Grateful Dead Fans Just Got a Massive Gift for the Band’s 50th Anniversary

Even ageless bands have birthdays.

The 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s first album is just around the corner, in early 2017. To celebrate this major milestone, the band is about to unleash a real motherlode of jam band goodness on its loyal fandom. 

Rhino Records announced Thursday that the band’s live and studio albums will be available again on or near the anniversary dates. They’ll be put out in 2-disc editions and it’ll be the original music, re-mastered for discerning 21st Century ears.

Even more goodness accompanies each re-release: a separate disc full of previously unreleased cuts. According to the Rhino announcement, the “original album with newly remastered sound, plus a bonus disc of unreleased recordings. The same remastered audio from the original album will also be released as a 12-inch picture disc produced in a limited edition of 10,000 copies.” 

Here are some further details from Rhino, with a little history thrown in:

The celebration begins with the January 20 release of THE GRATEFUL DEAD: 50th ANNIVERSARY DELUXE EDITION. The set will be available for $19.98 and includes the original album – newly remastered from the original tapes by David Glasser, and restored by Plangent Processes – along with a bonus disc that features the complete unreleased concert from July 29, 1966 and select cuts from July 30, 1966 at the P.N.E. Garden Auditorium in British Columbia, mastered by Jeffrey Norman. On the same day, the newly remastered version of The Grateful Dead will also be available as a 12-inch picture disc, limited to 10,000 copies worldwide, for $21.98.

The band recorded and mixed THE GRATEFUL DEAD in five days before releasing it in March 1967. It captures the group’s early sound with a mix of electrified jug band stomps (“Sitting On Top of the World”), Chicago blues (“Good Morning Little School Girl”), crazed modal improv (“Viola Lee Blues”), and Dylan-y put-downs (“Cream Puff War”).

That’s not all. Next year the Dead are also reissuing new editions of singles on 7-inch vinyl discs, in trippy 60s-flavored colors. These are also limited to 10,000 copies and can only be ordered from the band’s website. More singles will be released 2018 through 2020. Serious collectors can get these via subscription for a pretty reasonable $44.98.

The tracks from The Grateful Dead: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition CD are listed below.

Disc One: Original Album, Newly Remastered
1. “The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)”
2. “Beat It On Down The Line”
3. “Good Morning Little School Girl”
4. “Cold Rain & Snow”
5. “Sitting On Top Of The World”
6. “Cream Puff War”
7. “Morning Dew”
8. “New, New Minglewood Blues”
9. “Viola Lee Blues”

Disc Two: P.N.E. Garden Auditorium, Vancouver, BC, Canada
1. “Standing On The Corner”
2. “I Know You Rider”
3. “Next Time You See Me”
4. “Sitting On Top of The World”
5. “You Don’t Have To Ask”
6. “Big Boss Man”
7. “Stealin'”
8. “Cardboard Cowboy”
9. “Baby Blue”
10. “Cream Puff Wars”
11. “Viola Lee Blues”
12. “Beat It On Down The Line”
13. “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”
14. “Cold, Rain and Snow”
15. “One Kind Favor”
16. “Hey Little One”
17. “New Minglewood Blues”  

While some hardcore fans of the Dead might be a little freaked out that the band they spent their teens and twenties following across the country is releasing a 50th anniversary anything, revisiting their music this way will be a good reminder they really don’t age at all.