Photo Credit: Richie Pechner

Trailing success, spring 1974 was a promising time for the Grateful Dead. After interior tribulations, the ensemble emerged equanimous, dropping the Wake of the Flood set and returning with their second release from Grateful Dead Records: From The Mars Hotel. To mark the 50th anniversary of the record that produced forever-favorites “Scarlet Begonias,” “Ship of Fools,” and “China Doll,” Rhino will rerelease an expanded and remastered edition of the LP, previewed today with demo “Wave That Flag,” which would become “U.S. Blues.” 

Remastered by Grammy award-winning audio engineer David Glasser using Plangent Processes tape restoration and speed correction and produced by Grateful Dead Legacy Manager and Audio Archivist David Lemieux, the deluxe edition includes not only the aforementioned “Wave That Flag” demo but also a previously unreleased live performance from the University of Nevada in Reno, Nev., on May 12, 1974.

Despite being caught in a windstorm, the band was well matched for the elements, conjuring the strength of the breeze into massive displays of sister tunes, “China Cat Sunflower” > “I Know You Rider” and fresh cut From The Mars Hotel, “U.S. Blues,” in addition to downright classics, “Brown-Eyed Women,” “Tennessee Jed,” “Mississippi Half Step,” “Sugar Magnolia” and “Truckin,” due impart to the Wall of Sound–the renowned sound system, which required 21 stage hands for assembly. 

Besides live additions, the original From The Mars Hotel LP was recorded at San Francisco’s Coast Recorders studio. The set finds the band at the height of their ‘70s prowess, with Keith Godchaux cascading across the keys, showcasing his malleability to produce different tones and textures. Referencing the set and Robert Hunter’s pop-culture-infused “U.S. Blues” lyrics, linear note contributor and Canadian author Ray Robertson said, “[It] carries an undeniable whiff of late-capitalism ennui…it’s the most fun you’ll ever have dancing to the end of the American Empire.”

The album excels as Jerry Garcia’s expressive and lively lead guitar unleashes melody across the original deliverable. It reaches a greater altitude with guest spots from Ned Lagin, who layers synth atop the prosperous “Unbroken Chain” and John McFee’s country-leaning pedal steel on “Pride of Cucamonga.” Notably, the two previously mentioned numbers also functioned as the final studio cuts to feature vocal contributions from Phil Lesh. 

Paired with the LP announcement, the Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast will kick off its ninth season tomorrow, Thursday, March 28, where they will share secrets and stories pertaining to From The Mars Hotel, a prosperous time in Grateful Dead history. 

Pre-order From The Mars Hotel (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) on 3CD and digital formats, and stream “Wave That Flag (Demo)” below.

From The Mars Hotel (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) Tracklist:

Disc 1

U.S. Blues

China Doll

Unbroken Chain

Loose Lucy

Scarlet Begonias

Pride Of Cucamonga

Money Money

Ship Of Fools

-Bonus Tracks-

China Doll (Demo)

Wave That Flag (Demo)

Disc 2- Live From The University Of Nevada-Reno, 5/12/74


Mexicali Blues

Tennessee Jed

Jack Straw

Brown-Eyed Women

Beat It On Down The Line

China Cat Sunflower>

I Know You Rider

El Paso

U.S. Blues

Greatest Story Ever Told

It Must Have Been The Roses

Me And Bobby McGee

Disc 3- Live From The University Of Nevada-Reno, 5/12/74


Around And Around

Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo


The Other One>

Row Jimmy

Big River

Ship Of Fools

Sugar Magnolia