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by CareyBot

"Abraham and Isaac sitting on a fence, you'd get right to work if you had any sense. You know the one thing we need is a left-hand monkey wrench." --Robert Hunter, 1971. Friday night past, a friend e-mailed me dozens of links to live recordings of Grateful Dead shows. The interesting thing about these live recordings wasn't their sound quality (amazing) or their effect on my evening. No. What's cool about these recordings is the story behind them. The recordings were made by people called "tapers" -- fans who record concerts and share them with others. The phenomenon of recording music and distributing it outside traditional avenues did not begin with Shawn Fanning (the "Napster" dude). It didn't even begin with the Grateful Dead. But the Dead c...