The Grateful Dead are one of my love’s and have been at the forefront of releasing historic live recordings for over 20 years now. I picked up thier first Vault issue, titled “One from the Vault” back in May ’91 – I can still recall the surprise and thrill seeing it on the counter of what is now Borderline Records. What a month that was; “One…” arrived within weeks of the release of Tim Buckley’s magnificent “Live In London” and the first of Bob Dyan’s bootleg series.
Anyway some 70+ releases later, comprising of over 330 CD’s, the Dead are still releasing “new” live recordings. This volume arrived through my mailbox just in time to get it on my trusty i-pod before jetting off the Cuba – and I am mighty glad it did!
The volume consists of two shows from the 20th December ’69 and 2nd February ’70 spread over 3 CD’s (there was 4th bonus disc from the 21st December ’69). This release having just been made possible by a recent tape find. I won’t profess to be a fanatic who knows every note the Dead played but to my ears these are fabulous shows. My favourite tracks are the two 20+minute versions of Dark Star – one with Tom C on keyboards and one with Pigpen. Sitting on the beach listening to these CD’s was unreal (real Desert Island Disc’s). They remind me of why the Dead have held my attention for nearly 40 years – mercurial guitars, crazy bass, one-of-a-kind harmonies, stonking percussion and tasty keyboards held loosly together by a hefty dose of magic.
Also listening to Dark Star took me back to one early one summer morning a few years ago when I was approaching Paris on the motorway playing the then recently released Dick’s Pick’s 22 – the music, view and atmosphere combined, creating one of those moments.
PS: I see the Dead have just announced another release from their tape vaults – a 14 disc set from thier May ’77 Tour – this is a limited edition of 15,000 with over 10,000 already accounted for!
One of the great things about the Cuba we saw was the consistently good live music played in the bars and restaurants. Even Nick Gold and Ry Cooder’s 1997 8m+ selling Buena Vista Social Club hadn’t prepared us for the delights.
As luck would have it we got tickets for the Grupo Compay Segundo playing at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba and were able to sit close to the stage and appreciate the wonderful playing and singing that you only get a hint of in some of the larger concert venus – thoroughly recommended if you can get there.
We also picked up a couple of CD’s – one by “Soneros de Cuba” who we saw a couple of times and really liked, and hence the CD (alas it is not as good a seeing them live) .
And one called “Rumba Con Salsa” – which, if they are all like ours, is best to avoid as our CD was blank – we bought it Havana in a sort or artists self help street – apparently the proceeds were to help repair a damaged school roof – if true the money could be well spent.
One of my objectives early in the year was to get fit enough that by year end I would enter one of the charity organised “Cycle (Country)” events. And to enter I felt I would need to feel comfortable cycling c. 50 miles a day on an MTB for 5-8 days in a row. However since I took redundancy I have had a few minor setbacks that have thwarted my fitness regime – I didn’t realise retirement could be so dangerous!
Anyway now back from holiday and just about over the jet lag I have started slowly getting back into the swing of exercise.
On Sunday it was a walk at Wakehurst Place – the bluebells were out and wonderful – followed by what was planned to be a gentle ride on the bridle paths at the foot of the South Downs with Keran. One minute we were cycling along, the next I had been knocked off by an overtaking MTB’er. As I picked myself up I looked at my “attacker” and though “oh-sh*t”, he was lying on the ground totally still. Thankfully after a few seconds he got himself up and wasn’t aware of his temporary inactivity. It reminded me of my face plant on the North Downs some years ago when I thought I got up immediately but Bryce was convinced I was a goner. So we gave up after only 7.5 miles. Well it was a start and I was pleased as I was so apprehensive beforehand.
On Monday it was three diferent loops round Stanmer Park – just over 12.5 miles and 1300 feet of climbing – and my first sighting of a Stoat this year.
On Tuesday my circuit was from the A27 upto Devil’s Dyke, down to Foredown Tower, back up over to Truleigh Hill, back to the Dyke and then downhill to the A27 – just a bit further than Monday’s ride and slightly more climbing.
Today I was joined by Charly and took it easy from Stanmer Park upto Ditchling Beacon.
It feels great to be cycling again!
Still trying to gain control of the Jet Lag effect I watched most of last nights Eurovision peformances – almost unheard of before – I must still be unwell!!! Anyway I turned in before the results and have just checked them – so much for my vote for Finland’s “Marry Me” – 24th.
Posted in Jetlag
Well you will have read of my struggle with Jet Lag – it was something I wasn’t even remotely interested in until it hit me round the head several days after flying back into the UK from Cuba on Monday night/Tuesday morning. Anyway it was thanks to the info on the web that helped me identify I wasn’t quite going mad – ha ha you may think – so thank you to the wiki in particular.
We have been back 5 days now and it will soon be time to review the photo’s and reflect on the contrasts that are Cuba – poverty, begging, lovely music and beautiful decaying buildings in Havana compared to the all-inclusive (but work providing) cocoon of Varadero with the beach and sea and food – I don’t think anyone we spoke to was left untouched by the experience.
What was also “good” but unplanned for me, as we did little excercise apart from walking and a bit of swimming while we were also catered for, was that I lost weight – I am down by about half a stone! Alas it was not be design but an 80 hour stomach bug – ha ha again - I am not sure going aborad really suits me. But next time I am out on the South Downs cycling I should be able to go faster and hell I might be able to run.
Well Friday was a bit of a mixed bag – Jet Lag had a hold on me and it feels like I lost it and I don’t know how but felt I messed up big time. But at least sleep came to me in the end.
Despite the Jet Lag fog of confusion, tiredness and anxiety there were some real positives:
My eldest daughter got an excellent result on her final year dissertation – well done – I am immensely proud!
I also found out that Patti Smith was performing her “Words and Music” show with Tony Shanahan in Brighton and picked up a copy of the new ORG reissue of the Sly and the Family Stone lp “There’s A Riot Goin’ On”.
Wow, Jet Lag has really got to me today – feels really tough.