Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I'd Love To Turn You On #31 - T. Rex – Electric Warrior (1971)

I discovered T. Rex about ten years ago when a friend loaned me 20th Century Boy: The Ultimate Collection. Turned off initially by the bongos and seemingly nonsensical ramblings of singer Marc Bolan something about their assured style compelled me nonetheless. After my third listen the bizarre, sexually charged, and charming Bolan had me hooked and I began seeking out whatever T. Rex and Tyrannosaurus Rex (their earliest incarnation) albums I could find. As is the case with most fans of T. Rex, after listening to the majority of their catalogue all roads inevitably led me to their 1971 masterpiece Electric Warrior.
Hailing from England, Bolan and T. Rex were massively popular in their homeland where Electric Warrior reached the #1 spot on the British charts. Though it reached the #32 spot on the American charts, most Americans only remember them for their mildly successful single "Bang a Gong (Get It On)." And, while "Bang a Gong" is an endlessly catchy song, it barely scratches the surface of what makes Electric Warrior a front-to-back classic.
The album opens with "Mambo Sun" and instantly lures the listener into Bolan's seductive and whimsical web, as he lets the ladies know "beneath the mambo sun, I got to be the one with you" over a fuzzy shuffle, complete with helium-soaked "ahh"s and a delightfully simple guitar solo. From here Bolan changes gears completely and exposes his softer, contemplative side with "Cosmic Dancer" - a ballad (which some may recognize from the soundtrack to the movie Billy Elliot) about dancing "out of the womb" and "into the tomb" with swelling strings and a dreamy backwards-looped guitar solo. Within the first two songs Bolan has revealed his range and from this point forward he effortlessly alternates between these two approaches - every song proving itself as essential to the album. Songs like "Jeepster," "Bang a Gong" and "The Motivator" all show Bolan at his sleazy best - sneering lines like "I'm gonna suck ya!" and then playfully rejoicing in the fact that "you're dirty sweet and you're my girl." Then, on tunes like "Monolith" and "Life's a Gas" we see him lamenting the "shallow actions of the children of men" and hoping life "is gonna last." All of these nuggets are delivered in an otherworldly lisp, seemingly devoid of irony, as if Bolan really exists in his own mystical palace and is beckoning the listener inside. 
Every track on Electric Warrior is steeped in the blues, but this was a new variety - one that would spark the glam craze in the UK and eventually make its way stateside in bands like The New York Dolls. Cited not only by hair-metal bands but also by artists as contemporary as Devendra Banhart, T. Rex are a band that begs to be explored. Electric Warrior is the perfect introduction.

Paul Custer

Friday, April 22, 2011

Several Species Of Small Furry Thoughts - Whatta Day!

Yesterday was one of those days when so many good things happen that you just wait for a tap on the shoulder. It never came. It started with the reception for CMHOF (The Colorado Music Hall Of Fame) before the John Denver celebration concert at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield. I went to the upstairs bar area which is one of the places displays of the CMHOF will be gathered. Here, it was all about Red Rocks. The inaugural class of the Hall is made up of John Denver and Red Rocks Amphitheatre. I can think of no two more deserving entities. With every season and every show I attend (and it has been hundreds) I realize what a completely unique and magical place Red Rocks is. Seeing a concert at Red Rocks transcends the normal consumer-oriented rock and roll industry experience. It is a communion with nature, and artists almost always recognize this and play differently there. As I was walking in, and during the reception, I could hear the Boulder Philharmonic and various performers sound checking and running through that evening’s show. I was immediately startled by the full sound and beautiful arrangements culminating with a wonderful “Country Roads.” This was going to be a powerful musical experience. I schmoozed up a bunch of nice and interesting music industry insiders before making my way downstairs to the North lobby of the events center. The crowd for that night’s show was starting to really pour in to the arena. I’m not sure what I expected the crowd to look like. For the most part they were my age and older, but the diversity was surprising. I saw way more bona-fide hippie types than I expected; lots of guys with long graying hair. There were also lots of people who seemed to know John Denver from his television and film roles. Ultimately, that is the thing that makes John Denver such an interesting and singular figure. He was not a rock star, he was not a movie star, he was not a pure folk singer, he was not just an environmentalist, pilot, humanitarian, poet, family man, etc, etc. He was truly an American Renaissance man: a celebrity in the largest sense of the word. Almost a Will Rogers type figure. 
There in the North lobby are two huge display cases containing an amazing variety of John Denver memorabilia: everything from a beautiful guitar to handwritten lyrics, gold records, stage outfits, photos, and records, all put together in a museum quality case curated by Hall director and Colorado music author and historian G. Brown. I stood there for a few minutes with dozens of other people staring up at all this cool stuff. I became aware of a woman standing next to me taking photos of the cases. When she took the camera away from her eye I saw tears running down her face. I moved on and heard more people making emotional exclamations. As I headed for the door a woman grabbed her husband’s arm when she saw the display and said “Oh my God, It’s him, I’m going to cry.” I have been telling my employees for a long time, that they should never underestimate the passion that virtually EVERY artist ignites in their fans. John Denver was not just any artist. He had a profound effect on millions of people. He represents something good and unspoiled from a confusing and misunderstood era. We could all use that clarity once in a while – no? 

