is variable, but the performances are, as they say in Boston, wicked-awesome, from an almost punky “Beat It on Down the Line” to a truly hair-raising “Viola Lee Blues.” The special Bonus Disc (available to those who order from the site in a—ahem—timely manner) features more of this great material, much of which has not circulated in any form. So, if it’s rarities you want, we’ve got ’em!

Could there be a better diversion from these—or any—stressful times than this scorching set of Primal Dead? We don't think so. Impress your lovers and friends! Blow your own mind! You can find out more about the songs lineup below, and you can place your order by clicking here. 

Grateful Dead Road Trip Vol 2 No. 2 - New release
Grateful Dead Road Trip Vol 2 No. 2 - New release

 

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