You may have thought the exhaustive list of Grateful Dead bootlegs was complete after seeing every vinyl bootleg from the 60s and 70s, 80s, 90s, and the 21st century on ThirstyVinyl, but you were wrong!
Grateful Dead bootlegs can’t be bound by phenomena like time and space, and much like the band, some of their best achievements are found in those far off places where details seem scattered and unimportant.
That’s what this article is – a smattering of all the other Grateful Dead bootlegs on vinyl that can’t be attributed to a certain year or decade, and instead are comfortably floating through the transitive nightfall of diamonds.
“It left a smoking crater of my mind I like to blow away"
– Bob Weir –
The first and only release from UFO Records is one of my favorite Grateful Dead bootlegs of all time, called The Crypticál Envelöpment. It’s not just the album’s cover that depicts a crash landing on some distant planet, or the aggressive overuse of Umlaut dots, or even the poetic scripture on the vinyl’s inner sticker “go placidly amid the noise and haste”. What it’s really about is the segment of music embedded in this vinyl’s grooves. This bootleg contains an uninterrupted segment of music from the Dead’s early show on February 13th, 1970 at the Fillmore East in New York City. The first three songs track 30 minutes a piece and navigate Dark Star > That’s It For The Other One > Turn On Your Lovelight followed by a melodic, And We Bid You Goodnight. The master reel soundboard recording doesn’t hurt either.
Next up is Blowing a Rainbow, which is a live recording from the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine on March 31st 1985. The songs on the album are out of order but all from set 2, plus the US Blues encore. This bootleg is pressed on translucent orange vinyl.
The Dead’s most famous European tour was in the spring of 1972, hands down, but they made another trip across the pond in fall of 1974 with tour dates in England, Germany and France. This bootleg, called Uncle John’s Band Vol. 1, includes live tracks from their performance at the Parc des Exposition in Paris on September 18th, despite the album’s title, which references a different venue in Paris, called Palais de Seine, which is where the band played on September 20th and 21st 1974, but it’s not where the songs on this bootleg vinyl are from.
Uncle John’s Band Vol. 2 completes the two part bootleg set, and this one actually includes live tracks from Palais de Seine, as the title implies. The 2 LP album includes a mishmash of songs from both nights covering September 20th and 21st 1974. Each vinyl includes a sweet inner label depicting an airborne skater from “Indianpolis” own Skating Records. The misspelling of the city’s name is odd and suggests it’s a bogus address, which makes sense because why would someone put a real address on a bootleg?
Acoustic Daze is an all-acoustic bootleg that includes songs from a show at Harpur College in Binghamton, New York thanks to the Grateful Dead and New Riders of the Purple Sage recorded on May 2nd 1970. Side B of the album includes the song, Cold Jordan, which may be the only album this song has ever appeared on. This show is legendary and was covered by Relix and released in full as Dick Pick’s Volume 8 in 1997.
We have POOW Productions L.S.D. to thank for the next Grateful Dead bootleg titled, For Dead Heads Only, a 3LP box set with live recordings from Capitol Theater on August 26th, 1978. The album also includes a live recording of Chinatown Shuffle from the Dead’s New Year’s Eve show at Winterland Ballroom in 1970-71, and two tracks, Mr. Charlie and Lied & Cheated (correct song title, Next Time You See Me), from a Dead show at the Felt Forum in New York in December 1971.
Next up is Nights of the Living Dead from Blinding Light Records. The source and year of the songs on this bootleg are unknown but based on the track listing, the album appears to include live recordings from the early 1970s and probably 1971 or 72.
Thanks to 2 Ave Records, comes Dead A Head, a 2 LP bootleg with live recordings from Nassau Coliseum on May 2nd 1980, Arizona State University on October 6th 1977, and an unknown date in 1978. Similar to many bootlegs, this album is littered with songs being mislabeled, misspellings, etc. Despite what the back cover says, here’s what the actual tracks are: Side 1 – Alabama Getaway > Promised Land, Playin' In The Band > Uncle John's Band; Side 2 – Not Fade Away (2nd half of song after NFA > Black Peter segue) > Around & Around, Estimated Prophet > Drums; Side 4 – Candyman, Loser.
Sundown on the Union is our next unofficial release, which deviates a bit from the typical Dead bootleg path. This album includes songs performed in collaboration with Bob Dylan and instead of recordings from live performances, it has studio recordings. If I had to guess, I would bet this album was released in 1989 and in the same year as the official live collaborative release, Dylan & the Dead. Perhaps the bootleg has the upper hand here too since it includes an extra vinyl and considerably more songs.
