The Grateful Dead-From the Mars Hotel
The Grateful Dead-From the Mars Hotel
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The Grateful Dead-From the Mars Hotel

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The Grateful Dead-From the Mars Hotel

Cover has normal wear and tear for the age. Cover is graded VG. Record is graded VG.

From the Mars Hotel is the seventh studio album by rock band the Grateful Dead. It was mainly recorded in April 1974, and originally released June 27, 1974. It was the second album by the band on their own Grateful Dead Records label. From the Mars Hotel came less than one year after their previous album, Wake of the Flood, and was the last before the band’s then-indefinite hiatus from live touring, begun in October 1974.

The Grateful Dead returned to the studio at the end of March 1974, having readied another batch of songs. The majority were again composed by lead guitarist Jerry Garcia and lyricist Robert Hunter and featured Garcia’s lead vocals. However, “Pride of Cucamonga” and “Unbroken Chain” were both written and sung by bassist Phil Lesh with the assistance of poet Bobby Petersen. This was the only time he would sing two songs on a Dead studio album, and they would be his final lead vocal work for the band until 1985. Rhythm guitarist Bob Weir contributed “Money Money” with writing partner John Perry Barlow.

The band chose to return to Coast Recorders on Folsom Street in San Francisco, where they had recorded “The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)” as a single for their first album, in 1967. The studio had since been purchased by CBS Studios and refurbished. They produced the album themselves with engineer Roy Segal. According to Segal, Garcia liked the room because it had a more “live” sound than the Record Plant, where the band had recorded their previous album. Garcia had played in CBS Studios earlier in the year with Art Garfunkel during the sessions for Angel Clare.

Many of the Garcia-Hunter songs had been played live for up to a year or more. “U.S. Blues” had started life as “Wave That Flag” in February 1973 before being dropped and heavily rewritten; however, “Scarlet Begonias” had been introduced only in the month prior to recording. Weir’s “Money Money” was arranged in the studio. A separate version of “China Doll” (also introduced in February 1973) was recorded for the previous album Wake of the Flood, but not used. Lesh had recorded demo versions of his two tracks during sessions for that album. Though Garcia had played pedal steel for the band, John McFee (of Clover) guests on the instrument for “Pride of Cucamonga”. Electronic composer Ned Lagin (who frequently sat in during the group’s live performances between 1970 and 1975) played synthesizer on “Unbroken Chain”.

As previously, the band felt stifled by studio confines. Commenting later about the sessions, drummer Bill Kreutzmann said “The studio felt contrived. It couldn’t offer the freedom of playing something live, nor the satisfaction.”

While recording the album, the Grateful Dead were testing a massive touring P.A. system called The Wall of Sound. A contemporaneous test performance of the sound system was released as Dick’s Picks Volume 24.