Dead Letters is the fully authorized portrayal of the Grateful Dead according to the world’s most devoted fan base: Deadheads. Beginning in their earliest days, the Grateful Dead saved tens of thousands of letters sent to them by Deadheads reflecting on the spectacular concerts they’d attended and requesting tickets.
What happens when you take the spirit of Dick's Picks and combine it with the very best aspects of Road Trips? Dave's Picks! Esteemed archivist, vaultmeister, and all-around Dead fiend David Lemieux will curate the finest unreleased shows from the master tapes, brought to life with HDCD sonics by Jeffrey Norman, period photos, and informative liner notes. All four CD releases in 2012 will be limited to 12,000 individually numbered copies.
Hard to believe, but we've been rolling out the Grateful Dead Almanac for about 18 years now, carrying on a time-honored tradition of keeping Dead Heads up to date on the latest developments in this still-evolving and vital musical and social community. But with this issue of the Almanac, you'll notice something a little different. As in, it's not made of paper.
"What a long, strange trip it's been" is a lyric from one of the Grateful Dead's best known songs and pretty much tells a bunch about the long history of this band. The earliest traces of the band began in 1960 when band founder and leader Jerry Garcia met Robert Hunter who would become the band's main lyrics man. The Dead evolved in 1964 from Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions which featured Garcia on banjo and guitar along with guitarist Bob Weir and keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan.
Bob Weir already has a secure place in rock history as the Grateful Dead's co-vocalist and what Andrew Clarke (in one of England's leading newspapers, "The Independent") called the genre's "greatest, if most eccentric rhythm guitarist." When you have a modest, anti-promotional personality - and when you spend 30 years next to an icon - it's easy to fall under the radar.