Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Grateful Dead Best Versions Site

Jerry 1990
I happened upon a site a few years ago called The Best Versions Project that lists the best live versions of selected Grateful Dead songs with links to where you can download or stream them on the web.  For example, this site turned me on to a show containing a particularly hot version of Shakedown Street from the underrated year of 1985 (6/30/85 Merriweather Post to be exact).  The vocals on this Shakedown start out a little rough, as is common for this era - it sounds like Jerry's got cotton balls in his mouth - but it soon turns into an inspired jam that does probably place it in the all-time top 10 versions of this song.

The links usually take you to archive.org where you can almost always listen to the rest of the show, if you want.  That's cool because a show containing one of the all-time best versions of a song is often going to be good throughout, as is the case with this Merriweather one.  Of course, part of the fun of listening to Grateful Dead music is developing an appreciation for the duds too...the versions that don't quite jive.  The Japanese have a word for this called wabi-sabi.

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