Round Records has announced a new live LP series dedicated to showcasing previously unreleased Jerry Garcia performances titled Heads & Tails. The series is designed to feature performances that can fit onto a single side of a vinyl record, accompanied by captivating and detailed album artwork and will be launched on Nov. 3.
Garcia once talked about the concept of “record consciousness,” which involves creating music suitable for recording, pressing onto LPs, and selling in stores. However, for Garcia and his various musical groups, live performances were typically the opposite of this concept.
While Garcia supervised the release of live albums, selecting the best takes from multiple shows, the idea of crafting music specifically for LP sides was not a primary concern. This has led to some challenges when listening to live shows on LPs, with jams spilling over, timing issues, and the need to flip the record frequently.
A second challenge arises arose from exploring old tape recordings, where issues like reel flips, imbalances, or bad cuts prevented complete releases. Heads & Tails seeks to address these issues by curating 18- to 22-minute segments of well-preserved live recordings that showcase moments when the musicians achieved a state of “record consciousness.”
The series holds the concept of the double A-sided single that originated in the late 1940s, with all sides of the LP being equal in content. To mirror that intention, the album artwork is designed to be reversible, offering a completely different cover when turned backward and upside down.
The first release in the Heads & Tails series is pressed on cloudy blue vinyl and features artwork by Madalyn Stefanak. It includes performances from 1988 and 1972. The 1972 side features a side-long jam titled “Save Mother Earth” with Merl Saunders and the original band formed from weekly jams at the Matrix, with guest Paul Butterfield on harmonica. The 1988 side includes the classic Jerry Garcia Band lineup performing their jam standard “Don’t Let Go” and a rendition of “Think.” These two performances represent different eras in Garcia’s music, connected by their accidental record consciousness and now by the LP’s side-flip feature.
Advance orders are available through Garcia Family Provisions. Additionally, the series will be available for streaming. Learn more and pre-order the LP here.