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Friday, December 31, 2010

Dick Latvala and Dick's Picks - a life for The Grateful Dead

Dick Latvala, a tape-recorder obsessed and a die-hard Deadhead, has been the archivist for The Grateful Dead's load of superb, often stellar, only sometimes so-so live-recordings 'til his (untimely) death.

The so-called "Dick's Picks" reached, continuing after his passing away, an impressive 36 volumes - i.e. ALL multiple disks with recording data and a musical quality VERY often surpassing the official issues on WB, Arista or other major labels, due to the first generation live, two-tracks master-tapes as a source.

The honest, straightforwarded approach was absolutely true and near to original Deads and Deadheads' spirit - i.e. "Each volume of Dick's Picks has its own "caveat emptor" label, advising the listener of the sound quality of the recording. The label for volume 1 reads:

"The recording herein has been lovingly remastered directly from the original two-track master tape and is therefore not immune to the various glitches, splices, reel changes and other aural gremlins contained on said original. Dick's Picks differs from our From The Vault series in that we simply did not have access to complete shows (nor the modern mixing capabilities afforded by multitrack tapes). But we think the historical value and musical quality of these tapes more than compensates for any technical anomalies... In other words, what you hear is what you get. And what you get ain't bad!".

... and, looking for a lesson, this is the living (...) proof that being obsessed by something is the only path to go...

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