So I ran out the door and tore across town back to Twist and Shout for The Denver Post/Reverb Magazine’s “Fermented Barley Cabaret.” This event is an open call to anyone in the city to come hoist a free beer in some interesting or fun location around town every so often. I went to one at the restaurant Interstate a couple of months ago and had such a good time that I suggested we do it at Twist sometime. There was an auspicious start when John Taylor from Duran Duran came in for a shopping spree just before the event started. He loved the store and bought a huge stack of vinyl. As the crowd for “Fermented Barley” started to filter in he took it in stride, shaking hands, posing for photos and signing autographs. One might forget how HUGE Duran Duran were in the 80’s. They define a certain era and have maintained the loyalty of many fans. This crowd could not have been more different than the John Denver event. Over the three hours it lasted a couple of hundred people came and went and the crowd was heavy on bands, people who like bands, and people who like free beer. All fit in really well at Twist and Shout. It was a fantastically animated and chatty crowd - relaxed and having a good time. I love this kind of event. No pressure, just lots of like-minded people enjoying each other’s company. Kamptin from the band Chain Gang of 1974 performed a perfect DJ set for the event - heavy on 80’s-ish Duran Duran-friendly music.
As I was driving home after the event I ran over the events of the evening in my head. Live in the most beautiful place in the world - check; make my vocation my avocation -check; give free beer to the masses – check; do something to help glorify music and Colorado - check. Ahhh whatta day!

I'd Love to Turn You On - At the Movies #11 - Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988, dir. Pedro Almodóvar)

This is the first film that brought Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar on to the radar of a larger American audience, and it’s no surprise that it should – it represents the first big leap forward that he made in the style and quality of his films (he’d make more later, but this was the initial breakthrough). Almodóvar had been making feature films for over ten years by the time he released Women on the Verge and it’s a consolidation of everything he’d done over the decade – incorporating his love of bright, candy-colored scenes and costumes, of the genres of the screwball comedy and the melodrama (and the trash aesthetic of director John Waters) and the gleefully absurd plots that go with them, and of a strong female lead character who’s usually under romantic duress. While he’d used all these elements in his earlier films this was his most successful effort to date, harnessing the talented Carmen Maura (who appeared in many of Almodóvar’s earlier works) as our beleaguered heroine into a story about a voiceover artist who’s afraid that the married man she’s having an affair with is returning to his wife, who’s recently been released from a mental hospital and who suspects that there is yet another woman involved and… well, let me back up a second. I could go on to describe the plot at length, but the absurdity of Almodóvar’s plots, coupled with the fact that half the fun of his movies is watching how they unfold, prevents me from revealing too much. It’s absurd, sure, but think back to the great screwball comedies – implausibility is suspended
when you’re in the moment of the film because it just feels right while you’re watching it. It’s no more ridiculous to see the tangled web of relationships here, criss-crossing those falling together and those falling apart while the spiked gazpacho in the blender and the burning mattress form a backdrop to the ensemble’s collective romantic woes, than it is to watch Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant locked in the jail with the rest of the characters while two tigers roam free and a dog is burying a rare dinosaur bone in Bringing Up Baby – the writing and pacing of the film make each improbable moment lead inexorably into the next one in a breathless way that doesn’t let you stop to say “wait a second, this is nonsense.” It simply feels right every step of the way and Almodóvar had never been this assured – or this funny – up until this point. He’d make another leap forward about a decade later with the terrific Live Flesh, and he’s continued to spin out great film after great film since then, even taking home an Academy Award for screenwriting for 2002’s Talk to Her (he’d already won the Best Foreign Film award for the terrific All About My Mother and been nominated for Women on the Verge), with 2009’s Broken Embraces (which refers back playfully to Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) a new high water mark for his work – and possibly another giant step forward. Only time will tell.
-Patrick Brown

