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Mark A. Rodriguez: After All is Said and Done: Taping the Grateful Dead 1965-1995 (Anthology Editions) – book review

Mark A. Rodriguez

After All is Said and Done: Taping the Grateful Dead 1965-1995

Published by Anthology Editions

Sep 21, 2022
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The fervor and obsession that drove Grateful Dead’s tape-trading community throughout the band’s lifetime gets a fascinatingly detailed focus in Mark A. Rodriguez’s After All is Said and Done: Taping the Grateful Dead 1965-1995. The late Dead archivist Dick Latvala, of the Dick’s Picks series, notes here in a 1995 interview that, once he began tape-trading in the ’70s, he would walk four to five miles to the post office when he thought tapes were coming.

Rodriguez, who has created cassette-collection sculptures made up of thousands of Dead show recordings, presents a thorough, well-rounded look at the Dead’s tape-trading network in this gorgeous hardcover book. Between the band’s breakup and the advent of digital archiving, the countless tapes of Dead shows spread among their fans have since become period pieces that were once lovingly created and cherished, and a lengthy section of the book is devoted to scans of traders’ cassette inserts. With examples of carefully crafted pieces featuring the use of original and copied artwork, band photos, and special notes for the first time a song was played (“1st Get Back, Hot!”), the gallery of inserts representing shows spanning from early 1966 through the summer of 1995 represents a labor of love that honored their heroes as well as a lost art all its own.

There’s plenty of ephemera scattered throughout such as pages from the band’s meeting minutes that include thoughts and concerns regarding taping, early ads for The Grateful Dead Hour radio show and reference source DeadBase, and taper letters and business cards. Along with a foreword by Trixie Garcia, the book also presents numerous interviews over the years from various sources that include authors of DeadBase, Dead publicist Dennis McNally, archivist Dave Lemieux (of Dave’s Picks), and a 1989 dialogue with Jerry Garcia regarding taping. Said Garcia, in words that were clearly taken to heart: “Hey, when I’m done with it, it’s theirs.” (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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