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Friday, February 03, 2012

April 1975 Legion of Mary tapes

Some brave souls at Lossless Legs are wading into the waters of the April 1975 Legion of Mary tapes.
I fear that, like all those who have come before, these tapes will defy our collective ability to pin down what's what (correct dates and such). Most importantly, this shit seems to have come in bits and pieces of tape that got all jumbled up somewhere along the way. Ryan's old notes on 4/9/75 spoke to all of this, as he tried heroically (and, I think, ultimately unsuccessfully) to make sense of what was what. Another long time Garcia collector had the following listed for 4/12/75a in Scranton:
04/12/75a Scranton, PA - Masonic Temple                          MS?>?>CD        Partial 35                      
          This material is extremely confused, and may actually be from 4/8/75b, or some other date.
          Set One: on disc two of "4/15/75": 2. [0:04] Tough Mama [7:47] [0:08], 3. [0:05] Wondering
          Why [15:47] [0:04], 4. [0:17] I'll Take a Melody [9:50] [0:05]
Note here that the material at the time of that last was thought to be 4/12/75a, but it was feared to be 4/8/75a (notwithstanding that it came off a source labeled 4/15/75!). The 4/12/75 Scranton material continues to be confused and contested to the present day.
So, point #1 of this post: be careful following what's on tape labels!
Second, and this is really more of a note to myself, Ryan's old 4/9/75 notes contained some important Betty Board information that I had nearly lost track of. In his collecting, he had located three distinct sources, and made the following notes:
  1. Master SBD Reel > 1st gen reel > PCM > DAT (44kHz)
  2. Master SBD Reel > 1st gen reel > DAT (48kHz +emphasis)
  3. Master SBD Reel > 2 cassette gens > DAT (48kHz)
Tapes #1 and #2 descend from the Marin Flea Market batch of Betty Cantor reels. These are reels that “fell out” from the infamous Betty locker auction that happened in 1985. 1st gen 15ips copies were made from the master 7.5ips reels [i.e., Master SBD reels (2-track Nagra SL11183 at 7.5 ips on 7" Scotch 206 reels) > 1st gen reel (2-track Otari MX5050 at 15ips on 7" reels] ... I believe Jeff Silberman and other long-time traders were very instrumental in getting copies of this show widely circulated.

Tape #3 comes from the early/mid ‘80s and appears to be from a completely different path than tapes #1 and #2.
I am intrigued by this, because I think it's a part of the Betty Board history that was almost been forgotten, at least by me. Is it correct that there was a Marin Flea Market batch in 1985? Is this a separate batch from the storage unit tapes that were digitized in late 1986/early 1987? Is the Third Batch that I have been discussing really the third batch, or is it correct that "A smaller batch of Betty Boards was discovered in 1990 and returned almost immediately to the GD” Vault (Harvey 2009), such that the "Third Batch" (the uncirculated Garcia stuff, which came into some light in late 1995) really a Fourth Batch? I am confused, and the existing histories (Dwork et al. 2000; Harvey 2009) don't answer my questions. I have got some 'splaining to do, just to myself.

  1. Dwork, John, and Alexis Muellner, with Dougal Donaldson, Doug Oade and Mark Kraitchman. 2000. Outside the System. In The Deadhead's Taping Compendium, vol. III, An In-depth Guide to the Music of the Grateful Dead on Tape, 1986-1995 (New York: Henry Holt/Owl Books.), pp. 33-62.
  2. Harvey, Katie A. 2009. Embalming the Dead: Taping, Trading and Collecting the Aura of the Grateful Dead. Master of Arts Thesis, Tufts University, August. URL, consulted 12/18/2011.

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