To Terrapin: Hartford '77
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To Terrapin: To Terrapin: Hartford '77
May 28, 1977 Hartford '77
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
030105GratefulDead iTunes downloads
Grateful Dead - To Terrapin: Hartford '77 review

To Terrapin: Hartford '77 
Hartford Civic Center, May 28, 1977

To Terrapin: Hartford '77 is a complete concert from the Grateful Dead's May 28, 1977, performance. A very strong tour, and many fans rank it among their favorites. Previously, there have been other archive releases from this tour and To Terrapin: Hartford '77 is a welcome addition. Until now, all of the other live 1977 Grateful Dead releases been sold directly through GDM from their various series', Dick's Picks, Download, and Road Trips. To Terrapin: Hartford '77 is the first with a national distribution, which is usually for multi-track releases. Often Grateful Dead vault releases include rare live vault material to fill up the discs, but this release includes just the featured show. 

The same day as To Terrapin: Hartford '77  is released, Winterland 1973 will be released for national distribution for a limited time. It is awesome. Three shows, nine discs. 

The first set is spread out over the first two discs. The show begins in high powered fashion with two kick butt rockers, Garcia gets things rolling with "Bertha" and Weir directs us through "Good Lovin'," that transitions into "Sugaree." This is an exceptionally strong year for "Sugaree." This rendition only takes a few minutes for the band to let you know they mean business. At nearly 20 minutes, this version smokes, shreds, and delights with beauty, power, and melody. Wow! The remainder of the first disc is worthwhile. Even "Row Jimmy" has some nice moments.  I'm not kidding. The solo that wraps up around the 6 minute mark, nice. Did I mention that "Sugaree" is stunning, play it again.

The second disc continues the first set and then introduces the second. The five remaining first set songs are all common, but they exceptionally played. Bobby has two fast blues rock standards. First is "New Minglewood Blues," which swings and explodes. Jerry slows things down and takes command for an always welcome "Candyman." Phil leads us through "Passenger,"  a song that showcases slide guitar Grateful Dead style. The set concludes with Bob's other blues rock song, a Chuck Berry cover, "Promised Land"; a lively and energetic version that rocks. It is one of those kind of shows. 

The last two songs on disc two start the second set. A Bobby led song begins with a strong "Samson and Delilah." As good as it is, things get even better with "Tennessee Jed." Jerry's vocals are sweet, and the jam is tight and delivered to perfection. The band in perfect unison; love that deep fat tone Jerry uses as he leads the band through the changes; they're right there pushing and complementing. 

The third disc is the meat of this meal. Kicking things off with "Estimated Prophet." Then, plenty of exploratory jamming throughout Playing in the Band," which transitions into the theme of the release title, To Terrapin, Hartford '77.  "Terrapin Station is one of their most dynamic compositions. The song builds and builds. It is still in it's early stages at this point, but the band has a masterful handle on it, executing it to near perfection. Through time "Terrapin Station" would continue to be a show highlight as the track added key guitar hooks and vocal inflections. The two chord song, "Sugaree" worked so well during set one, the band figured they'd try another two chorder with "Not Fade Away." During the  lengthy rendition of "Not Fade Away" it's tempting to hit the skip button. Instead fast forward it towards the last few minutes as the conclusion is nice featuring the band transitioning to the next song. After some blissful teasing, they finally land into "Wharf Rat," where the band hits the highs and lows in expected delightful fashion. Bobby directs the rest of the set. First with the reprise of "Playing in the Band." No chance to catch their breath, "One More Saturday Night," boom. 

The liner notes by Gary Lambert touch on the fabulous 26 shows in 37 days, the studio album Terrapin Station, and a few other notes of interest and band photos, two by Jim Anderson

There are quite a few 1977 Grateful Dead releases. They're all worth getting.  To Terrapin: Hartford '77 ranks toward the top. The band is super tight! I didn't mention Keith in the show description, but he is nicely balanced in the mix and provides fills in the right places, one standout of his contributions is during  "Sugaree" as he locks into Jerry's solo and phrasing. That song is worth the price of admission. 

By Barry Small
Grade A - 

 
Grateful Dead - To Terrapin: Hartford '77 review
Track List

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TRACK LIST:

DISC 1
1. Bertha>
2. Good Lovin>
3. Sugaree
4. Jack Straw
5. Row Jimmy

DISC 2
1. New New Minglewood Blues
2. Candyman
3. Passenger
4. Brown Eyed Women
5. Promised Land
Set 2
6. Samson and Delilah
7. Tennessee Jed

DISC 3
1. Estimated Prophet>
2. Playing In the Band>
3. Terrapin Station>
4. Drums>
5. Not Fade Away>
6. Wharf Rat>
7. Playing In the Band
8. One More Saturday Night
Encore
9. U.S. Blues
Grateful Dead - To Terrapin: Hartford '77 review
Musicians:       

