Right now im getting pretty heavily into psychedelic rock, folk rock music, and especially that of the 60s San Francisco scene... and I want to check out some Grateful Dead but im not sure where to begin. Tonight I bought a greatest hits, but it seems to be their later stuff from 1977 to 1990.

But i want to hear some of their earlier more 60s stuff. So if you have any suggestions or ideas on albums, i would be very appreciative.

Thanks for the ideas.
I understand that you want early Grateful Dead - The Dead in the 60s.

Just to let you know, they were a slightly different band when they first started.

They were more blues oriented, and this was in part due to their keyboardist/pianist Ron Pigpen McKernan.

I love early Dead, and if you're a blues man, you will too.

Their debut album, The Grateful Dead, is a strong album.

After The Grateful Dead they released Anthem of the Sun, which is a good album, but in my opinion not as good as their debut nor their last studio album of the 60s, which is Aoxomoxoa.

I don't know if I like The Grateful Dead or Aoxomoxoa better, but the are both awesome albums.

That's not to say Anthem of the Sun is bad, but I prefer the other two to it.

The Dead also had one official live album that was recorded in 1969, entitled Live/Dead.

There are only four official Grateful Dead albums from the 60s, yet you will more than likely find numerous bootlegs floating around that you're more than welcome to find and enjoy.

If you like the early Grateful Dead, you'll enjoy the studio albums Workingman's Dead and American Beauty, along with the live albums Grateful Dead (also known as Skull and Roses) and Europe '72.

These were the last albums that included Pigpen, who died of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage at the age of 27.

Also, it's possible that there may be some early Dead contained on Dick's Picks, but I don't know the dates of them off the top of my head.

You probably know The Grateful Dead as being a band that had two drummers/percussionists, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzman, but of these albums I recommend The Grateful Dead, Grateful Dead (Skull and Roses), and Europe '72 only had Bill Kreutzman drumming for them.

Hart, who left from embarrasant because his father, the Dead's manager, drove the band into money problems, rejoined the group on the album Blues for Allah, missing the albums Wake of the Flood and Grateful Dead from the Mars Hotel - neither of which contained Pigpen, but rather Keith (and his wife Donna, on vocals) Godcheaux.
Well, when it comes to earlier stuff, theres a few things you can get. As Heartbreaker said, their debut album is probably a good idea. Myself, I really did enjoy Anthem of the Sun, so I'm going to reccommend that as well.

As for Dicks Picks, not a whole lot of them were from the 60's, but theres a few from the late 60's (their numbers are: 26, 22, 16). Theres several bootlegs out there, but it can be difficult to find the real early stuff. But if you look hard enough and talk to the right people, you can find it. But I wouldn't get into bootleg trading this early in the game.

Another reccommendation (two actually) that I'm going to give you is a compilation. Theres one called "Birth of the Dead". Thats stuff from 1965-1966. Theres some good stuff in there, that will probably match what you're looking for. Theres also "Rare Cuts and Oddities". This is all stuff from 1966. Also a pretty decent buy.

If you're looking to spend a ****load of money (which I wouldn't suggest. Little early for that) you could buy "The Golden Road". Its a box set, with 12 official albums, along with 7 hours of unreleased material. Worth the money for a big fan, but probably not for a beginner. Another box set (a little bit cheaper) is "So Many Roads". That set covers their entire career, so the later stuff is there too. But the earlier stuff they have is good as well.

So, that should keep you busy for a little while, and perhaps now you're ready to begin your long, strange trip. Good luck
Judging by the music you listed, i would also say that you would enjoy listening to early grateful dead when they were more blues oriented.
My personal opinion, is that the best dead album is their second, AOTS. (Anthem of the sun)
By far i would say it is the best early dead album, and if your looking for that kind of music, i would defenitaly check it out.
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Only some shows are available for download. But if you're looking for early Dead, Archive has shows that date back to 65... which is pretty much as early as you can go (not counting the Warlock/MMUJC days) and has shows from every year from 65 up until their last show on 7/9/95.
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