Grateful Dead have reached into the vaults for a reissue of Workingman’s Dead in honor of the record’s 50th anniversary. The 1970 album marked a significant step for the band as they embraced more traditional songwriting, while still keeping their psychedelic roots within reach.
The album featured instant classics that would remain staples of the Dead’s acoustic and electric performances for years to come, including “Casey Jones”, “Uncle John’s Band”, “High Time”, and more.
Chief among the features on the three-CD and digital reissue is a newly-unearthed concert from February 2nd, 1971 at Port Chester, NY’s famed Capitol Theatre. The concert, which came six months after the release of Workingman’s and three months after that album’s spiritual companion, American Beauty, displays the new Americana/folk leanings the Dead had embraced. While the show was completely electric, the band still took on noteworthy renditions of Workingman’s staples “Easy Wind” and a show-closing “Uncle John’s Band”, as well as “Casey Jones”.
The album also features remastered versions of all eight songs found on the original record. Yet the 50th reissue isn’t the only fanfare Workingman’s Dead has received, as the Dead have also released a trove of studio outtakes from the album sessions entitled Workingman’s Dead: The Angel’s Share. That, along with the launch of the Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast, has provided a window into the band’s formative tenure at the turn of the decade like never before. Dead archivist David Lemieux said of the Workingman’s reissue,
Since we embarked on the series of Grateful Dead 50th anniversary releases, we’ve had a blast re-mastering the original albums and finding previously unreleased live material from the era for each. In 2020, we’re blessed to have two albums celebrating their 50th anniversaries, and we’re thrilled with how Workingman’s Dead has turned out. For an album as important and great as Workingman’s Dead, it seemed appropriate to double the amount of bonus material. The show we’ve selected gives a definitive overview of what the band were up to six months after the release of the album and shows the Dead sound that would largely define the next couple of years. From Workingman’s Dead through Europe ’72, the Dead’s sound was Americana, and the live show included here is a workingman’s band playing authentically honest music.
Listen to the 50th anniversary reissue of Workingman’s Dead below. Order the three-CD set here.
Grateful Dead — Workingman’s Dead (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)