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Albums Of The Week: Grateful Dead | From The Mars Hotel: The Angel’s Share

Another crop of outstanding outtakes from the acid-rockers' voluminous vault.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “With the surprise release of From The Mars Hotel: The Angel’s Share, the Grateful Dead vaults have once again been opened.

Featuring 16 newly unearthed session recordings, the digital collection brings listeners directly into San Francisco’s Coast Recorders during the spring of 1974, revealing the band’s real-time process as they crafted such eternal staples as Scarlet Begonias, Ship Of Fools, China Doll, U.S. Blues, Unbroken Chain and more that would make up their classic From The Mars Hotel LP.

The evolution of all of those songs and other album highlights is charted throughout this fourth edition of the band’s fan-favorite Angel’s Share series. Like previous installments that accompanied milestone reissues of Workingman’s Dead, American Beauty and Wake Of The Flood, From The Mars Hotel: The Angel’s Share brings together hours of expertly curated outtakes, alternate versions, acoustic mixes, ​​unexpected moments and revelations that have never been heard until now.

As these Angel’s Share recordings further showcase, the Grateful Dead were cooking with gas in the run-up to From The Mars Hotel. The band had successfully emerged from a series of hectic, harrowing times, and would soon follow their transformative Wake Of The Flood with this second self-released album from their own Grateful Dead Records. During the mere eight months that had passed between the two beloved LPs, the group also played some of their most exploratory live music and largest venues to date, famously amplified by the homemade, 75-ton Wall of Sound that they debuted on March 23, 1974. While several of the album’s formative songs would first be introduced into setlists along that season’s tour, the Grateful Dead spent two months recording and honing them in the studio for the album.

In honor of its 50th anniversary, From The Mars Hotel is also being reissued and expanded with rediscovered material and rarities. Out June 21, six days before the anniversary of the the album’s original release five decades ago, From The Mars Hotel: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition features remastered audio by Grammy-winning engineer David Glasser, with Plangent Processes tape restoration and speed correction. Produced for release by Grateful Dead legacy manager and audio archivist David Lemieux, the deluxe edition includes demos of China Doll and Wave That Flag — the song that became U.S. Blues — as well as a previously unreleased live performance of the Grateful Dead at University of Nevada-Reno on 5/12/1974, where a massive wind storm was no match for the Wall of Sound.

Furthermore, From The Mars Hotel: 50th Anniversary Remaster will be released on June 21 as a single 180-gram black vinyl LP in limited edition Neon Pink vinyl, limited edition Ugly Rumors custom vinyl exclusive to Dead.net, and a specially designed picture disc created in partnership with zoetrope pioneer Drew Tetz. When viewed with a camera or strobe, the zoetrope LP will appear to animate, and can be pre-ordered now along with the rest of the variants.

As part of From The Mars Hotel’s 50th anniversary celebration, the Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast is unlocking the many secrets behind the album. Along with a track-by-track breakdown of the LP, the podcast’s ninth season is currently telling the story of the Wall of Sound, with archival audio of its mastermind — legendary LSD chemist Owsley Stanley — and new interviews with those who made the game-changing, larger-than-life speaker system a reality.”