Garcia Family Provisions have announced a new archival series dubbed Heads & Tails that will piece together partial recordings from Jerry Garcia‘s trove of live audio. The series will debut on November 3rd with a first volume featuring selected tracks from 1972 and 1988.

“The short version, if you just want to text somebody the good news,” an announcement reads, “is that there’s going to be a new archival Jerry Garcia LP series on Round Records called Heads & Tails, designed to showcase exciting, unheard performances that each fit onto the single side of a record, paired with evocative and detailed album art that’s fun to swim inside. The series launches November 3rd, ready for advance orders now from Garcia Family Provisions. Yes, it will be streaming, too. The longer version is that the new Heads & Tails series is the fun solution to a pair of very LP-sized (and Garcia-shaped) problems.”

Those problems included developing what the late Grateful Dead guitarist referred to as a “record consciousness.” The concept referred to the ability to create music that could be properly recorded in a studio, pressed onto LPs, and sold in stores. Of course, much of Garcia’s musical legacy is built on doing the exact opposite of “record consciousness.” Many of the recordings still sitting in the vault don’t exactly fit the 18–22 minute format to fit on one side of a vinyl LP. Sometimes jams spill over from one side to the other, or are the opposite and end up too short “and eventually you’re getting up from your beanbag every 10 minutes to flip the record,” the announcement laments.

The other issue has to do with the physical condition of many of the tapes in the vault which impedes a complete release of many of the shows. In the middle of a terrific jam or run of songs, there might be a reel flip that breaks up the segment, a bad cut at the head or tail of the tape, or myriad other physical and technological imperfections that takes the recording out of contention for a full archival release. This is exactly the situation Heads & Tails was made for, as these singular sides of sonic splendor from the Jerry Garcia catalog are now fit for the public. The announcement of this new series also follows the release of GarciaLive Volume 20, the first installment of the GarciaLive series to feature partial “filler” recordings from two different concerts to fill out the 2CD set.

Playing into this double-sided concept, Heads & Tails will feature corresponding “flippable” artwork. The illustrations and album jacket will be designed to be reversible, with new designs apparent when turned upside down, right side up, forwards, and backward.

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The Heads & Tails series will begin with the first volume chronicling two vastly different eras of Jerry Garcia’s solo career. On the “heads” side is a recording from January 19th, 1972 in San Anselmo, CA featuring the original lineup of what became the Jerry Garcia Band, born out of Jerry’s weekly jams at the Matrix. Alongside keyboardist Merl Saunders, the lineup included bassist John Kahn, drummer Bill Vitt, and special guest Paul Butterfield jamming on “Save Mother Earth” for an entire side of the LP. Over on the “tails” side, we skip ahead to February 8th, 1988 in Santa Rosa, CA with the solidified latter-era lineup of JGB comprised of Kahn, Melvin SealsDavid KemperGloria Jones, and Jacklyn LaBranch. Together they tackle the soulful singalong “Don’t Let Go” and “Think”.

Jerry Garcia’s Heads & Tails: Volume 1 is available here for pre-order from Garcia Family Provisions.

Heads & Tails: Volume 1 Tracklist

Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders
January 19, 1972 @ Lion’s Share – San Anselmo, CA
1. Save Mother Earth

Jerry Garcia Band
February 5, 1988 @ Veterans Memorial Auditorium – Santa Rosa, CA
1. Don’t Let Go
2. Think