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Grateful Dead

Jerry Garcia: Lead Guitar, Vocals
Mickey Hart: Drums
Bill Kreutzmann: Drums
Phil Lesh: Electric Bass, Vocals
Bob Weir: Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Keith Godchaux: Keyboards
Donna Godchaux: Vocals

Grateful Dead - To Terrapin: Hartford '77 review
Notes:

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Release date  - April 2009
CD mastering - Jeffrey Norman
Produced by David Lemieux
Recorded by Betty Cantor-Jackson
Cover art -
Scott McDougall
Liner notes - Gary Lambert

From the Grateful Dead Website
Celebrate the Dead's final exclamation point on the legendary Spring '77 tour, all captured here from start to finish, in pristine HDCD audio. TO TERRAPIN catches the guys at the top of their game, unleashing a slew of new tunes that would "officially" debut two months later as part of TERRAPIN STATION.

Standout tracks include an especially sweet “Sugaree” that clocks in at over 21 minutes of bliss. The explorations inside the transitions are magical throughout, and one particularly mind-blowing moment comes between “Not Fade Away” and “Wharf Rat.”

There’s something very special about the energy level here. It stays high from the moment they hit the stage, to clear through the encore. It’s no wonder so many Dead Heads will point to this night in Hartford as one of the “best EVER!”

More from the Grateful Dead Website
Whether or not the fabled spring tour of 1977 was, as many Dead Heads believe, the strongest Grateful Dead tour ever, it was unquestionably a magical time stuffed-to-overflowing with amazing shows. Say the word “Cornell” to any hardcore Head and it means one thing—the 5/8/77 show at Barton Hall on the august school’s campus. But there were numerous other stops on the tour that produced monster shows, as well, from the five-night run at the Palladium in New York, to the incredible Fox Theatre in Atlanta (5/19 was part of the two-show Dick’s Picks #29), to the two Florida shows—Lakeland and Pembroke Pines (Dick’s Picks #29 and Dick’s Picks #3, respectively)—Tuscaloosa, Richmond… the tour was a scorcher from beginning to end.

What was up? Well, by the spring of ’77, the Dead had been back on the road for nearly a year following their famous performing hiatus, so Mickey Hart was thoroughly re-integrated into the band, and the septet was hitting a new stride. There was a handful of great new songs being integrated into the repertoire, including Garcia and Hunter’s complex, epic “Terrapin Station” suite, Weir and John Barlow’s cool, off-kilter reggae tune “Estimated Prophet,” and Phil and Peter Monk’s rollicking “Passenger.” Those songs would form the core of the album that the Dead were recording in the winter of ’77 with producer Keith Olsen down in Los Angeles. Olsen was a sharp guy with good ears (as they say in the biz), and he worked the Dead hard in the studio, forcing them to play perhaps a bit more precisely than they were accustomed to. Now, one can endlessly debate whether the result of Olsen’s approach was ultimately an album that was a tad too precise—a criticism even the band leveled at Terrapin Station—but all the laboring over parts and arrangements in the studio seemed to have an extremely positive impact on how the band played live that spring.

Which brings us to Hartford, Connecticut on the night of May 28, 1977—the final night of this Tour for the Ages, and the source of our latest release, To Terrapin. You’d never know from listening to this show that the band had been on the road for more than a month and 25 previous concerts, because it has that sparkle and intensity the band only had when it was fresh, feelin’ good and in full exploration mode. From the rippin’ “Bertha” > “Good Lovin’” > “Sugaree” trifecta opening, through the spectacular second set sequence comprised of “Playing in the Band,” a brisk and buoyant “Terrapin,” a fantastic one-of-a-kind “Not Fade Away,” “Wharf Rat,” and the “Playing reprise.” Definitely the band at its best!

So, why put this out now? Why the hell not? And what’s with all the questions? Just enjoy it. OK, aside from it being a classic show worthy of release, we thought it might be fun to revisit a concert played in one of the venues The Dead are hitting this spring on their tour—that would be the Hartford Civic (now the XL Center) on 4/26/09… why, that’s the 31-year, 11-month, 2-day anniversary show of this epic ’77 show! Anyway, this three-disc complete show release has been lovingly mastered to HDCD specs from the original reel-to-reel tapes by Jeffrey Norman utilizing the usual array of mysterious black boxes and sonic tools unavailable to us mere mortals. Artist Scott McDougal, who’s done such a bang-up job for us on the Road Trips series, has designed a beautiful package, and the always erudite Gary Lambert has contributed a fine essay which is accompanied by glorious photos of the band in Hartford in 1977. 

Grateful Dead - To Terrapin: Hartford '77 review
Grateful Dead - To Terrapin: Hartford '77 review

 

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