Monday, April 18, 2011

Record Store Day 2011

When I got there at 8:30 a.m. there were about 120 people in line. The first guy had apparently gotten there at 3:00 a.m. By the time we opened there was north of 250 people waiting to get in. I’ve been in retail for nearly 30 years and I have never experienced what followed. For the first two hours of Record Store Day I can only describe it as a sales nuclear reaction. It was astounding! It dwarfed the excitement and volume of last year, or any Christmas, or any instore performance I’ve ever seen. People were just insane to get their hands on this stuff. The hottest items for us- The White Stripes, Phish, Panda Bear, Foo Fighters, Pink Floyd, Mastodon/ZZ Top split, Deftones and Ryan Adams among others blew out of there in minutes. Many items that we didn’t get what we ordered like The Fleet Foxes, or Phish or Grinderman we could have sold out of in minutes rather than seconds had we gotten what we ordered. What kind of numbers am I talking about? Well on many of the bigger items we brought in 75, 60, 45, 30 or 15. In total we are probably talking about 3,000 pieces of vinyl in addition to CDs, shirts, puzzles, comic books, plastic toys and all other official RSD schwag.  We had over 1,100 transactions that day with almost 300 of them coming in the first two hours. The average sale was 61 dollars. The average customer purchased 5 items although many people bought huge amounts. We attempted to source every single Record Store Day release, including (pretty unsuccessfully) getting Record Store Day UK releases. It seems like if I could have gotten them we could have sold potentially hundreds of copies of many releases. Some things underperformed for us as well; Ray Lamontagne, Mastodon Live at The Aragon,Tom Petty Reissues and most surprisingly Sonic Youth, Dylan and Springsteen all did less than I expected. 
 From the budgeting point of view this brings up the obvious conundrum for independent stores of; how do you afford to buy all this stuff, even though you sell through much of it, there are all the ongoing costs of doing business and quite a bit of additional staffing expense for the day and I don’t want to even think about the potential for theft on a day like this. We also will be left with about twenty percent of the stuff unsold. That stock has to be paid for as well and none of it can be returned. There were hours where we-the staff-could not get near the product. Many people stood in line for well over an hour, even though we had five registers going the whole time. The day did not slow down at all until late afternoon, at which point it felt like a typical Christmas Eve. It stayed that way until about 9:00 p.m. when it finally slowed down. As we have in the previous 3 years we had an all day program of DJ’s (Arturo Gomez, Brett Ericson (DJ Segue), Professor Mikey, DJ Sam, DJ PETER BLACK and SOLE & the Skyrider Band) who all did a fabulous job. With the crowds the way they were it seems unlikely we could have managed an instore on this day. Throughout the day I estimate about 2-3 thousand people came to the store. All told it was the biggest day in the history of the store by a long shot and about 30% bigger than last year’s RSD.

The crowd was overall very nice and cooperative. There were the usual complainers, and prima donnas who just can’t believe it’s not all about them. There are also those who scam to get multiple copies to undoubtedly resell. Overall though I feel very proud to have gotten so many copies of so many different releases into so many different hands, and we were all impressed with the sweetness and good cheer of our clientele.

