Mo-Fi Adds a Touch of Grey-tness To a Superb Sounding Recording
"Hell in A Bucket" by Weir, Barlow and keyboardist Brent Myland sounds like something the Glimmer Twins or Aerosmith might have concocted. Then it's back to more familiar Garcia/Hunter bluesy, country shuffles to take side one to its tuneful conclusion.
Chances are you don't need me to give you a tune by tune blow by blow so I won't. You just want to know about the sound compared to the original. Obviously, this was so well recorded in the first place, you'd have to work hard to make this it sound bad.
Most of it was tracked live on stage at Marin Veterans Auditorium in San Rafael with additional recording and mixing at Club Front. The original Arista pressing trumpets both on the jacket and inner sleeve that the master tape was recorded using Dolby SR so you immediately pray that Mo-Fi used a properly calibrated Dolby SR decoder for mastering playback.
The original pressing was mastered DMM, uncredited, at Masterdisk. And that sounded great. But this Mobile Fidelity reissue is much better. Much better. It loses none of the original's spaciousness and transient clarity while sounding richer, fuller, more, dynamic, more three dimensional and depth-charged on bottom. The transient dynamic accents will have you jumping out of your skin if not your seat.
No, The Grateful Dead of 1987 wasn't at a creative apex and Brent Myldand's "Tons of Steel" sounds like warmed over Bob Seger or The Eagles channeling The Doobie Brothers but this record still holds all of the Grateful Dead's calling cards, and the elegiac closer "Black Muddy River" concludes poignantly. Thanks to this mastering you can just keep cranking it up and it sounds better and better as you go.
If just as an example of the pinnacle of the analog rock and roll recording art, Mobile Fidelity's reissue of In The Dark is worth having.
The packaging is first rate, though it's too bad Mo-Fi didn't reproduce the original inner sleeve's credits and black and white band photo. There's a bug eyed Bob Weir, a more than a touch of grey bearded Garcia (who, of course did not long survive), a grinning punky Mikey Hart, a ready for the 'burbs-looking Bill Kreutzmann, a chubby, grinning Phil Lesh and Brent Mydland looking vaguely pained. Those credited on the original sleeve deserve recognition they don't get here.
That's a small omission. The sound is spectacular.