Getting back to live show recordings, we have Live at Long Beach Arena 1981 from Pacific Presentations. The Dead’s 81 Long Beach shows were on August 27th and 28th, and this bootleg includes songs from the 2nd set of the 2nd night.
Next up from our friends in China is The Best of the Grateful Dead, a bootleg containing live recordings from the Dead’s legendary half acoustic, half electric show at Harpur College in Binghamton, NY on May 2nd 1970. It may be nice to pair this album up with the all acoustic, Acoustic Haze, listed above since it includes a few electric songs from the 2nd set (i.e., Cosmic Charlie and The Other One).
Another non-descript Grateful Dead bootleg is Live including live recordings from who knows when or where. That’s all I got. Is there anyone out there that knows more about this release?
Another live collaboration release of Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead is titled, Triumph from Sleepy Dragon Records. This 2 LP bootleg includes live tracks from July 26th 1987 when Dylan and the Dead rocked the house in Anaheim Stadium.
Highway Dead is a relatively non-descript bootleg. The album provides no clues as to when or where the songs were played and the front cover includes photos from a few different shows – most notably April 11th 1972 when the band got a bit whackier than normal and performed with masks on. Who can forget Phil wearing that clown mask?!
The Cowboy’s Dead! is a 1 LP album with live recordings from the often bootlegged Harpur College show in Binghamton, NY May 2nd 1970. Side 1 contains set 1 gems. Side 2 is nothing but a set 2 rendition of The Other One. Fitting for the list of “The Other Ones”.
Live at Felt Forum, N.Y.C. Dec. 5th, 1971 is the next bootleg with unknown origins, although some message boards online suggest its release in Europe in the mid-to-late 1980s. The box set includes 3 LPs and the entire December 5th show except the first song in Set 1, Bertha. Other Dead bootlegs that include less live tracks from this popular show include “Live”, released by Berkeley Records in 1975 (see GD bootlegs from the 60s and 70s for more info), as well as a few other unofficial releases from unknown sources in unknown years, all of which are depicted below and as follows: “Felt Forum – Dec. 5 1971”, “Live At The Felt Forum (picture disc)”, "Double Dead" and "Felt Forum".
Next up is Live in San Francisco from Ricordi International, which includes 2 sides and 38 minutes of live recordings from what is likely the Grateful Dead’s show at Fillmore West on July 2nd 1971. This bootleg came in a white sleeve with a 3D Grateful Dead sticker.
The next 4 installments are Live in Kopenhagen Vol. 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively. Fittingly, all 4 albums, originally sold separately, include live tracks and an audience recording from the Dead’s show in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 8th 1981. The bootlegs come on translucent green vinyl and in trippy outer sleeves that accentuate the female figure and look uber Euro “The Deads”. Volume 1 is the first 8 songs from the show. Volume 2 includes the next 4 songs with a repeat of Mexicali Blues and tasty Scarlet > Fire. Volume 3 includes the next 5 songs, which finishes the Fire on the Mountain from Volume 2 as well as a Playing in the Band > Terrapin Station > Drums. Volume 4 has more of the 2nd set from 10/8/1971 plus a bonus Jack Straw from April 17th 1972, also played in Copenhagen but nine years earlier.
Maybe the posterchild for “The Other Ones” list of Grateful Dead bootlegs is Unknown? Wellknown? What shows are these recordings from? Who knows! When was this bootleg released? Your guess is as good as mine! However, we can narrow down the era when these tracks were recorded – between 1984 and 1987. Got to love the neon green vinyl pressing too.
For a dose of infamous Dead comes Live in Gizah, Egypt, a 3 LP bootleg with live recordings from the Grateful Dead shows in Egypt on September 14th, 15th and 16th 1978. The limited run promotional release came with a foldout poster, sticker and book too.
Next up is Keep Your Sunny Side Up, a bootleg with a “do it yourself” drawing (by Chuck) on the outer sleeve that includes 2 tracks featuring the New Riders of the Purple Sage and several others from the Grateful Dead from their 5 night run at the Fillmore East, New York from April 25-29th 1971.
The next unidentifiable Grateful Dead bootleg is Ramppens Revenge!, a 2 LP set that includes live recordings from 1972, 1974 and 1976. Poow Productions L.S.D. knows what’s up and included classic versions of each song included in this unofficial release. It’s also worth noting that “Orphiean” on Side 2 is actually St. Stephen and “Orphan” on Side 4 is actually Supplication.