The biggest things to ponder for me are as follows;
-I understand that the labels are trying to preserve the special nature of this event by making the items very limited. In a sense they are absolutely correct that this is the surest way to stoke demand. On the other hand, there were plenty of items limited to 1,000 or less and when one considers how many stores are participating in this event, and coordinate that with the number of people I described it seems like not enough are being made. I don’t know how it was for everybody else, but we could have sold much more of nearly everything to different folks. This is a difficult one to figure. I think building to order needs to be combined with some kind of cap on any given store so no one can hoard, thus getting the numbers a little closer to the demand. If many of these items end up being sold on the internet by the customers who get them from the stores then so be it-that’s the way of the world these days, but I have to believe that the majority of this stuff is going home to be cherished. I know I spent a good couple of hours listening to my acquisitions last night. There are so many great pieces this year, but I am going to give my top prize to Ryan Adams. His double, gatefold, heavy vinyl, multi-colored, 7” defines collectible to me. Four great unheard songs, a beautiful package, a lyric sheet and a sticker-damn, this guy does it right! The Dylan at Brandeis LP is really special-a magical point in his career. The Phish Soundchecks 7” is really a special release-very different musically, and something their obsessive fans will really enjoy. I am relishing the Vanguard Lost Psychedelic compilation, Built To Spill covering the Dead-very fun. The Decembrist live at Bull Moose CD is also a fun and loose show. And Rome, the supergroup featuring Dangermouse, Jack White and Norah Jones makes me excited to hear the whole album. It goes on and on.
-How will we pay for all this. In the future we will continue to try and hone our buying to be more precise, but I fear it is impossible at some level.
-How can we make the experience better for the customer next year? Shorter, faster lines? Physically controlling the hottest items to keep unscrupulous collectors from hoarding? Food? Drink?

The bottom line is we are all drained and exhilarated by this tremendous event, which flies in the face of the prevailing wind that the record store is dead. That was an extremely animated corpse on Saturday.
Paul Epstein
Owner-Twist and Shout 

Paul Epstein with Andy Guerrero of the Flobots

Friday, April 8, 2011

I'd Love To Turn You On #30 - Professor Lonhghair - Crawfish Fiesta

This is a story about New Orleans: an amazing, singular, misunderstood city. There are a number of factors that make it a great city; the food, the architecture, the cultural heritage of which the music is its greatest ambassador. The misunderstanding sets in when people can’t separate the good from the not so good. Like any city there are less interesting neighborhoods and that’s the way it is with the food, architecture and culture in New Orleans. Is all the food good? Of course not, it’s the naturally occurring seafood that has been brought to a high art. It is those buildings that betray the French Colonial and plantation influence that really stand out and it is specifics that make New Orleans music great. It isn’t every funk or rock band that learns to yell “Les Bon Temps Roulez!” that defines the sound of the crescent city, rather it is those artists who, without pretense, innovate and perpetuate certain specific musical attributes that make the city’s music special.
To my mind, no artist in the post- WWII era embodies these attributes more than Henry Roeland Byrd, more commonly known as Professor Longhair. Fess’s performing life was almost entirely in New Orleans and his fame was small. He toiled in obscurity and poverty for much of his life and has really only received his due since his death. His recorded legacy is also spotty, hard to find and sometimes not representative of his greatness. The perfect way to introduce oneself to this important artist is his one and only record for the Alligator label called “Crawfish Fiesta.” Although recorded in 1979 long after his start in the late 1940’s and close to his death in 1980 the album is possibly the best recorded and one of the best performed of all his releases.  Backed by a sublimely tight, in-the-pocket band including Dr. John on guitar (!) and New Orleans legend John Vidacovich on drums the focus of everything is Professor Longhair’s masterful piano playing and his unearthly vocals. On both of these accounts he is without peer. When one talks about New Orleans style piano and the “second-line” sound there is nobody who does it better than Professor Longhair. Referring to the second line of observers and dancers who follow New Orleans musical parades, it is the footfall of this second line that creates the second line of rhythm. In Longhair’s style it manifests itself as a backbeat that is slightly behind the beat and produces a woozy, herky-jerky sound irresistible to dancers. Countless New Orleans piano players have tried (and failed) to approximate his style, but he remains stubbornly impenetrable. 
The same can be said of his singing. The first times I listened to Professor Longhair I thought he might be singing in some foreign language. The words, a combination of ethnic expression and street lingo tumble out of his mouth in a torrent, often not pausing in places grammar would suggest. The result is hypnotic. It is why there is such a fascination with the music of New Orleans; it really does sound like it is from somewhere you’ve never been. And the things he sings about! “Well the girls ‘round here gettin’ real real rough/calling for whiskey with a dip of snuff.” How the hell do I get there? I want to find that bar he’s singing about on the song “In The Wee Wee Hours” where the women behave that way. And when exactly are the wee wee hours? The professor tells us; “Between night and dawn.” When is that exactly? Like many great artists, Professor Longhair has created his own universe, populated by interesting people speaking a language that is somewhat familiar yet enticing and exotic with a touch of danger. 
It is the city itself that creates this state of being. Professor Longhair couldn’t be from anywhere else. He is such a product of his environment that his art becomes shorthand for  all the things that are New Orleans. His authenticity and natural talent are not the product of training, polish or production, they are the product of raw ability being honed in a blast furnace of hard-scrabble American street life. You just can’t fake that kind of stuff. Every second of Crawfish Fiesta is a joyous celebration of the street where Henry Byrd lived. It could be your street, but it’s not. The only map is in the grooves of the music.
Paul Epstein

