DICK'S PICKS VOLUME FIVE is currently available through mail-order by contacting Grateful Dead Merchandising at 1-800-CAL-DEAD or online at www.dead.net.
DICK'S PICKS VOLUME FIVE is the fifth in a series of archival live Dead CDs that were overseen by the late Dick Latvala. It differs from the band's "From The Vault" series in that the "Dick's Picks" releases do not feature entire concerts and are mastered from two- and four-track recordings, rather than eight- and sixteen-track recordings. Latvala was the official keeper of the Dead's tape archives; the Grateful Dead organization describes him as "one of the original Dead tapers."
Grateful Dead: Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir (vocals, guitar); Brent Mydland (vocals, keyboards); Phil Lesh (bass); Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart (drums).
Recorded live at The Oakland Auditorium Arena, Oakland, California on December 26, 1979.
Personnel: Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir (vocals, guitar); Brent Mydland (vocals, keyboards); Phil Lesh (electric bass); Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann (drums).
Recording information: Oakland Auditorium Arena (12/26/1979).
Photographers: John Werner ; Jay Blakesburg.
Taken from the opening night of an extended stand in the Bay Area, this is a priceless gem that illustrates the band's power even during their supposed off years. 1979 was a year of turmoil for the band, with Brent Mydland replacing both Keith Godchaux in the keyboard seat and Donna Godchaux at the harmony vocal mic in the spring. But while Brent was acclimating himself to the ways of the Dead, the band's shows were often monotonous and listless affairs, only hitting a positive groove in the fall.
Of course the hometown fans always demanded something a little extra from the band, and on this night the band delivered the faithful their Xmas bonuses. The first was the revival of songs that had been long missing from the band's live repertoire (the FM standard "Uncle John's Band," performed here in two parts as a hard-edged rocker, and the melancholy "Brokedown Palace"). But the prime treat is the jam-friendly interplay of the second set, which clearly shows Mydland settling into his role and participating in some wildly unsettling improvs. Of particular note is the run from "Estimated Prophet" through "Drums" on the second disc that is as must-hear as anything the band played in 1979.