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02 February 2022

Two New Titles In Real Gone Music’s Grateful Dead Reissue Series Set For Release

Grateful Dead Real Gone Music Reissues
Photo: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy Stock Photo
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Two new coveted releases from Real Gone Music’s ongoing Grateful Dead reissue series will be out in March and April 2022. Road Trips Vol. 1 No. 4—From Egypt with Love captures the best of the Dead’s triumphant, 5-night stand at Winterland celebrating their return from playing the Great Pyramid at Giza in 1978, while Dick’s Picks Vol. 19—10/19/73 Oklahoma City Fairgrounds Arena, Oklahoma City, OK is a limited edition 6-LP box featuring the first show of the Dead’s acclaimed fall 1973 Midwest tour.

There are only a few lucky souls who witnessed the Grateful Dead playing perhaps the most mysterious and majestic venue of them all, the desert grounds surrounding the Great Pyramid of Giza. So, when the newly inspired band returned home to San Francisco in the fall of 1978, they and promoter Bill Graham arranged for a five-night stand at Winterland complete with a slide show of their Egyptian escapades to bring a little Middle Eastern flavor to their beloved Bay Area venue.

But a slide show isn’t all they brought back from Egypt; master oud player Hamza El-Din accompanies them here on his composition Ollin Arageed (which segues into Deal, a transformation only the Dead could pull off). And this Road Trip—which excerpts the final two, October 21-22, 1978 shows of the Winterland run—brings in some heavyweight homegrown talent, too, in the persons of War harmonica player Lee Oskar (on the Got My Mojo Working/The Other One/Stella Blue/Sugar Magnolia medley) and Quicksilver Messenger Service guitar giant John Cipollina (on the Not Fade Away/Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad medley).

But for many, the highlight just might be the Scarlet Begonias/Fire on the Mountain pairing, which captivatingly captures the exploratory nature of both the band and the occasion. This one’s a “Betty Board” in HDCD sound, augmented in places by audience recordings… Road Trips Vol. 1 No. 4—From Egypt with Love is available for the first time at music retail!

Meanwhile, previous LP releases of Grateful Dead concerts from the Dick’s Picks series have encompassed the years of 1969, 1972, 1974, and 1977…but there’s one year on that list that is conspicuous by its absence. Real Gone had previously to release a concert on vinyl from what is arguably the peak year of Dead touring, 1973! And what was the peak tour from that year? Yup, the fall Midwest tour. So, the choice of Dick’s Picks Vol. 19 as Real Gone’s next vinyl “trip” was an easy one.

It was the first concert of the tour, and in fact at the time it was the first full 1973 concert to be released. More importantly, with the release of Wake of the Flood just a few days prior, it finds the band invigorated with a wealth of fresh material to explore, highlighted by stellar (no pun intended) renditions of Stella Blue and Eyes of the World. And the two sidelong numbers on the set, Playing in the Band and Dark Star (which leads into a dazzling Mind Left Body Jam and a stirring Morning Dew), achieve sheer improvisational bliss.

The original sound mix on this one is superb, and Real Gone have taken great care to preserve it and even improve upon it for this release, with mastering for vinyl from the original tapes by the set’s original mastering engineer, Jeffrey Norman, lacquer cutting by Clint Holley and Dave Polster at Well Made Music, and a 180-gram black vinyl pressing at Gotta Groove Records. Also included is an insert sporting the graphics from the original release, housed inside a two-piece hardshell box that has been hand-numbered. Limited to 4500 6-LP sets.

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