Grateful Dead Announce 50th Anniversary ‘Bear’s Choice’ Vinyl Reissue
Grateful Dead have announced a 50th anniversary vinyl reissue of History Of The Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear’s Choice), set for release on 5 May.
History Of The Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear’s Choice 50th Anniversary Edition) will be released on 180-gram black vinyl and available from digital and streaming services. On the same day, the newly remastered album will be released exclusively from Dead.net on custom “Bear Tracks” vinyl. Limited to 5,000 copies, the album will be available with two different custom labels based on the artwork from the album’s back cover, which featured the debut of the now-iconic “Dancing Bears.” The newly remastered audio will also be available digitally.
In the wake of co-founder and first frontman Pigpen’s death in March 1973, Owsley “Bear” Stanley curated Bear’s Choice in collaboration with the band to pay tribute to their fallen friend. Released on 13 July 1973, the live album features Pigpen singing lead on three of the seven tracks. To celebrate the record’s upcoming 50th anniversary, Grammy Award-winning engineer David Glasser has remastered the album from the original analog two-track tapes using Plangent Processes. The music has never sounded better.
Stanley, the Dead’s fabled soundman and benefactor, recorded and produced the live performances on Bear’s Choice, the band’s first true archival album. The collection pulls highlights from the Dead’s 13-14 February 1970 concerts at the Fillmore East in New York City. The band played two sets at those shows, one acoustic and the other electric. Likewise, Bear’s Choice features an acoustic side and an electric side.
Pigpen opens the record with a haunting solo version of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ Katie Mae. He’s followed by Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir performing several covers (Dark Hollow and Wake Up Little Susie), as well as Black Peter, a Dead original destined for the then-unreleased studio album, Workingman’s Dead. Pigpen takes charge on side two, leading the entire band (Garcia, Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Phil Lesh) on an extended tour de force through Howlin’ Wolf’s Smokestack Lightnin’ and Otis Redding’s Hard To Handle.
In addition to the music, Dead.net is also introducing a new merchandise collection tied to the Bear’s Choice 50th Anniversary.
History Of The Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear’s Choice) tracklisting
I’ve Been All Around This World
Wake Up Little Susie
Hard To Handle