GRATEFUL DEAD And Robert Hunter Flesh Out Their 1974 Nuggets

1974 was a busy year in the GRATEFUL DEAD camp: not only the ensemble per se released “From The Mars Hotel” – their lucky seventh album which gave the band the highest chart position to that date – but also Robert Hunter, the collective’s primary lyricist, issued his solo debut, “Tales Of The Great Rum Runners”: the two classics bound to see deluxe editions in June – respectively, on the 21st and the 7th – both remastered and expanded, even though not without a few questionable choices.

The choices in question concern mostly the DEAD record. While it’s good to have two of the three discs dedicated to the group’s contemporary concert at University of Nevada, the first one features only two demos as bonus tracks, meaning three studio cuts attached to the album’s 2004/2006 reissue have been left off, so a new variant of “Hotel” is not definitive at all – just like the recent anniversary reemergence of "Wake Of The Flood" whence a certain demo was omitted. Deadheads will embrace it anyway, of course.

From The Mars Hotel:
50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

CD 1:
1. U.S. Blues
2. China Doll
3. Unbroken Chain
4. Loose Lucy
5. Scarlet Begonias
6. Pride Of Cucamonga
7. Money Money
8. Ship Of Fools
9. China Doll
10. Wave That Flag

CD 2 – Live at University of Nevada, Reno, NV, 5/12/74:
1. Sugaree
2. Mexicali Blues
3. Tennessee Jed
4. Jack Straw
5. Brown-eyed Women
6. Beat It On Down The Line
7. China Cat Sunflower
8. I Know You Rider
9. El Paso
10. U.S. Blues
11. Greatest Story Ever Told
12. It Must Have Been The Roses
13. Me And Bobby Mcgee
14. Deal

CD 3 – Live at University of Nevada, Reno, NV, 5/12/74:
1. Around And Around
2. Mississippi Half-step Uptown Toodeloo
3. Truckin’
4. The Other One
5. Row Jimmy
6. Big River
7. Ship Of Fools
8. Sugar Magnolia

Hunter’s longplay is of more interest, and not only because it signals the start of Robert’s reissue programme, but also because it sheds a light of this musician who’s mostly remembered for being a wordsmith and finds him accompanied by Bay Area’s prominent players, including the DEAD’s Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart, David Freiberg of QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE and JEFFERSON STARSHIP fane, Barry Melton, The Fish of COUNTRY JOE AND THE FISH, and Buddy Cage of NEW RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE. With a whole disc of extra material, there’s a lot to get immersed in.

Tales Of The Great Rum Runners:
50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

CD 1:
1. Lady Simplicity
2. That Train
3. Dry Dusty Road
4. I Heard You Singing
5. Rum Runners
6. Children’s Lament
7. Maybe She’s A Bluebird
8. Boys In The Barroom
9. It Must Have Been The Roses
10. Arizona Lightning
11. Standing At Your Door
12. Mad
13. Keys To The Rain

CD 2:
1. Boys In The Barroom (alternate version)
2. Elijah
3. The Word
4. Rum Runners (alternate version)
5. It Must Have Been The Roses (alternate version)
6. Road Hog
7. Green Briar Song
8. Reelin’ And A-Pitchin’
9. Briney Deep
10. Children’s Lament (alternate version)
11. Lady Simplicity (alternate version)
12. Southern Fried Shuffle
13. West Virginia Steel Guitar
14. Buck Dancer’s Choice
15. Boats
16. Keys To The Rain (alternate version)

April 15, 2024

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