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Friday, December 6, 2019

The Bear Tapes

Owsley Stanley was known as the foremost underground LSD chemist of the 1960s. But he was also an exacting pioneer of live concert sound, a man who helped invent both monitor systems and high-fidelity amplification. When he died in 2011 at the age of 76, Stanley left behind a breathtaking array of some 1,300 reels amassed between 1966 and 1982. Buried inside are lost concerts by legends like Johnny Cash, Fleetwood Mac, Tim Buckley, and dozens of others, alongside the San Francisco psychedelic bands Stanley is most often associated with, such as the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.

An ongoing project (press "project" - here is the full Rolling Stone article) by the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Owsley Stanley Foundation aims to preserve the reels and release the best of what Stanley called his “sonic journals.” Available for preorder now is Dawn of the New Riders of the Purple Sage, a five-disc set capturing the Grateful Dead’s stoner-country offshoot during their formative years in 1969 and 1970. Formed as an outlet for Jerry Garcia to learn pedal-steel guitar, the New Riders would develop a life of their own as a successful proto–outlaw-country act.

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