Day 316: Hell In A Bucket, 10/14/83

Apparently I’ve opted for a lot of songs from this release. Since this project began I’ve picked tracks from Dick’s Picks, Vol. 6 seven times. That’s a lot. I would offer the caveat that the “Mega Suite” necessitated four picks, but still that’s a lot.

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So why do I keep coming back to Dick’s Picks, Vol. 6? I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite Grateful Dead show, and it’s not even my favorite from the Dick’s Picks series. I will say, however, that the vintage of the show, 1983, likely helps because sometimes you want an 80s show and there aren’t a lot of options, especially in the 81-87 period. As a result I think that a lot of the songs performed at this show are very interesting. Having not gone to shows in the early 80s I don’t know what was “typical” for the period with regard to some of these songs. I haven’t sought out a lot of early 80s shows either because the soundboards are very hit or miss and the audience recordings can be a crap shoot. Call me lazy, but that’s a lot of work!

So I was looking for a version of Hell In A Bucket, fully expecting to pick something from 1987 or more recent, but then this 1983 version popped into my field of vision and I just knew I wanted to take a closer listen to something that was more unfamiliar to me. The second disc of this set has gotten a ton of play from me over the years, but the first and third discs still have plenty of gems, and I feel like I’ve identified a few of them in these pages.

So without further ado… a 1983 vintage Hell In A Bucket!

This is definitely a pre-In the Dark version. The intro is bass heavy and far less in-your-face than what would become the norm. The playing comes across as more sparse here, but some of that may simply be the recording itself. Brent coaxes those sweet, sweet B3 sounds here. perhaps it’s just me but the changes sound a bit sloppy in places. Garcia’s guitar is a bit low in the mix during his solo but he plays some descending lines that keep the song’s momentum moving in the right direction. Bob’s vocals here come across as less “rock star” than they became on this song later. Of course right as I type that he starts the vocal improv at the end and starts to get into that familiar Bobby territory. The ending comes very quickly and slams right into Day Job.

Complete Setlist 10/14/83

Previous Hell In A Bucket DFAY Selections

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3 comments to “Day 316: Hell In A Bucket, 10/14/83”
  1. My freshman roommate at the U of MD in Fall ’84 was a deadhead from CT, so my first exposure to the GD was his tape collection. It was 10/11/83 with the St. Stephen breakout, and mostly the audience’s reaction, that made me take notice that “there’s something going on here!” But an AUD tape of this show was my first exposure to these songs. I was well familiar with this show by the time the DP series released it, but the sonic upgrade was huge.

    I guess that’s an “advantage” that I have in listening to GD these days…EVERYTHING is an upgrade over the quality we dealt with in my formative deadhead years. Variability of SBD quality was a minor concern…just having a SBD to begin with was something to rejoice. I can also appreciate a good AUD tape, not just for the “show feel” it captures, but because we had to make do with so many lesser versions until something stellar came along.

    • This just makes me realize how spoiled I am viz. good quality recordings. It would be interesting to get some data from Deadheads about this subject. I hypothesize that those who came up on AUDs are more forgiving in terms of sound quality than those who didn’t trade or who only relied on official releases.

      I’ve got my share of un-released show, some of which are AUDs, but honestly I don’t listen to them that much because I’ve got so many shows in excellent sound quality.

  2. I am pretty sure your hypothesis would be proven strongly. We were lucky at UMD, as someone in our circle had a hook-up on the 1985 “Amy Boards” that were leaking out, so we had low-gen SBDs for many of those shows soon after. And when the Betty Boards started showing up…whoa Nelly! That was a good time.

    The real revelation that the digitization of the vault brought me was the re-discovery of the early years. The tapes I had from the 60s and 70s would’ve made your ears bleed, LB! The ability to call up shows at will from, and select which source to enjoy, is a modern-day miracle, for sure. And the official releases keep coming, which improve on available sources in most cases and in others bring to light uncirculated shows like the Houseboat Tapes.

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