Exposé Online banner

Grateful Dead — Rare Cuts & Oddities 1966
(Rhino Records DECD282 , 1966/2013, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2013-12-13

 Rare Cuts & Oddities 1966 Cover artThis collection of rare live and studio material that pre-dates the Grateful Dead’s first eponymous album by a year or more was briefly available when it was first released in 2005 on the Dead’s own label, and immediately went out of print, commanding prices of upwards of $150 or more on eBay. Before I was prepared to open my wallet wide and hand over a good portion of a paycheck on this, I wanted to know a little more about what this material was all about; after all, the Golden Road boxed set from 2001 of all the Warner Brothers albums contained the exclusive two-disc bonus Birth of The Dead, that contained early demo and live material of roughly the same vintage. Was Rare Cuts material duplicated on that set? Fast forward to 2013 and suddenly this single-disc compilation is available again, thanks to Rhino, at a price that anyone can afford, and indeed I’m happy to report that all of the material here is exclusive to this set. Those who can appreciate the more basic blues-rock, electrified traditional folk, and pre-psychedelic ‘garage band’ sound prevalent on the Dead’s first album from 1967 – there aren’t that many of us – will find plenty of interest here, which includes various studio demo, rehearsal and live recordings leading up to their signing with WB. The 78+ minutes of material here has also been released as a double LP set, the first LP containing the demo and rehearsals, the second containing all the live material. A mix of covers and originals, the Rolling Stones’ influence is undeniable, as much of their early repertoire is here (“King Bee,” “Empty Heart,” “Not Fade Away,” “Walking the Dog”), but also worthy of note are the early Dead’s interpretations of some folk standards like “Betty and Dupree” and “Silver Threads and Golden Needles.” The originals offer a look at the formative stages of some of their better early cuts like “Caution (Do Not Step on the tracks)” and “Cream Puff War,” and a rare Pigpen original composition “You See a Broken Heart.” For fans of the early Dead sound, Rare Cuts & Oddities is an essential piece of the puzzle, and is now available again at an affordable price.

Filed under: Archives, 2013 releases, 1966 recordings

Related artist(s): Grateful Dead

Latest news

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Bass Gang - Evasioni, Fughe & La Contrabbassatta – Alberto Pocini is a double-bass player from Italy who's played extensively in his homeland as well as with the London Symphony Orchestra. Pocini's After Genesis project attests to his varied musical...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues