Grateful Dead and Friends
San Francisco, Ca
FMMR > R > CD
FMMR (Peter Kafer) @ 7 1/2 ips > R @ 7 1/2 ips (Pat Lee)* > CD
Huge thanks to Taper Pat for dubbing a copy from the master at 7.5 ips --- (R copied @ 7.5 ips using a Revox A-77>A-77) --- Mastered to cd by Matt Smith --- Playback info: R > Akai GX625 > apogee mini me (24/96) > apogee mini dac (monitoring) > Lynx One soundcard > wavelab 5.0 (dithered to 20/44) > CD > EAC > WAV (shntool confirms no sbes) > FLAC (TLH)
01. Pre-show Interview w/ Jerry Garcia
02. Bill Graham band intros // > Blues for Allah >
03. Stronger than Dirt >
04. Drums >
05. Stronger than Dirt >
06. Blues for Allah > Radio Banter >
07. Radio Banter // > Encore: Johnny Be Good
thanks again Pat and Matt!!!
* "Peter Kafer brought his master up on a trip for Pat to copy around that time ... chances are the master he copied was destroyed" According to Bill Gadsden, Peter's reels were ruined in his parent's attic.
Do we really need another source? I believe there are 7 versions listed in the db plus the bonus disc for GD Beyond Description 1973-89 box set which omits JBG.
Moreover, when I first read FMMR > R on this seed, I was skeptical that this should be circulated especially b/c we have a source that claims to be a pre-fm version and the key part of this classic was available if you preordered the box set mentioned above.
However, as soon as I heard this copy, I was left with the feeling it was different enough from all other sources and should be shared with a wider audience. Unlike the other versions, it feels more pronounced, like you're right in front of the band, witnessing live music. Of course while Matt and I have the same subjective or aesthetic reaction to this reel, there's no guarantee you'll have the same reaction as well. Still, b/c it's small and classic, I say it's worth the risk that you too might really dig it!
Compared with the non-official sources, it lacks a dat step, has transfer lineage, and, clearly benefits from having a high quality stand alone A/D converter involved in the transfer chain.
While Jamie (**__**) hasn't heard this reel yet, I like the way he explains this theoretical issue: "dynamic range can be compared to a bedroom closet. One COULD in theory pack everything into one place ... fill the closet wall to wall ...one would then be confident everything is there in one place ... but nothing would have its Own spot..." Or, as Matt Smith described it to me, it's like going from 4 lanes to 2 lanes, and the signal or music is compromised by skipping the stand alone A/D conversion step and forcing it into 2 lanes or straight to cd. Dats and transferring straight to cd simply result in a less dynamic range of music than a "properly" handled reel. It's b/c of this process and hg equipment that fm mr > r sources can sound better than pre-fm > dat sources. Not only is avoiding the dat step key but so is the transfer method and tools.
While I was skeptical at first, I didn't think a fm reel could sound better than a pre-fm source, I felt like I was hearing things in this master piece I haven't heard before! And even when compared with the release, the keys sound better in the mix to me. For some reason, they're simply less buried and more present. It's probably the way the release was equalized.
The pre-fm, release, and this version all sound sweet to me but each provides the listener with a different experience of this set. The release sounds "cleaner" than this reel, however, and I think the percussion sounds better or more distinct at times too. And while all versions suffer from brief moments of monitor or equipment noise, the release does the best job masking that flaw.
In general, while the other sources sound more compressed or bunched and even distant by comparison, this reel recording seems to have better separation and clarity, or a dynamic range of music. Even Jerry sounds better in this full compliment of sound; he seems to have a richer tone. It feels more like you're at a show instead of listening to something recorded in a studio.
I like the way Matt put it, "To me, this is a perfect companion to the 2-28-75/Blues for Allah rehearsals. Basically it's the album in very raw form 'live' on stage and a live broadcast to boot! What balls these guys had!! The interplay between all the musicians even at the early stages(even after taking 4 months off!) of developing the album is so tight and focused I find it utterly thrilling listening. One can hear every instrument perfectly clear with this mix."