Monday, April 4, 2011

I'd Love to Turn You On - At the Movies #10 - First Men In The Moon (1964, dir. Nathan Juran)

I recently bowed to the pressure of well-meaning movie fans and tried to watch Pixar’s latest blockbuster Despicable Me. I thought the voices were great and the story was clever and compelling and the animation almost looked real. So why, you may be asking yourself, did I turn it off after about 15 minutes? Well the thing about this CGI stuff is; it looks so real that I question whether it is animation anymore. I dunno, maybe I’m hopelessly outdated, but I don’t want my animation to look real. I like cartoons that look like cartoons, and I like my space monsters to interact with the human stars of the movie in a believable way while looking out-of-this-world. In a way it was this experience of trying and failing to dig CGI that drove me back to one of my favorites of an older style of animation. H.G. Wells’ First Men In The Moon was made in 1964 and features the animation of Ray Harryhausen.
You may be familiar with Harryhausen’s stop-motion animation from movies such as Mighty Joe Young, Clash Of The Titans or the Sinbad films. Harryhausen was the unquestioned master of stop-motion animation. He painstakingly manipulated small clay models, and filmed them one frame at a time to create images that stunned and influenced an entire generation of moviegoers. For me Harryhausen was the ultimate catalyst for childhood fantasy. The skeleton warriors in Jason and The Argonauts, the dinosaur in It Came From Beneath The Sea, the Cyclops, the giant chicken, Zeus, Neptune, all of the great characters from literature and imagination brought to life - not through the work of a computer programmer but through the artisan-like manipulation of real materials to create impossible landscapes and contraptions, successfully juxtaposing the fantastic and the real.
H.G. Wells’ First Men In The Moon falls somewhere between The Wizard Of Oz. and the original series of Star Trek. The storytelling has a Disneyish sweetness that is cut with the mind-altering special effects of Ray Harryhausen. It is old-fashioned storytelling and movie making. We are 45 minutes in to the movie before the first men in the moon actually leave earth. The plot revolves around a neat trick whereby modern astronauts land on the moon in 1964 and discover a small British flag dating from the 1890’s which sets the modern world on a quest to find out who put it there and how it all happened. Thus we flash back to 1899 and are invited into the story of a man who invents a method for leaving gravity behind and exploring space. The fun, childlike acting is “Flubber-esque” but with classy British accents. Harryhausen’s fingerprints are everywhere, from the first scene to the last, lending his otherworldly touch to the family-friendly proceedings. This is ultimately the great charm of Ray Harryhausen: he never lost his childlike sense of wonder. Like his boyhood friend Ray Bradbury, who always wrote with a sense of discovery that appeals to the child in all of us, yet possesses a very adult sense of irony, wit and poignancy, Harryhausen is a boy in a very talented man’s body. I never tire of his special effects. By today’s standards they are a puppet show in a fishbowl, but that is also one of the joys of Harryhausen’s work. I prefer Bela Lugosi being menacing with his eyes than a modern medical expose on fangs on flesh. But that’s just me. If we reach a point in animation where anything can be made believable, what will happen to our sense of fantasy?
Once the characters land on the moon the action is pretty fast and furious as Harryhausen’s sets and alien creations take center stage, and we discover a race of advanced insectoid creatures inhabiting an ancient civilization. Like all the best science fiction there is a dreamlike quality to the fantasy sequences. The scene of the two protagonists being chased through a cave of towering crystals by a gigantic carnivorous worm retains all the magic it originally inspired in me in the 1960’s. The whole movie is really a vehicle for Harryhausen’s memorable special effects. Part of the greatness of this movie has to be given to the source material. H.G. Wells had a way of cloaking thought-provoking morality plays in the cloth of fantasy. Like Jules Verne, his literature speaks to our grown-up minds while enthralling the kid in us. The images and characters in Harryhausen’s films enrich our lives as much as great literature and H.G. Wells’ First Men In The Moon is one of his most enjoyable films.

