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Grateful Dead Detail ‘Wake Of The Flood’ 50th Anniversary

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The year 1973 was a time of great change for the Grateful Dead. The band’s founding frontman Ronald “Pigpen” McKernan died of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage that spring, new members Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux were solidified in the band’s lineup, and drummer Mickey Hart was in the midst of a temporary hiatus from the group. During that time, the band formed its own label, Grateful Dead Records, and released Wake of the Flood on October 15th, 1973.

An ambitious album of jazz-inspired compositions mixed with the time-tested country/folk-leaning songwriting that carried the band into the 1970s, Wake of the Flood marked a transitional period for the Dead. Songs like “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” displayed where the Dead had been, while “Eyes of the World” and the multi-part “Weather Report Suite” showed where the band was going. In celebration of this pivotal moment in Grateful Dead history, on September 29th, Rhino will release a 50th-anniversary expanded and remastered version of Wake of the Flood.

Related: Grateful Dead Studio Albums Ranked Worst To Best

Available on CD and digital formats. Wake Of The Flood (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) includes newly remastered versions of the album’s original seven tracks. The re-release also includes demo recordings of “Eyes of the World” and “Here Comes Sunshine” which Jerry Garcia recorded in early 1973, shortly before the Dead’s February 9th performance. Garcia sang and played on the recordings of the songs he and Robert Hunter were working on, presumably to teach them to the rest of the band. Along with the album announcement, the Grateful Dead on Thursday shared Jerry’s previously unreleased demo of “Eyes of the World”.

Grateful Dead – “Eyes Of The World” [Demo]

Also set for inclusion on the CD and digital reissue of Wake of the Flood is audio from the final night of a mini 1973 tour the band played in support of the album. Recorded on November 1st, 1973 at Northwestern University‘s McGaw Memorial Hall, the six-song sampling is bookended with Wake tracks “Weather Report Suite” and “Mississippi Half-Step”. In between, the Dead embark on a seamless improvisational odyssey beginning with “Morning Dew” and winding through “Playing In The Band” and “Uncle John’s Band” before a “Playing” reprise.

The remastered album will also arrive on vinyl in a variety of formats. In addition to the standard 180-gram black LP, Wake of the Flood will be available on picture disc, “Coke bottle clear vinyl”, and a Dead.net exclusive “Watermark” custom vinyl. The Dead.net custom vinyl includes other lovingly attentive details like labels, prints, inserts, stickers, and designs, and is expected to sell out quickly.

In the accompanying liner notes, former UC Santa Cruz Grateful Dead archivist Nicholas G. Meriwether writes that with Wake Of The Flood, the Grateful Dead were “not only building a musical microcosm, a unified narrative that described the state of the Dead’s project, but also providing an example of what that project could accomplish, what it was designed to do: to create a viable alternative, an artistic vision of the beauty that could be created within and despite the sad, messy strife of the world…And they let that message speak for itself. In an album rife with religious imagery and overtones, they never preached; they just revealed.”

In conjunction with the re-release, the Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast premiered its eighth season, focusing on Wake of the Flood. The first of ten episodes, available now, includes new interviews with late Grateful Dead and Rolling Stones tour manager Sam Cutler. The season begins with a dive into the Dead’s historic 1973 Summer Jam concert with the Allman Brothers Band and The Band, which set a long-standing world record for “largest audience at a pop festival.”

Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast – Watkins Glen Summer Jam, 7/73, part 1

The Grateful Dead Wake of the Flood 50th anniversary reissue is available here for pre-order in a variety of formats.



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