The propelled themselves to their legendary status and level of success many feats of creative and musical strength, but none more so than the extent that these boys could really sing when given the to. Some people obviously loved ‘s voice the most, but had a wildly unique voice in as well. Everyone knows could wail in the best way possible, and even got his vocal contributions in early. Don’t even get us started on all the vocal contributions we’d need to list from their keyboard spot after ’s early passing (Keith ? Bruce ? Brent heads?!).

I’ve been down deep into a wormhole this weekend and stumbled upon some amazing isolated vocal tracks that are must-hear for any warm-blooded, -still-beating Deadhead. Especially for folks that like to singalong…

Hearing these isolated tracks just adds that much more depth and emotion to the original songs. And in a few spots you can just hear the depth of the studio they’re in and you can really hear how it was mixed in the final track, and wow, it just gave me chills in a few spots easily. I hope more of these surface. Check out the list below…

“Sugar Magnolia” American Beauty

In order of their appearance in the song catalog, first up we’ve got two tracks off one of the albums that Deadheads frequently cite as their go-to for the “best” of Grateful Dead’s studio outputs and one that is strong in the vocals department: American Beauty. “Sugar Magnolia” makes it appearance as the third track after the Lesh sang “Box of Rain” and lead “Friend of the Devil”. a typical way for to trade duties shows up in that 1-2-3 tracklist choice of the album, which is still something that made more unique than most. Giving each artist in a to shine was their hallmark.

Bob is really in great form on this track.

Sweet come on under the
We can have high times if you’ll abide
We can discover the wonders of nature
Rolling in the rushes down by the riverside

Definitely put on your headphones while you’re listening to these.

“Truckin'” American Beauty


Closing off American Beauty comes one of the band’s most popular songs, the classic “Truckin'” that spawned that famous “What a long strange trip it’s been…” line that is so often cited as the actual ethos that seemed to follow the band wherever they went. Sadly this isn’t a perfect isolated vocals track but it’s close enough and of inclusion here. It’s minimal accompaniment so I’d say it’s still of a headphone session. Plus it’s pretty rad hearing the organ track in here at times, I’d say.

Read on for the rest of the list…

Franklin’s Tower” Blues for Allah


Appearing on the Blues for Allah and released as part of the usual “Help On The Way > ! > Franklin’s Tower” combo that was the usual flow of the track whenever it appeared in a , this one is an absolute gem to hear Jerry’s voice on.

In another time’s forgotten space
Your eyes looked through your mother’s face
Wildflower on the sand and stone
May the four winds blow you safely home

He sounds so hauntingly isolated on this one. Try not to get chills during the “Roll away, the dew…” line, you can really hear his voice yearning to get that emotion out. It’s beautiful.

Touch of Grey” In the Dark

Grateful Dead - Touch of Grey Vocal Track

By the time In the Dark came around, we all know the story of what “Touch of Grey” did to propel the band to a new level of success, going from arenas to mega stadiums and ultimately finding themselves as the mainstream representation of all things hippie for generations to come. This is wild to hear in this format, you can actually hear Jerry getting a bit winded towards the end after the full sing through. Wow.

I see you’ve got your fists out, say your piece and get out.
Guess I get the gist of it but it’s alright
Sorry that you feel that way.
The only there is to say
Every silver lining’s got a touch of grey
I will get by, I will get by, I will get by, I will survive.

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