Postcards of the Hanging

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Postcards of the Hanging
Grateful Dead - Postcards of the Hanging.jpg
Live album by The Grateful Dead
Released March, 2002
Recorded June 10, 1973 – March 24, 1990
Genre Rock
Length 75:39
(bonus disc 10:14)
Label Grateful Dead / Arista / Rhino
The Grateful Dead chronology
Dick's Picks Volume 24
(2002)Dick's Picks Volume 242002
Postcards of the Hanging
Dick's Picks Volume 25
(2002)Dick's Picks Volume 252002
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[1]
The Music Box4/5 stars[2]

Postcards of the Hanging is a compilation album by the Grateful Dead. It consists entirely of Bob Dylan covers, performed live in concert, along with a rehearsal performance of "Man of Peace" featuring the Grateful Dead backing Dylan himself.[3] Bob Weir sings lead on six tracks, Jerry Garcia on two, and Brent Mydland on two. Another Dylan covers collection, Garcia Plays Dylan, includes performances by the Grateful Dead, but mostly by the Jerry Garcia Band and other Garcia side projects.

The title comes from the opening stanza of Dylan's "Desolation Row":

They're selling postcards of the hanging
They're painting the passports brown


Seven of the songs on the album originally appeared on the Dylan albums Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited; the remaining three represent Blonde on Blonde, John Wesley Harding, and the Leon Russell session that produced "Watching the River Flow" for the Greatest Hits II double-LP. Aside from being from among his most critically revered rock albums, the seven songs date from 1965, the year the long strange trip of the Grateful Dead began. The songs remained in the Dead's live rotation throughout their existence.

Conspicuously absent from the compilation is "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", a song the Dead performed more than 170 times. Conversely, "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" was performed a few times in the early 1990s, and only once in the 1970s – in the version included here, the Dead are accompanied by Dickey Betts and Butch Trucks, of the Allman Brothers Band. Dylan himself leads the band on the final track of the main disc, a rehearsal for the 1987 tour for which the Dead were his backing band.[4]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Bob Dylan

  1. "When I Paint My Masterpiece" – 6:11
  2. "She Belongs to Me" – 7:20
  3. "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" – 4:29
  4. "Maggie's Farm" – 6:13
  5. "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again" – 8:07
  6. "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" – 7:35
  7. "Ballad of a Thin Man" – 6:40
  8. "Desolation Row" – 9:55
  9. "All Along the Watchtower" 5:44
  10. "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" – 7:23
  11. "Man of Peace" – 5:51

Bonus disc[edit]

The first release included a limited edition, 2-track bonus CD.

  1. "Queen Jane Approximately" – 6:12
  2. "Quinn the Eskimo (Mighty Quinn)" – 4:02

Recording dates[edit]


Additional personnel[edit]


  • John Cutler – engineer
  • Bill Candelario – engineer
  • Jeffrey Norman – mix
  • David Gans – compilation producer
  • David Lemieux – tape archivist
  • Joe Gastwirt – mastering
  • Geoff Gans – art direction
  • Emily Burnham – illustration and design
  • Cassidy Law – album coordination
  • Ken Friedman – photography



Year Chart Position
2002 The Billboard 200 120[5]


  1. ^ Lankford, Ronnie D., Jr. "Postcards of the Hanging: The Grateful Dead Perform the Songs of Bob Dylan". AllMusic. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  2. ^ Metzger, John. Postcards of the Hanging, The Music Box, May 2002
  3. ^ Postcards of the Hanging at the Grateful Dead Family Discography
  4. ^ Knockin' on Heaven's Door at the Grateful Dead Family Discography
  5. ^ "Billboard album chart history-Grateful Dead". Retrieved March 1, 2009.