If you find that you like this style of animation and want to explore Ray Harryhausen’s work further I suggest the following movies:
The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad
Jason and The Argonauts
Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island
Earth VS. The Flying Saucers
20 Million Miles To Earth
Mighty Joe Young

-Paul Epstein

Friday, April 1, 2011

Several Species of Small Furry Thoughts - John Barleycorn Deluxe and an interesting Dead experience

While I like the self-titled Traffic album the best, John Barleycorn Must Die is a close second. With the loss of Dave Mason, the now three-piece was moving in a leaner, jazzier direction although they are still experimenting with world, folk and psych elements in their work. The maturity in the band’s music is reflected in the understated, memorable image on the cover. Kicking off with the F.M. classic “Glad” this chugging instrumental has no real antecedent in Traffic’s music. Suddenly they are a completely competent jazz/funk outfit with Winwood’s piano, organ and Chris Woods’ sax leading the way. “Glad” is immediately one of the most recognizable and enjoyable instrumentals in rock history. The following three songs – “Freedom Rider,” “Empty Pages,” and “Stranger To Himself” are much more familiar territory to fans of their previous album. Soulful, intelligent, hip and beautifully written and performed, they are classic Traffic. The title song, however, is another anomaly - and a wonderful one at that. With versions being traced back to 1465, this tale of demon drink and its uncanny hold over the human spirit is performed acoustically with Winwood playing acoustic guitar and singing and Chris Wood accompanying on flute. The result is absolutely magic and became an underground classic. The anti-drinking message (wink wink) really hit the right irony buttons with a 1970 audience. The final song on the original release, “Every Mother’s Son” is a fabulous seven-minute tribute to life on the road. 

For this great deluxe version the second disc contains three alternate versions of songs on the album and then a tremendous seven-song concert from the Fillmore West from 1971. The three alternates are uniquely different from the original versions with “Barleycorn” especially offering up a valuable piece of the puzzle. The live show finds the band, aided by Ric Grech on bass and occasional guitar, in rare form indeed. Considering the odd instrumentation and a leader who split his time between lead vocals, lead guitar, organ and piano the band is wonderfully tight and tear through numbers from their first three albums with precision and abandon. It is really exhilarating to hear them tackle complex songs like “Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring” and “Every Mother’s Son” before really stretching out for 14 minutes on exciting versions of “Glad” and “Freedom Rider.”
This is a deluxe version in the best sense of the word. By carefully choosing the right material to illustrate and expand our understanding of a classic album, great gets even better.

Yesterday I got to live out a fantasy of sorts. I got to go to Airshow Mastering in Boulder and not only meet Grammy Award winning sound engineer David Glasser, but I also got to take an early listen to the upcoming Grateful Dead box set - Europe ’72 The Complete Recordings which David is mastering for disc. All I can say is…WOW. As if to read my mind, he chose “Dark Star” from the Tivoli-Copenhagen show. Oh man, it was magnificent. Hearing it played in a perfect stereo room on 8 foot towers of studio monitors… mmmmmmmmmmmmmmDead. It really sounded spectacular. The band was playing with such care during this period. The single-drummer line-up and the plethora of new material had afforded them a lot of rehearsal time and it shows. The fact that they were also playing in some of the great opera houses in Europe also adds to exquisite nature of the playing on this tour. The Dead’s engineer, Jeffrey Norman, and David Glasser have brought this already impressive performance to new levels of clarity and excitement. As the band reaches a spacey climax near the end of the song, Glasser said “I love the organ.” I’ve listened to this show probably 50 times and I’d never noticed that as the band climaxes Pigpen starts playing some slashing, aggressive lines on the organ which add a completely different texture to the performance. The point is that this box set is going to be a revelation to fans I think. The Europe ’72 tour represents one of the major performing zeniths of The Grateful Dead’s career and the 16-track tapes they have of the entire tour are beautifully preserved and are a wonderful keepsake of a grand tour. If you like The Grateful Dead it is hard to imagine that this box (already sold out) will not be a dream come true. I know it will be for me.