Workingman's Dead

Workingman's Dead is the fourth studio album by the Grateful Dead. It was recorded in February 1970 and originally released on June 14, 1970.

The album was reissued in 2003 in three different ways; as part of the The Golden Road (1965-1973) 12-CD box set, as a remastered and expanded CD, and as a DVD-audio release. The first two contain eight exclusive tracks not found on the original 1970 release while the latter contains just the original tracks rendered in DVD-audio.

Making of the album

The title of the album comes from a comment from Jerry Garcia to lyricist Robert Hunter about how "this album was turning into the Workingman's Dead version of the band," a play on the fact the band had recently been covering Merle Haggard's song "Workingman's Blues" in concert.

The band returned to the Pacific High Recording Studio in San Francisco to record the album and spent just ten days there. Garcia noted that "let's do it all in three weeks and get it the hell out of the way. Besides the weight of their debt in producing their previous album, Aoxomoxoa, the band was also dealing with the stress of a recent drug bust in New Orleans — which could have possibly resulted in jail time — and their manager Lenny Hart (evangelical father of drummer Mickey Hart) skipping town with a sizable chunk of the band's wealth. "In midst of all this adverse stuff that was happening ... [recording the album] was definitely an upper," said Garcia in an interview.

Garcia has commented that much of the sound of the album comes both from his pairing with Hunter as well as the band's friendship with Crosby, Stills and Nash. "Hearing those guys sing and how nice they sounded together, we thought, 'We can try that. Let's work on it a little,'" commented Garcia.

Warner Bros. released "Uncle John's Band" backed with "New Speedway Boogie" as a single, but got limited airplay because of length issues (not to mention concerns about profanity); later "Casey Jones" would also be released as a single.

The album was voted by readers of Rolling Stone as the best album of 1970, in front of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's Déjà Vu and Van Morrison's Moondance.

Track listing

All songs written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter unless noted otherwise.

Side one

  1. "Uncle John's Band" – 4:42
  2. "High Time" – 5:12
  3. "Dire Wolf" – 3:11
  4. "New Speedway Boogie" – 4:01

Side two

  1. "Cumberland Blues" (Garcia, Hunter, Lesh) – 3:14
  2. "Black Peter" – 5:41
  3. "Easy Wind" (Hunter) – 4:57
  4. "Casey Jones" – 4:24

2003 reissue

  1. "Uncle John's Band" – 4:45
  2. "High Time" – 5:14
  3. "Dire Wolf" – 3:14
  4. "New Speedway Boogie" – 4:06
  5. "Cumberland Blues" (Garcia, Hunter, Lesh) – 3:16
  6. "Black Peter" – 5:43
  7. "Easy Wind" (Hunter) – 4:58
  8. "Casey Jones" – 4:38
  9. "New Speedway Boogie" (alternate mix) – 4:10
  10. "Dire Wolf" (live) – 2:31
  11. "Black Peter" (live) – 9:07
  12. "Easy Wind" (live) – 8:09
  13. "Cumberland Blues" (live) – 4:52
  14. "Mason's Children" (live) (Garcia, Hunter, Lesh, Weir) – 6:32
  15. "Uncle John's Band" (live) – 7:57
  16. "Radio Promo" – 1:00


Grateful Dead:

Additional performers:


  • Bob Matthews, Betty Cantor - producer
  • Greg Allen, David Singer - design
  • Stanley Mouse, Henry Diltz, Amalie R. Rothschild - photography
  • Tom Flye, Jeffrey Norman, Rudson Shurtliff, Alembic - engineers, mixing
  • Scott Heard, Ramrod - equipment technicians
  • Robin Hurley - audio production
  • Andrew McPherson - authoring

Bonus tracks production details

  • "Dire Wolf" recorded at Santa Rosa Veteran's Memorial Hall on 6/27/1969
  • "Black Peter" recorded at Golden Hall Community Concourse in San Diego on 1/10/1970
  • "Easy Wind" recorded at Springer's Ballroom in Portland on 1/16/1970
  • "Cumberland Blues" recorded at the Oregon State University Gym on 1/17/1970
  • "Mason's Children" recorded at the Civic Auditorium in Honolulu on 1/24/1970
  • "Uncle John's Band" recorded at Winterland on 12/23/1970

Reissue production credits

  • David Lemieux, James Austin - reissue producers
  • Vanessa Atkins - editorial supervision
  • Gary Peterson - liner note coordination
  • Jo Motta - project coordinator
  • Jimmy Edwards - product manager
  • Joe Gastwirt - mastering, production consultant
  • Daniel Goldmark - editorial research
  • Eileen Law - research
  • Rachel Gutek, Hugh Brown - design, reissue art directors
  • Michael Wesley Johnson - associate producer
  • Steve Silberman - liner notes, project assistant
  • Bill Belmont, David Gans, Jeff Gold, Bill Inglot, Blair Jackson, Gary Lambert, Steve Lang, David McLees, Hale Milfgrim, Jeffrey Norman, Randy Perry, Janette L. Simmons, Owsley "Bear" Stanley - project assistants


Chart Position
Pop Albums 27
RIAA Certification
Certification Date
Gold July 7, 1974
Platinum October 13, 1986

See also


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