Before the Dead is an album by Jerry Garcia. It is a compilation of early recordings of Garcia playing folk and bluegrass music with various other musicians. The recordings were made from 1961 to 1964, before Garcia co-founded the rock band the Grateful Dead. Produced as a four-CD box set, and also as a five-LP limited edition box set, it was released on May 11, 2018.
This Grammy-nominated disc heralds the origins of the highly acclaimed acoustic duo of Jerry Garcia (guitar/vocals) and David "Dawg" Grisman (mandolin). They had been chums for years by the time they began their direct partnership in earnest on December 7, 1990, with a nine-song set at the Sweetwater in Mill Valley, CA. Over half of that material would be reworked the following spring – for inclusion on this disc – at Grisman's newly appointed, plush, and well-lit Dawg Studios. Along with David Grisman Quintet members Jim Kerwin (bass) and Joe Craven (percussion/fiddle), Garcia and Grisman revive a few familiar tunes covering every dimension of popular music, ranging from the blues ("The Thrill Is Gone") to folk-rock ("Friend of the Devil"), as well as pop music standards such as Irving Berlin's "Russian Lullaby" – which Garcia had previously covered on his 1974 Garcia (Compliments) album – and Hoagy Carmichael's "Rockin' Chair." They also examined the origins of authentic traditional folk ("Walkin' Boss"/"Two Soldiers").
A European recording date for Brooklyn-based Preminger, hailed across the pond as a distinctive tenor stylist with a gift for composition. Joined by the sensitive accompaniment of both fellow Brooklynite Garcia and Barcelona resident Kamaguchi, Preminger tackles a varied set of tunes. Theres a sweet (but never cloying) version of Try A Little Tenderness and a minimal Moonlight In Vermont (with a nicely understated drum solo). They step out a little further to pleasing effect on Ornettes Law Years and Monks Four In One and on the one original, Garcias Prairie Dance, but this disc never loses sight of lyricism and melody. Which is undoubtedly why Preminger is receiving such praise his playing is cool (the title track is a Warne Marsh tune), inventive, unexpected but never jarring or dissonant. In a world where innovative and edgy often means grating in a new way, Preminger is a rising star for those who like a little sugar in their coffee.
Grateful Dead guitarist/vocalist Jerry Garcia and keyboardist Merl Saunders performed live at the Keystone in Berkeley, CA together on July 10th and 11th, 1973. Although components of this memorable show have been previously released, this is the very first time that the concert has become available in its entirety. This 4 disc box set assembles the full set list, all remastered, and in the order in which the songs were performed. The repertoire spans blues, rockabilly, jazz, funk, Broadway, Motown, two Bob Dylan songs, and Jimmy Cliff's immortal The Harder They Come.