Site Sponsor

Not Sure Where To Begin?

The intro posts are always a good start, followed logically by
my thoughts on Music & Being, which guide my writing.
You could also try my current favorite show on the blog,
plus there's good reading under the trading community label.
Or, take a walk on a
Listening Trail.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

When All You Have Is All You Need

View from the crowd - Grateful Dead 01/20/79

Long ago, before we ever got to this stage of Grateful Dead musical archiving, things were very different. One of the “*not too* long ago’s" came at the end of the last centurry with the explosion of soundboard recordings that flooded the scene after Dick Latvala’s passing.

Dick LatvalaThe last months of 1999, and even into 2000, saw such an explosion of SBD tapes make it on the scene, that the Deadhead’s Taping Compendium Series had to release a fourth volume just to address this flood of shows. This leaves certain shows that to this day ONLY circulate in AUD form a bit more rare, and all the more special.

There’s something to the fact that if it weren’t for the efforts of some young fans of the Dead who felt compelled to go through the pains of bringing in mics, tapes, decks, batteries, and often cunning skill, we would never know the musical magic of what happened on certain nights. These folks could have easily just been among the crowds that got lost in the music, swept up in the cyclone of energy, and had their minds blown open by Jerry and the boys. Instead, they navigated all this, AND did everything they had to do in order to get the show on tape, from smuggling equipment into the arena to flipping tapes and checking levels throughout the show. Many of these people did this over and over and over again.

Now, years after what seems like the final wave of SBDs exploding on the scene, we are left with certain shows that only enter our ears due to the efforts of the few. For me, these shows hold a certain special aura. Keep an eye out for them, as they really represent a special segment of this “off the grid” musical folklore we hold so dear.

Sometimes, when you’re left with only an audience source as a window into a show, it becomes all the more special and approachable. Once you're in, you can only look back and wish that others saw what you saw, welcomed what you welcomed, and allowed themselves to be touched by what touches you.


  1. I had the three volumes of Tapers Compendiums when they came out, but during a five year period of ragged touring and being pretty mobile, a friend kept them and we never got back in touch.

    I had a hefty tape collection built up, and the compendium was a life saver. I recently looked for them and have noticed that they are pretty pricey.

    The digital age has made building up a collection VASTLY easier, but I don't imagine it will continue to stay so easy.

    You say a 4th edition of the compendium came out but I have never seen it or can't find any copy online. Can you direct me towards one?

    I enjoy the site!

    Steven, a retired Dead Head.

  2. Steven,

    The 4th edition (The Addendum) is out of print. It might sometimes appear on Amazon, but for the most part, it's really hard to find now.

    If I get more info on availability, I'll be sure to post about it.

  3. There is still a trickle of new soundboards coming out.
    I have a couple of 72 shows i din't have coming my way now, and on the KPFA marathon Gans played 2 show i only have as auds. So now sbds are still appearing



Blog Widget by LinkWithin