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Three from the Vault

4.7 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 26, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Nothing quite defines the collective late 20th century pop culture music experience like an epic Grateful Dead concert. Now, a vintage classic Dead show from 1971 adds to this incredible canon with the release of Three From The Vault. The title is all the more extraordinary because it picks up on an ambitious series of superior sounding live releases remixed from the original multi-track master tapes that the band and their archivists launched in '91 with One From The Vault and Two From The Vault. The intent was to release Three immediately afterwards, but it was shelved until now, when it makes its official debut in astonishing HDCD sound. Get ready to enjoy a long strange trip over fifteen years in the making!


Readied in the early '90s (but not released until the summer of 2007) this multi-tracked document of a strong twenty-song, two-hour set by the Dead from February 1971 in Port Chester, NY brims with subtle pleasures and myriad rave-ups. The sound is immaculate throughout, thanks to the group's adoption of radical technology for the time. The band was at a creative peak at the start of '71; both Workingman's Dead and American Beauty had been released the previous year. There are a few points where the group seems a tad lead-footed, but this is understandable as second drummer Mickey Hart had left the previous day for a several year hiatus after it was discovered that his father had ripped off the group while acting as their manager. Overall, the band 's clearly moving towards a more mean and stripped-down sound. And the rocking numbers like "Bertha"--debuted at this gig, along with a handful of other numbers--do benefit from this. To top it all off, the songs sung by Ron "Pigpen" McKernan here are among the strongest the blues interpretations ever recorded. There are a lot of Dead shows out there, and some have historic value, while others just sound great in terms of the performance and fidelity. This show has the full trifecta; it's not to be missed by even the casual 'head. --Mike McGonigal

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Two Ditties [Disc 1]
  2. The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down [Disc 1]
  3. Spring Song [Disc 1]
  4. Truckin' [Disc 1]
  5. Loser [Disc 1]
  6. Cumberland Blues [Disc 1]
  7. Hurts Me Too [Disc 1]
  8. Bertha [Disc 1]
  9. Playing In The Band [Disc 1]
  10. Deal [Disc 1]
  11. Dark Hollow [Disc 1]
  12. Smokestack Lightnin' [Disc 1]
  13. China Cat Sunflower [Disc 1]
  14. I Know You Rider [Disc 1]

Disc: 2

  1. Greatest Story Ever Told [Disc 2]
  2. Johnny B. Goode [Disc 2]
  3. Bird Song [Disc 2]
  4. Easy Wind [Disc 2]
  5. Deal [Disc 2]
  6. That's It For The Other One [Disc 2]
  7. I. Cryptical Envelopment [Disc 2]
  8. II. Drums [Disc 2]
  9. III. The Other One [Disc 2]
  10. Wharf Rat [Disc 2]
  11. Good Lovin' [Disc 2]
  12. Casey Jones [Disc 2]

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 26, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Rhino Records
  • ASIN: B000Q677CM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,036 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It's been awhile since the GD folks have had a new release of archival materials from their legendary tape vault (since moved?). Apparently this baby has been ready to go in the "...From the Vault" (multi-track recording) series for the last 15 years. Ahh, procrastination at it's best! But as R.Hunter once wrote, "all good things in all good time". Well, lets amend that. How about "all GREAT things in all good time"! Because, thats the feeling I got, when listening to this 1971 Capitol Theatre show (Port Chester, NY 2/19/71) now released as the two disc set, "Three From the Vault".

I'm sure there will be plenty of reviews, that recount better than I can, what a busy week Jerry & the boys were having in mid February '71. How they were premiering a truck load of new songs ("Loser", "Bertha", "Playing in the Band", "Warf Rat" "Greatest Story Ever Told", "Bird Song", "Deal"). How this particular show (2nd of a 6 night run) was the first without drummer, Mickey Hart, after an embarassing, embezzlement scandal, involving his father. How the GD used this particular gig's audience in a bon-i-fied, sci-en-ti-fic experiment (try saying it in Mr.Hainy's voice...) of the par-a-normal, thus giving it the nickname of "The ESP Show". But lets leave these details too Dennis McNally and the other historians in the crowd.

Whats really important is that this is really a gen-un-ine (try that Mr. Hainey voice again..) kick-a** show! You'll know it, when you hear it. Some GD archival releases, while interesting, tend to gather dust in your Dead music collection. Others keep finding their way again and again into the ol' CD tray, because they really have something special (think Dick's Picks 8). Well this is one of those releases.
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Format: Audio CD
Yes, the Much-Discussed: "Three From The Vault". Vetoed for release 15 years back, and said to be the Last of "The Vault Series". This was the 2nd of the Six, ESP Shows recorded at the Fine, Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY. This was Billy's first night without Mickey Hart on the other Drum Kit. Eight (8) New Songs, were Debuted during the course of this Six Night run. This was all captured on Mutli-Track Tapes for the Upcoming Live Record (Skull & Roses), but in the End, nothing from this Port Chester Run was used on that Record.

Well any CD release that begins with the "Daffy Duck" Theme: "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" is O.K. with me! Add a small dose of Mendelssohn, and straight into "Truckin" and now you're talkin'."Loser" was debuted the Night before, but already has a Good Jam attached in there. And "Bertha" & "Cumberland Blues" are new as well, but already Crowd-Pleasers. A rare electric: "Dark Hollow" features some real nice Harmonies, with Jerry, Bobby & Phil, hittin' the notes, this is a treat!
But with all that you gotta mention Pigpen, and he's having a Good Time with a Stellar: "Hurts Me Too" and One of the Best: "Smokestack Lightin", this Side of "Bear's Choice", Pig & Jerry get to Play "Tag" on this "Lightin". A fast, but short; "China Cat>Rider", closes the First Set.

The Second Disc (Set 2) has a chunky: "Greatest Story" as The Opener, the chords are a little different, but it's Cool, and Bob sings a Bunch here.
"Johnny B. Goode" is as you know it, Excellant. Early Editions of "Birdsong" & "Deal" are tasty, and a First Ever: "Playin" already displays bits of the Jam, that would turn it into a Monster. "The Other One" is the center of this Set, and it's Complete (With drum solo from Billy).
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Format: Audio CD
There seems to be a little "mystery" about why this release took so long. Phil Lesh didn't like it and nixed it for release back in early 1993. Copies had already been made up and David Gans was even playing it on his show. Basically, what happened was, at the time, Phil didn't want to use any shows that had gone into already released albums and Dan Healy only wanted to use multi track tape so this show (from a run) which was recorded for Grateful Dead (aka Skull & Roses) but not used, was pulled out. This was the second night. The first night found the debut of 6 songs (Bertha, Greatest Story, Johnny B Goode, Wharf Rat, Loser and Playing In The Band) and was the last show for Mickey Hart (Ned Lagin also played Keyboards at that show). This was the first show with just Billy again since September 1967.

This show also found 2 new songs (Bird Song and Deal) being pulled out as well as repeats of some of the new stuff from the night before. When it was brought out in Dupree's Diamond News that songs like Bird Song made it's first appearance here, Phil said "Yeah, but the problem was, it sounds like the first". Later in the year, the band asked Dick to start picking 2 track tapes for release and Healy was fired early the next year. As for the performance itself, I like it. The Truckin' smokes from the get go. The Pigpen songs are strong with hot versions of Smokestack Lightning and Easy Wind. Many (including Phil) have said that spring tour of 1971 might have been Pig's strongest period. Dark Hollow is always welcome and a nice That's It For The Other One. Yeah, I like it but then I liked it back in 1993 too!!!
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