The Grateful Dead: Fire On The Mountain   2 comments

if mercy’s in business

i wish it for you:

more than just ashes

when your dreams come true.

Dead Heads in the Twenty First Century

Back in the old daze, Dead Heads traded concert tapes (a primitive early non-digital recording technology).  Some of these were recorded by fans and others where sound board recordings made by the Dead organization which found their way into general circulation (i.e. stolen).  Eventually, the Dead organization began to publish selected concert tapes as LP records (another primitive non-digital recording technology) and later as CDs and internet downloads.  For more information on the history of the Dead recordings see this article.  Online you can buy recordings of Dead concerts at the official Dead $ite.  Recording information is also available ( and in a more organized format) here. But what if: you don’t like the concerts released by the Dead Organization or if you just want MORE.

The Internet Archive

There is a unique organization and web site called The Internet Archive.  TheInternet Archive isa truly vast catalog of public domain audio and video recording which are in the public domain.  There is no internet collection which is larger.  Their slogan is simply: Universal Access To All Knowledge.  The Dead organization has released a vast number of Dead concert recordings to The Internet Archive, to which are added the large number of fan recordings.  In all there are over 7,000 Grateful Dead Recordings in their collection.  Let me write that again, 7,000 concerts recordings. Fan recordings are often available for direct download and most sound board recording are available in streaming (only) format.  But see my note at the end of this post for a resent development.  The only exception is that concerts which were the basis for Grateful Dead official releases or which concerts which have been commercially released on Dead.Net.  These are not available on the archive.  Sound quality ranges from ok to GREAT, mono to full stereo.  The search facilities of the archive are well thought out.  Search by song, venue and/or date.  The only problem is that there are so many recordings over such a long period (1968 – 1995) that you may not know where to begin.  You could focus on a particular year (when did you first attend a Dead concert) or a favorite song.  The Internet archive does provide some help with a “Recently Reviewed Concert” link; and a “Dead Concerts on this Day in History” link.  You can also look for postings by Chris Miller and “Matrix” or the key word: soundboard.

What’s on my IPod Right Now

Well, let me by honest here:  I am obsessed with the song sequence:

Scarlet Begonias followed by Fire On The Mountain

The Dead played this combination over 250 times between 1977 and 1994.  This sequence runs from 20 to 30 minuets in length (tending towards the high end in the 1990’s).  From my samples the best tours for this sequence are 1977, 1978, and 1989-1992.  There are some bad versions (typically during the 1982-1988 tours and the 1977 tour when Donna signs off key many nights!).  Here is my very subjective list of good to great versions based on what I have listened to so far.

The Offical Releases:

Dick’s Picks #18 (Jerry and both Godchauxs are on this night).

Dick’s Picks #13 (This is a hidden track.  Put on Disc 2, Track 4 “Saint of Circumstance” at the end of this track is 20 seconds of dead air after that comes a November 1, 1979 version of Scarlet Bagonias -> Fire on the Mountain.  The rest of Dick’s Picks #13 was based on records made May 6, 1981.  This is a kick ass version and is my reference track for the best version of this particular sequence).

Dick’s Pick #06 (skip this one, slow and lack luster)

From the Internet Archives (these are all streaming only version but see my notes at the end of this blog on how to make a local copy:

Great Versions:







Not So Great but worth a listen:












Making Local Copies Of Streaming Media

There are several different free or inexpensive programs which will grab the audio stream and save it to an mp3 (or other) format.  I have had good luck with Replay Music 3 ($19.95) combined with the Google Chrome Browser.  Replay Music will allow saving to WAV format in addition to MP3.  The downside of this approach is, of course, that this is real time recording only.

There is a Better Way

If you run the Chrome Browser and access the Internet Arhive, when you go to a stream only Dead concert the screen will look something like these before and after pictures:

With the Chrome (and maybe Safari) browser, Internet Archive will offer you the ability to convert to the HTML5 Audio tag  in place of the embedded browser (which uses the Object tag). Say YES to this offer. Having done so follow these steps to allow SAVING of the audio files directly WITHOUT streaming.

  • Start playing a track you wish to save
  • Right click on the time slider bar at the top of the music player,
  • select “Save Audio file”
  • select a save location
  • click ok

That’s it.  Here is what the right click drop down list looks like:

Thank you HTML5 Audio Tag.  Jerry would be proud.

Remember you must start playing a track for this technique to work.


Does the Internet Archive know that using the Audio tag defeats the intend of streaming media only?

Will they plug the hole?

Can they plug the hole or is this basic to the nature of the HTML5 audio tag?

Save now while you can!!

2 responses to “The Grateful Dead: Fire On The Mountain

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  1. I have bootleg tape from `68 w/the dead doing fire on the mountain – it’s either pig or r. hunter singing it – the best part is that it’s got a rap feel to it – do you know anything about this? I have had it since `83 and forget the source to get any info and my friens currently are coming up empty

    give a email to if you know anything

    thanks – nice site

    • There is a tape with a track listed as “fire on the Mountain theme”.: Mickey Hart’s Barn 1971-08-21
      Track List is:
      Disc One :

      1. Jam #1 (Fire On The Mountain theme)
      2. Wall Song > Fresh Green Grass Jam > Wall Song
      3. Jam #2
      4. Noodle Part 1

      Disc Two :

      1. Noodle Part 2
      2. Jam #3
      3. Jam #4
      4. Jam #5
      5. Carousel Song
      6. Ghost Riders In The Sky Jam
      7. Winin’ Boy Blues
      8. Bye Bye Blues
      9. Tore Down
      John Cipollina
      Tape from: John Cipollina
      Looks like a March 2007 posting.

      You can hear the tape here

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