Actually dragged out my copy of Deadbase today …

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 ….

Deadbase III
Deadbase III

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.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “Actually dragged out my copy of Deadbase today …”

  1. Methinks some of those rotting Maxells originated with me.

    Alas, I have no idea where my Deadbase is or any of my tapes. Nostalgia value only.

    And I remember your desk…


  2. Fester — I would say half of them emanated from you. Hell, you even hand delivered them from Milton. Most efficient trader in Greater Boston — hell, it’s like our 20th anniversary or something.

  3. I shared this post with my ski buddy Scott Beavers and his email response to me was:

    “Yep, that Swing Auditorium show is clearly totally ripping and I think I
    wore that tape out years ago. Actually, one main reason it’s probably so
    strong is that other than the New Years 76/77 show, they hadn’t played a
    show in over 4 months so they had to be pretty pumped up and ready to
    roll. In fact the Eastern tour that ensued in April and May of 1977 was
    arguably the most amazing continuum of consistently mind-blowing, jamming
    Dead shows in history. Finding the Most Superlative Terrapin should prove
    to be a very challenging, fun and memory-invoking experience!”

  4. Sorry but the words “superlative” and “Terrapin Station” don’t belong in the same sentence. IMHO, the Dead were never the same after that album came out. I remember going to the concerts back in the late ’70s and getting totally bummed whenever they played it or, even worse, Shakedown Street. Definitely a buzzkill.

  5. Well, now we really need to revive the lists to see who has the soundboards downloaded. I have bunch, but not all…and since they’re only streaming now, good luck finding them…

    Charles, the thing about the Dead was they were never the same, period…

  6. Charles — look, the album sucked as it inflicted Estimated Prophet on our ears, and that was Bob Weird at his howling worst (sorry Barlow, not a finest hour) but Terrapin itself — the song, the tune, the movement — is totally a mini-Dead opera I’d stack against Weather Report Suite from Wake of the Flood. Shakedown? Don’t go there. Vinyl evil which ruined an entire term of college for me.

    Mark — I wish I had my list in digital form — It is six single-spaced pages! I guess I could OCR the whole mess. But who trades anymore? I need to figure out some use for the cassettes. No way I can heave them in the trash. That collection started in 1976. But there are some stinkers there that deserve to be burned.

    Booger: I have a crocheted vest just for you.

    Marta — spring 77 was the height of the Dead for a lot of 50 year-old DeadHeads. . I followed a lot of that tour when it hit New England. Saw my second show (first was Hartford Colt Park in August 76 with Joe Nick) — New Haven on 5/5, then Boston, then the famous Cornell Barton Hall show and ended the following Monday in Buffalo.

  7. I probably taped 30 shows myself. made my tapes obsolete, as almost universally they had better sources than my aging maxells.

    The real trading opportunity is this: build a super collection outside of Archive and dump it onto Western Digital 1 Terabyte External Drives.

  8. Colt Park Ct. show in August 76… Yikes. Remember ripping the upholstery out of your mom’s car, so that we could hear the music better on the way home? Bohica!

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