Rockin’ The House Boat

by | Jun 25, 2005

A Note About Dicks Pick 35: The Legend of the Houseboat Tapes

Although the Grateful Deads vault is enormous and impressively full, the band certainly doesnt have a tape of every show it played; in fact, they dont even have a copy of every show they recorded. Tapes drifted off in a variety of ways including Jerry Garcia handing them out And therein lies the story of Dicks Picks #35.

This spring, our archivist David Lemieux got a call from Donna Jean Godchaux-Mackay. It seems that in the late summer of 1971, just before Keith Godchaux began rehearsals with the Dead, Garcia handed him a big box of tapes and said, Here, this is our most recent tour. Learn our music. The irony was that Donna Jean doubts mightily Keith ever bothered to listen to them hed never listened to the Dead all that much before he auditioned, first with Garcia and then the rest of the band – he just had an uncanny innate facility for the music. In any case, he left the tapes on his parents houseboat in Alameda, CA, and there they stayed. For almost 35 years.

In the spring of 2005, Keith’s brother Brian and son Zion were cleaning out the houseboat, found the tapes, and gave them to Donna, whose jaw dropped. One call to Lemieux later, and the Deads long-lost missing tour from the summer of 1971 had resurfaced.