A newly surfaced studio recording purported to be of the Grateful Dead in early 1975 has been shared. The 22-minute recording is believed to be a variation of the title track to their LP Blues For Allah, which was released in 1975.
Alan Bershaw uploaded the studio recording labeled “The First Day” to Archive.org and posted a lengthy note detailing the suspected origins of the tape. He speculates the lineup features the return of drummer Mickey Hart and the absence of Donna Jean Godchaux in part due to it being an instrumental track. There’s some debate about whether the tape includes keyboardist Ned Lagin or others. Head here to read all of Bershaw’s notes, which end with this conclusion:
I should also add that I’m aware of another version of this recording. I also have a DAT that I think I received in trade from Steven Martin back in the early 1990s. That contains this same recording, but with it divided into two sequences, with a short break in the middle. On this reel, those two sequences are seamlessly spliced together. Despite this spliced version originating from the same two sequences, the reel sounds significantly better and has considerably more dynamic range than the two sequences found on the DAT.
I’ve scoured through all known notation for 1975 Grateful Dead studio sessions, outtakes and rehearsals, but can find no mention or match to this particular recording – or of any January 1975 studio recordings for that matter. Surprising, since this is such remarkable quality. It very well may be the earliest recording of the Grateful Dead’s return following the 1974 retirement. Have a listen. I don’t think anyone will be disappointed.
Stream the recording below:
[Hat Tip – Tomorrow’s Verse]