Bear's Choice
Home ] Pig Pen Thru T.C. ] Pig Pen Post T.C. ] Keith '71 - '72 ] Keith '73 - '74 ] Keith '75 - '79 ] Brent '79 - '86 ] Brent '87 - '90 ] Hornsby Welnick ] Compilations ]

Download Series Family Dog
Dick's Picks 4
Bear's Choice
Family Dog 4/18/70
Dick's Picks 8
Road Trips Vol 3 No. 3
Three From The Vault
Ladies and Gentlemen
Skull and Roses
Road Trips Vol 1 No. 3
Dick's Picks Volume 35

Set List



Bear's Choice Bear's Choice_Grateful_Dead

February 1970

Various Venues

Order:  Amazon
Bears Choice Remastered - Review

History of the Grateful Dead Vol. 1, Bears Choice - Review

This music on Bearís Choice was recorded February 13 Ė 14 1970; the same dates as Dickís Picks Volume 4, that was released in March 1996, though it includes different material. The title of this CD is officially named History of the Grateful Dead, Vol. 1 (Bearís Choice), though, most fans refer to the name simply as Bear's Choice. The first five songs are acoustic and last two are electric. If you are a big Pig Pen fan this is a must have as he is featured on both of the electric songs and several of the acoustic songs. 

The two electric songs are stunning. The version of Howling' Wolf's  "Smokestack Lightnin'" is about as good as this song gets.  The jam includes an awesome tease of "New Speedway Boogie" throughout and some outstanding Garcia soloing.  

The bonus material includes four essential Pig Pen led cover songs.  Another version of "Smokestack Lightnin'" is included.  While it is marvelous in it's own way, it doesn't quite match the February 13 version from the original release.  

For the most part Bearís Choice is an unofficial tribute album to the late Pig Pen.  His real name is Ron McKernan and he passed away on March 8, 1973, at the age of 27 of liver disease.  This album is a perfect complement to Dickís Picks Volume 4 and is a huge treat for Pig Pen fans.  by Barry Small © 

Original Album - B
Bonus Material - B
Final Grade -

Order from Amazon

Bears Choice Remastered - Track list
Track List

 Top of Page

History of the Grateful Dead Vol. 1, Bears Choice
 1. Katie Mae (Hopkins) - 4:44


Fillmore East, NY
 2. Dark Hollow (Browning) - 3:52


Fillmore East, NY
  3. I've Been All Around the World (Traditional) - 4:18


Fillmore East, NY
 4. Wake Up, Little Susie (Bryant / Bryant) - 2:31


Fillmore East, NY
 5. Black Peter (Garcia / Hunter) - 7:27


Fillmore East, NY
 6. Smokestack Lightnin' (Howlin' Wolf) - 17:59


Fillmore East, NY
 7. Hard to Handle (Isbell / Jones / Redding) - 6:29


Fillmore East, NY

Bonus Tracks
 8. Good Lovin'  (Clark / Resnick) - 8:56


Fillmore East, NY
 9. Big Boss Man  (Dixon / Smith) - 4:53


Fillmore West, S.F.
 10. Smokestack Lightnin' Howlin' Wolf) - 15:11


Fillmore West, S.F.
 11. Sitting on the Top of the World (Carter / Jacobs) - 3:20  


Fillmore West, S.F.
Bears Choice Remastered - Musicians

Top of Page

Jerry Garcia - lead guitar, vocals
Bob Weir - guitar, vocals
Phil Lesh - bass, vocals
Pigpen (Ron McKernan) - keyboard, vocals, harmonica
Bill Kreutzmann - percussion
Mickey Hart - percussion

Bears Choice Remastered - Notes

Top of Page

Released 1973
Label - Warner Brothers
This CD was reissued on the box set The Golden Road with bonus tracks.
Article - A great interview with David Lemieux where he discusses The Golden Road

Bears Choice Remastered - Order