A new Grateful Dead LP collects previously unreleased live songs from the early to mid-Nineties that envisioned a potential track list for an unrecorded final studio album.
Band archivist David Lemieux curated the nine-song Ready or Not, which arrives November 22nd on CD, limited-edition double-LP and digital formats. Dead.net will offer an exclusive colored vinyl edition of the 2-LP (with one red and one blue disc), limited to 2,000 copies.
Ready or Not features late-period Grateful Dead songs debuted onstage in 1992 and 1993 by their final lineup: singer-guitarist Jerry Garcia, drummer Mickey Hart, drummer Bill Kreutzmann, bassist Phil Lesh, singer-guitarist Bob Weir and then-new keyboardist Vince Welnick. The versions on the LP run up through April 1995, four months before Garcia died from a heart attack.
Notable selections include the Garcia/Robert Hunter composition “Days Between”; Bob Weir’s collaboration with Rob Wasserman and blues icon Willie Dixon, “Eternity”; and two songs written by Weir and Hunter, “Corinna” and “Easy Answers.” One track from the project, a live version of “Lazy River Road” recorded March 25th, 1993 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is now streaming.
The band issued their 13th and final studio album, Built to Last, in 1989, and they were unable to complete studio versions of the subsequent Nineties live cuts before Garcia’s death.
“Ready Or Not has been a long time coming,” Lemieux said in a statement. “It’s an album we’ve been working on for many, many years. This batch of ‘new’ Grateful Dead songs has never been compiled in one place and given its proper due as a huge part of the Dead’s late-era legacy.
“Many of these songs can easily stand alongside some of the Dead’s oldest, most-loved songs as bona fide classics despite their short tenure in the repertoire,” he continued. “We’ve dug deep into the archive and listened to countless live versions of these songs to find the best, most definitive live performances. When the Grateful Dead were ‘on’ in their later years, their live concerts were as good as any era in their history. The nine songs on Ready Or Not exemplify how good the Dead could be in their later years of touring.”
The album’s announcement arrives weeks after Hunter’s death at age 78.