Cosmic Seven is an unofficial release with 4 sides of live tracks from the Oakland Coliseum on December 27th 1987, which includes a bonus Morning Dew from Angel’s Camp, California at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds on August 23rd 1987. Side C also includes three songs (i.e., In the Midnight Hour, Aiko Aiko and Good Morning Little School Girl) performed with legendary guitarist, Carlos Santana.
Perhaps the most nondescript Grateful Dead bootleg is Live From Oakland Coliseum 12/27/1987. The unofficial release came in a plain white sleeve with no text or images and white inner sleeves with more nothingness. Here’s an image of the album with writing on it by its owner. The actual track listing is Brown Eyed Women, Jack Straw, Mr. Charlie, Tennessee Jed, El Paso, Next Time You See Me, Ramble on Rose, Mexicali Blues, Sugar Magnolia.
Sporting one of my favorite covers on a Grateful Dead bootleg, Stella Blue is a 2 LP set with live recordings from the Spectrum in Philadelphia, PA on April 8th 1985. It’s the companion to Brokedown Palace, which also includes songs from the 1st set of the same show. The cover artwork on both is thanks to Stanley “Mouse” Kelley, known for other iconic album images like The Steve Miller Band’s, Book of Dreams, and numerous Grateful Dead images like Europe ’72, which was done in collaboration with Alton Kelley.
Thanks to Dope Records we have In Trouble City, a Grateful Dead bootleg with tracks from the 60s. To be exact, the first 4 tracks (i.e., Cold Rain & Snow, Hard to Handle, Mason’s Children, Turn On Your Lovelight) are from December 28th 1969, and the last 2 songs (i.e., I’m Satisfied with My Girl, The Rub) are actually predate the Warlocks/Grateful Dead and are from July 1964 by Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, recorded in Palo Alto, California.
Amazing Stork Records released the bootleg titled, Jamaica, with live recordings from the Grateful Dead show at the Bob Marley Performing Arts Center in Montego Bay, Jamaica on November 25th 1982. The 2 LP set includes the first 10 songs of that show, uninterrupted, which is nice, and a juicy Scarlet > Fire with fitting Caribbean vibe going on during the Scarlet Begonias.
Another bootleg featuring a Grateful Dead collaboration, and this time with the Beach Boys – yes the Beach Boys – includes 2 LPs and live recordings from the Fillmore East in New York on April 27th 1971. Four songs are performed with both bands playing together, i.e., Searchin, Riot In Cell Block #9, Help Me Rhonda, Okie from Muskogee, Johnny B. Goode) whereas the other songs that day were played by the bands separately. Here’s an in-depth account of the show thanks to JamBase if interested in learning more.
Next up is The Grateful Dead Live, a 2 LP bootleg with live recordings from the Dead’s Europe ’72 tour and show in Hamburg, Germany at Musikhalle on April 29th 1972. A few corrections to the tracks listed on the back cover include: “Weir’s Song”, which is actually Greatest Story Ever Told; and “The Jumper”, which is actually Jack Straw.
Past & Present is another unofficial Grateful Dead release with unknown origins. The two-sided release includes live tracks the early 70s and likely from spring tour dates in New York in 1970 and 1971. Other than that, there’s not too much info out there on this bootleg.
Another collaborative bootleg is titled, Grateful Dead featuring Steve Winwood: Anderson Theatre New York II/2/1970. The unofficial release was pressed in Germany by The Stoneys, but the year and decade of the album’s release are unknown. According to the back cover, a total of 600 copies were made and the first 20 pressings were done on colored vinyl although I’ve never seen one. A more interesting tidbit is that the date and venue of the show listed are wrong. Steve Winwood sat in with the Grateful Dead at the Fillmore East, not Anderson Theatre, in New York City on November 16th 1970, not 11/2/1970, when the band Winwood used to play in, Traffic, was in town to play the Fillmore too on November 18-19th.
From our friends, The Amazing Kornyfone Records (or was it?), comes our next bootleg titled, The Dead Non Stop. The front cover of the unofficial release depicts a newspaper man with a ominously high stack of newspapers with headlines like, 1973 Ron “Pigpen” McKernan dies of a stomach hemorrhage. The album jacket also says the songs are from New York City in 1980, and based off the track listing, that probably means they’re live tracks from the Dead’s famous 1980 Radio City Music Hall performances (officially captured on Dead releases like Reckoning, which included 4 acoustic tracks from Radio City with the rest from the Warfield Theatre), with acoustic 1st sets and electric 2nd sets.
