The Grateful Dead’s 1973 live album History Of The Grateful Dead, Volume 1 (Bear’s Choice) has been newly remastered to celebrate the seven-track collection’s 50th anniversary. History Of The Grateful Dead, Volume 1 (Bear’s Choice 50th Anniversary Edition) is due out on vinyl and via digital streaming platforms on May 5. 

Bear’s Choice showcases Dead co-founder and original frontman Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, who tragically died 50 years ago at age 27. The album collects highlights from the band’s February 13 and 14, 1970 performances at New York City’s Fillmore East. Grateful Dead LSD guru and original sound engineer Owsley “Bear” Stanley recorded and produced the set featuring three songs fronted by Pigpen. David Glasser remastered the LP from Bear’s original analog 2-track tapes using Plangent Processes.

The Grateful Dead lineup at the time Bear’s Choice was recorded saw multi-instrumentalist Pigpen joined by guitarists/vocals  Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, bassist/vocals Phil Lesh, and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann.

This latest remastered version of “Bear’s Choice” is awesome, I’ve been listening to it repeatedly.  The only thing I find disappointing about this latest release is the omittance of the four bonus tracks that were present on 2003’s re-mastered “Bear’s Choice”. These include Good Lovin, Big Boss Man, Smokestack Lightning, Sitting On Top Of The World”.  Either way, this is a fine example of the Grateful Dead’s acoustic and electric fluidity. I highly suggest buying this album for its intoxicating musicality and outstanding sound quality.

Katie Mae

Dark Hollow

I’ve Been All Around This World

Wake Up Little Susie

Black Peter

Smokestack Lightnin

Hard To Handle