Five-CD Grateful Dead Set To Feature Live Tracks, Rarities

So Many Roads (1965-1995) will chronicle career of psychedelic-rock band.

Four years after the pioneering psychedelic-rock outfit disbanded, a

five-CD set of Grateful Dead material will give the group's die-hard fans

40 tracks of live, unreleased and rare material chronicling the band's

30-year career.

The sprawling So Many Roads (1965-1995), more than three-quarters

of which is taken from live shows, will also contain previously unreleased

studio rehearsals for what would have been the group's final album. It

also includes what is believed to be one of the last Dead songs penned

by late singer/guitarist Jerry Garcia.

"The notion of creating a deep historical retrospective of the Dead's

30-year career has been floating around the organization for a couple of

years," one of the album's co-producers, Steve Silberman, said. The

41-year-old Wired magazine editor said the original idea was to

do three 10-CD box sets, each representing a decade of the band's career

— which, he said, would still not have sufficed.

The set kicks off with "Can't Come Down" and "Caution (Do Not Stop on

Tracks)," a pair of songs recorded in November 1965 by the band's early

incarnation, the Warlocks. It ends with a live take of "So Many Roads,"

recorded at the band's final performance, at Soldier Field in Chicago on

July 9, 1995, a month before Garcia died.

"To do a retrospective of their career in five CDs is like doing a history

of Western cinema in an hour and a half," Silberman said. But, along with

Mix magazine editor Blair Jackson and David Gans, host of the

syndicated show "The Grateful Dead Radio Hour," Silberman said he began

the process earlier this year.

The results, he said, show the band evolving from one influenced by R&B

and jug-band music, through frantic, almost punk-sounding tracks such as

1966's "Cream Puff War," into an ensemble of improvisatory "scientists"

who used the live arena as their laboratory.

Among the rarities on the set is a lengthy jam treasured by Deadheads as

one of the holy grails of live taping, according to Silberman. It's from

a rehearsal for a July 1973 rock festival in Watkins Glen, N.Y. "They

turned up the day before the show," Silberman said of what was then the

largest rock concert ever held in the United States. "And they played

an exuberant set of spontaneous music that tapers revere as one of their

classic sets."

Other rarities include two unreleased outtakes from the sessions for the

band's last studio album, Built to Last (1989) — "Believe It

or Not" and "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines." The latter was played live

only twice, according to Silberman.

The set's final CD showcases six songs intended for an album that was

never completed because of Garcia's death.

The unreleased songs range from live versions of "Way to Go Home,"

"Liberty" and the title track, to rehearsal takes of "Lazy River Road,"

"Eternity," a jam on "Days Between," a rehearsal of that song, and the

traditional folk tune "Whiskey in the Jar."

The band's longtime spokesperson, Dennis McNally, said he was not involved

with the creation of the set, but he thinks fans will likely find material

on it that's missing from their collections.

McNally called the tracks "odd stuff that's never quite been on record

like this before, and it's the cool stuff."

The set's release will come nearly four months after the Aug. 6 death of

the group's 56-year-old legendary archivist, Dick Latvala. The longtime

Grateful Dead fan archived the band's music through his popular Dick's

Picks series of remastered live recordings. The 15th volume of the

series is slated for release in the fall.

The group's fans, known as Deadheads, are a notoriously loyal bunch,

known for following the Dead around the world to catch their shows and

for their epic parties/bazaars held in parking lots before, during and

after concerts. Some have continued to follow the band's various offshoots

— including the Other Ones, Mickey Hart's Planet Drum and guitarist

Bob Weir's RatDog — since Garcia's death.

The group, which originally comprised Garcia, guitarist Weir and late

keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, first took root as Mother McCree's

Uptown Jug Champions in 1964 in Northern California. With the addition

of bassist Phil Lesh and drummer Bill Kreutzmann, they became the Warlocks

in 1965, emerging as the house band for Ken Kesey's Acid Test LSD happenings

in San Francisco at the time.

They renamed themselves the Grateful Dead later that year and became one

of the leading lights of 1967's Summer of Love with their blend of

communal ideology and improvisational, psychedelic rock epics. For the

next three decades, the band crisscrossed the country playing expansive

sets of such originals as the epic "Dark Star" (RealAudio

excerpt) as well as such cover songs as the traditional bluegrass

number "I Know You Rider."

Mark Kraitchman, an Oakland, Calif., veteran of more than 400 Dead shows

and the owner of more than 1,000 live tapes, said in an e-mail that he

would have loved to see a more comprehensive multivolume set.

"Not only will the box set be a great collection of music from soundchecks,

concerts, demos and studio recordings," wrote Kraitchman, who contributes

to the live-show archive site DeadLists, "the hardcover booklet will be

worth having due to its unpublished photos and essays by scholarly


The full track listing for So Many Roads:

Disc One: "Can't Come Down," "Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)," "You

Don't Have to Ask," "On the Road Again," "Cream Puff War," "I Know You

Rider," "The Same Thing," "Dark Star/China Cat Sunflower/The Eleven,"

"Clementine," "Mason's Children" and "To Lay Me Down"

Disc Two: "That's It for the Other One," "Beautiful Jam," "Chinatown

Shuffle," "Sing Me Back Home," "Watkins Glen Soundcheck Jam" and "Dark

Star Jam/Spanish Jam/U.S. Blues"

Disc Three: "Eyes of the World," "The Wheel," "Stella Blue," "Estimated

Prophet," "The Music Never Stopped" and "Shakedown Street"

Disc Four: "Cassidy," "Hey Pocky Way," "Believe It or Not," "Playing in

the Band," "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines," "Death Don't Have No Mercy,"

"Scarlet Begonias/Fire on the Mountain," "Bird Song" and "Jam Out of


Disc Five: "Terrapin Station," "Jam Out of Foolish Heart," "Way to Go

Home," "Liberty," "Lazy River Road," "Eternity," "Jam Into Days Between,"

"Days Between," "Whiskey in the Jar" and "So Many Roads."