Another release from a known bootlegger, Pharting Pharoah, comes, Bridget’s Album (Eugene 1987 Part One), which includes live recordings from the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan collaborative performance on July 19th 1987 in hippy haven Eugene, Oregon. It’s likely this unofficial was released in the 1987 or 1988 since “Part Two” was released in 1988. To keep these gems together, they’re being included in The Other Ones. I suspect no one will object.
To round out Bridget’s Album Part One comes Touch of Grey (Eugene 1987 Part Two) with more live recordings from the Dead and Dylan show in Eugene on July 19th 1987. Part Two includes tracks from the 2nd half of the show and Part One covers the first half – logic.
Up next is Dead Relix from Cat N Dog Records. The bootleg includes live recordings from the Dead’s show in Oakland, California on October 10th 1976. It’s also worth mentioning a great question on the front cover that says, “What’s the weirdest thing to happen to you ata Dead concert?” The answer to that question could probably rival the greatest stories ever told.
Another Grateful Dead bootleg with relatively unknown origins is Dark Star from Karma City Records in New York, NY. The track listing suggests live recordings from the early 70s, but we can’t be sure until someone scoops this record up, gives it a listen and reports back.
Next up is Recorded Live in Concert ’69. Despite what the album’s title suggests, the bootleg likely includes live recordings from the early 70s since several songs included in the bootleg weren’t played by the Dead until the 70s (e.g., Brokedown Palace, 8/18/1970 and Deal 2/19/1971).
Winterland Picture Disc is a bootleg with live tracks from the Grateful Dead’s New Year’s Eve show at Winterland Arena that was broadcast live on local radio San Francisco FM radio station KSAN. Although I’ve never put ears on this album, message boards online suggest poor pressing quality and a D grade for trying to mix soundboard and audience recordings. Hunter Seamons would not approve.
Up next is a relatively unique Grateful Dead bootleg from Ampex Records since it includes live recordings of rehearsals from Bob Dylan and the Dead in 1987. The tracks are from Club Front studio in San Rafael, California and were recorded in March and April 1987. Also, depicted below is a publicity photo from Club Front for “The Return of the Dead” in 1987. The boys looks great!
Another Dead bootleg with live recordings from California is Live from Long Beach from Tricky Dick Productions. There’s not a lot of information out there about this record, but the track listing suggests it includes live recordings from the early 1980s. It’s also worth noting a few songs with incorrect titles, such as “Must be Heaven” is really Saint of Circumstance.
Next up is a bootleg titled, Of Dark Stars and Lovelights, that opted to include less songs, just 2, and more drawn-out jams performed in collaboration with the Allman Brothers. Most notably Side A reads Dark Star, but it’s actually the tail end of Dark Star into an excellent version of Spanish Jam from February 11th 1970. Side B includes some of a 33-minute Turn On Your Lovelight that followed Spanish Jam on the same night in New York at the Fillmore East.
Thanks to Baktabak records we have Interview Picture Disc that includes interviews (likely from 1989) with Mickey Hart on side 1 and Bob Weir on side 2. The unofficial release was pressed in London, England and has some nice photos pressed into the vinyl.
One of my favorite Grateful Dead bootlegs is titled, Mickey Hart and the Heart Beats, Living on the Edge, 1968 California. The 2 LP release includes a series of “primal” jam sessions performed by the Grateful Dead at The Matrix in San Francisco, California in fall of 1968. The tracking listings on the album’s back cover are purposefully non-descript, but the actual track listings, with dates played, are provided below. The coolest thing about this unofficial release is that 3 of the 4 sides top 41 minutes of music, and the album’s total running time exceeds 160 minutes. That’s unbelievable!
Side A 10/8/1968 (34:11) … Dark Star > Cosmic Charlie > Next Time You See Me Jam
Side B 10/8/1968 (41:30) … Clementine Jam > Eleven Jam > Death Don’t Have No Mercy > The Seven Jam
Side C 10/30/1968 (42:53) … Dark Star Jam > Death Letter Blues > Other One Jam
Side D 10/30/1968 (44:06) … St. Stephen Jam > Turn On Your Lovelight Jam; 10/8/1968 … Clementine Jam > The Eleven Jam > Death Don’t Have No Mercy, Clementine Jam (false start after amp dies)