Due to popular demand here is another article from our August 2005 issue. Here longtime Grateful Dead journalist Blair Jackson, author of Garcia: An American Life and former editor of Golden Road, revisits an underappreciated era in the history of the group.
Dick Latvala, the Grateful Dead’s famous vault-keeper and namesake of the Dick’s Picks series of historic Dead recordings he shepherded from its inception in 1994 until his death in 1999, once told me that he would be happy spending all his waking hours listening to Dead music recorded between 1968 and 1974. “There are a few shows from ’77 I love, a couple from ’78, various others scattered through the years, but I don’t need the other stuff. For me ’73-’74 was the peak.” And he laughed the deep, rumbly laugh of someone who had spent much of his life sucking on bongs and cigarettes.
This is not an uncommon view among older hard-core Deadheads—that the late ’60s and early ’70s represent the apex of the Dead’s career in terms of the quality of their songwriting, their onstage chemistry and the adventurousness of their playing. Fundamentally I agree with that assessment, too, and it’s not just because I first heard the band in 1969 and started going to shows regularly in the spring of ‘70, so that version of the band corresponds with my own Coming of Age. Clearly, the music of that era is a cut above.
follow link for the rest of the story.... paper.li/thedeadblog/1300088501
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