Facebook buddy Chris White (fellow Cotuit Skiff sailor) posed a question in his status that he was seeking the “most superlative” Terrapin Station (Grateful Dead song from the same-titled 1977 album). That was easy — San Bernadino. The question was what date? Off I went to the bookshelves where I took down this old bible ….
I was right. Turned to the listing of songs, saw the DeadBase poll ranked the San Bernadino debut on February 26, 1977 as the top ranked, and was able to reply to Xtopher that he indeed needed to seek out that version at the Internet Archive.
DeadBase was published out of Hanover, New Hampshire (home to Dartmouth College) by John Scott, Mike Dolgushkin, and Stu Nixon. It was compiled on a Dartmouth mainframe, but back in the day when I purchased a hardcopy, was not available online. I searched, and yes, it is online today.
I was delighted to find, folded inside, a dot-matrix printout of my tape collection which I used to trade in the pre-internet days on a BBS called Terrapin Station and on the W.E.L.L. Talk about dating myself, my list, which was available as a plain ASCII .txt file, has this introduction:
“This list is also available in TBAQSE format. See BROKE.ARC in this directory. I tape on Maxell XLII and XLII-S. No Dolby, no fast records. Because my machine (Aiwa AD-WX808 dubbing deck) is on my desk, I turn trades around fast! This deck automatically dubs the target tape with the same levels and noise reduction scheme of the original, hence I have no control over what you get. If I received a show taped in Dolby B, then that’s what you get. I’m looking for complete shows 1965 through 1977 and any sets to fill out my incompletes. I rate technical levels out of a 5.0 scale with 5=unbelievable … 1=really bad sound or bad show (don’t worry, if it sux, I’ll warn you). If you’re new to trading, or just want a few shows, mail me a couple blanks but email first.”
Up in the attic are three big wooden racks filled with about three hundred 90-minute cassettes. Not much use for them now. I’d digitize them but …. I can get everything pretty much online or on CD. Still, nothing like the Dead to bring me back to my “social media” roots. Even my colleagues over in India are into the action. I owe them some music.