An Unheard studio session has surfaced by The Grateful Dead (or a variation of). It's believed to be an alternate version of Blues for Allah. Listen Here!

An Unheard studio session has surfaced by The Grateful Dead (or a variation of). It's believed to be an alternate version of Blues for Allah. Listen Here! 
 

An unearned gem of a studio recording from Alan Bershaw has been uploaded to the achieve. Its definitely contains all or most of The Grateful Dead members and most likely other musicians such as Ned Lagin and Merl Sanders. It's is an amazing piece of music. That is where the facts end. I included Alan's complete description and a few other opinions. Whatever it ends up being called means very little as I am jamming it in the background.

Kevin Long 

Alan's notes 

This is not to be confused with any of the content on those February 1975 SNACK rehearsals for the Kezar Stadium gig, as Crosby and Saunders are not present here. It also does not match any other "Blues For Allah" studio outtakes tapes that I'm aware of. It's questionable whether or not Ned Lagin is present here, but I only hear Keith Godchaux playing electric piano. This leads me to believe that this is just the core band with Mickey Hart back on board. There are no vocals, so Donna Godchaux is not present on this recording.

The reel case only contains the notation "The First Day" and a date of "January." I have a few theories for this notation. It could mean that it was literally the first day of 1975, as in January 1, 1975. I think a more likely theory is that it was simply the first day of 1975 studio sessions sometime in January. Bob Gurman, who I inherited this reel from, thought it was the actual working title of this composition, since it was still an instrumental and prior to Robert Hunter's lyrics being written. I've also speculated that this could have been recorded as a guide reference for the band and additional Kezar musicians prior to those rehearsals. It may also have been recorded for Hunter as a template for writing lyrics. Or some combination of all of these possibilities…

I should also add that I'm aware of another version of this recording. I also have a DAT that I think I received in trade from Steven Martin back in the early 1990s. That contains this same recording, but with it divided into two sequences, with a short break in the middle. On this reel, those two sequences are seamlessly spliced together. Despite this spliced version originating from the same two sequences, the reel sounds significantly better and has considerably more dynamic range than the two sequences found on the DAT.

I've scoured through all known notation for 1975 Grateful Dead studio sessions, outtakes and rehearsals, but can find no mention or match to this particular recording - or of any January 1975 studio recordings for that matter. Surprising, since this is such remarkable quality. It very well may be the earliest recording of the Grateful Dead's return following the 1974 retirement. Have a listen. I don't think anyone will be disappointed. Alan Bershaw - January 2017

I've scoured through all known notation for 1975 Grateful Dead studio sessions, outtakes and rehearsals, but can find no mention or match This reel contains what I believe to be the first 1975 Grateful Dead studio session, with the musicians recording an embryonic version of the "Blues For Allah" title track. Its also the earliest recording for what would become the "SNACK Jam," that they'd soon begin rehearsing with additional musicians (Ned Lagin, Merle Saunders and David Crosby) the following month. 

Here are some other opinions about the origin of the music. Stream at the bottom. 

comReviews

Reviewer: nwgj - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 26, 2017  
Subject: just for argument's sake 
Doesn’t this music seem too far developed to be from Jan ’75? The Feb 75 tapes are all pretty loose and jammy, and it seems odd that the band would be performing something this complicated on their first night back in the saddle.

Also, I don’t have McNally’s GD bio handy, but I believe he says that the first session at Ace’s was by a local band (not the GD) on the night of a full moon, which would have been Jan 27 or Feb 26.

The music is sweet, if you dig these rehearsal recordings, which I do. Wish there was more! 
Reviewer: jinglejarms - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 25, 2017  
Subject: two or three keyboardists 
It's faint, but there are two, sometimes three keyboards. Check out at 20:10 or so - you hear acoustic piano and two electric pianos. My guess is that both Ned Lagin and Merl Saunders are on here. 


Stream the recording below:       Thanks Jambase 

[Hat Tip – Tomorrow’s Verse]

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