The solo career of the second drummer in the Grateful Dead has essentially been a series of fascinating drum solos, by which I mean that his music has focused on percussion to the exclusion of almost every other instrument. Rolling Thunder (1972) was the exception: a Dead soundalike (of sorts) with vocals and actual songs. Hart’s next effort, a collaboration with Zakir Hussain and nearly a dozen different percussionists billed as Diga Rhythm Band, turned out to be the true direction of his muse. Mixing eastern and western percussion instrument (with a modicum of guitar from Jerry Garcia), the panethnic percussion of Diga (1976) was years ahead of its time.
Hart’s next few albums included some highly experimental efforts. Yamantaka (1983) focused on Tibetan bells; Music To Be Born By (1989) was built around his newborn son’s heartbeat. At The Edge (1990) and Planet Drum (1991) returned to the multicultural, multiplayer percussion of Diga Rhythm Band; the latter even landed Hart a Grammy for Best World Music Album. Although Mystery Box (1996) again proved Hart to be highly capable of making commercial music, his main musical interest remains pushing the boundaries of music through a mastery of percussion and its potentialities. If you’re inclined the follow the beat of a different drum, the music of Mickey Hart beckons.
ROLLING THUNDER (1972)
Rolling Thunder (Shoshone Invocation) / The Main Ten/Playing in the Band / Fletcher Carnaby / The Chase (Progress) / Blind John // Young Man / Deep Wide And Frequent / The Pump Song / Granma’s Cookies / Hangin’ On. Released on elpee and 8-track in October 1972 in the US (Warner Bros., BS/M8 2635) with insert; reached #190 on the US charts. (8-track features different track listing.) Re-issued on black, marbled vinyl and limited edition picture elpee in 1987 in the US (Relix, RRLP 2026). Re-issued on compact disc in 1989 in Germany (Grateful Dead, GDCD 9.00647 O) and in 1990 in the US (Grateful Dead, GDCD-40112).
Blind John (1974)
b/w The Pump Man. Released as promotional 7-inch single in 1974 in the US (Warner Bros., WB 7644)
Razooli / Happiness Is Drumming / Tal Mala // Sweet Sixteen / Magnificent Sevens. Credited to Diga Rhythm Band and released on elpee in 1976 in the US (Round, RX-LA600-G/RX-110) and France (United Artists, 29 962). Re-released on elpee, cassette and compact disc in 1988 in the US and Canada (Rykodisc, RALP/RACS 0101, RCD 10101) with different track order. Re-released on compact disc in 2008 in the US (Shout Factory, 10839) with different track order.
Yamantaka (Parts 1-7) // The Revolving Mask of Yamantaka. Co-credited to Henry Wolff and Nancy Hennings and released on elpee in 1983 in Germany (Celestial Harmonies, CEL 003). Re-released on extended compact disc in the US (Celestial Harmonies, 13003-2) with three bonus tracks and different track order.
Dry Sands of the Desert / Ice of the North / Reunion I-Reunion II-Reunion III / Saudaçao Popular / Psychopomp / Subterranean Caves of Kronos / The Gates of Däfos / Passage. Co-credited to Airto and Flora Purim and released on elpee and compact disc in 1983 (Reference, RR12/CD). Re-issued on compact disc and cassette in 1989 in the US (Rykodisc, RCD 10108/RACS 0108). Re-released on limited edition gold, remastered compact disc in 1989 in the US (Rykodisc, RCD 80108).
MUSIC TO BE BORN BY (1989)
Music To Be Born By. Co-credited to Taro Hart and released on compact disc and cassette in 1989 in the US (Rykodisc, RCD 20112/RACS 0112).
AT THE EDGE (1990)
#4 For Gaia / Sky Water / Slow Sailing / Lonesome Hero / Fast Sailing / Cougar Run / Eliminators / Brainstorm / Pigs In Space. Released on compact disc and cassette in September 1990 in the US (Rykodisc, RCD 10124/RACS 0124); reached #3 on the US Top New Age charts. Re-issued on compact disc on April 15, 2008 in the US (Shout Factory, 10839-2).
PLANET DRUM (1991)
Udu Chant / Island Groove / Light Over Shadow / Dance of the Hunter’s Fire / Jewe “You Are the One” / The Hunt / Temple Caves / The Dancing Sorcerer / Bones / Lost River / Evening Samba / Iyanu “Surprises” / Mysterious Island. Released on compact disc and cassette on September 27, 1990 in the US (Rykodisc, RCD 10206/RCAS 0206); reached #1 on the US Top World Music charts and awarded Grammy for Best World Music Album. Re-released on remastered gold compact disc in the US (Rykodisc, RCD-80206).
MICKEY HART’S MYSTERY BOX (1996)
Where Love Goes (Sito) / Full Steam Ahead / Down The Road / The Sandman / The Next Step / Look Away / Only The Strange Remain / Sangre de Cristo / John Cage Is Dead / The Last Song. Released on compact disc on June 11, 1996 in the US (Rykodisc, RCD 10338).
A TASTE OF MYSTERY EP (1996)
Down The Road (edit) / Where Love Goes (edit) / Only The Strange Remain (edit) / Look Away (edit) / The Last Song (edit). Released as promotional CDEP in 1996 in the US (Rykodisc, VRCD 0338).
Where Love Goes (Sito) (edit) (1996)
b/w Down The Road. Released on CD single in 1996 in Australia (Rykodisc).
Angola / Yabu / Endless River / Umayeyo / Secret Meeting Place / Tall Grass / Umasha / Frog Dance / Damawoo / Indoscrub / Wheel of Time / Space Dust. Credited to Mickey Hart/Planet Drum and released on compact disc on August 4, 1998 in the US (Rykodisc, RCD 10396); reached #4 on the US Top World Music charts. Also released as 2CD set with bonus disc (RCD 10396+1) featuring four bonus tracks and video interview.
Umayeyo Vokal Mix (1998)
b/w Umayeyo Slakked Plastik Remix + Yabu Transmigration Mix #1 + Yabu Transmigration Mix #2. Released as 12-inch single in 1998 in the US (Rykodisc, RA 12-1058).
SPIRIT INTO SOUND (2000)
Amazon Nguni / Sueno Tropicale / Cloud Moss / Funky Peru / Shambolaya / Lizard Dance / Nature Talk / Elephant Walk / Chroma / Hidden Beach / Native Sun / Indian Night. Released on compact disc on January 25, 2000 in the US (Arista); reached #4 on the US Top World Music charts.
THE BEST OF MICKEY HART: OVER THE EDGE AND BACK (2002)
Angola / Where Love Goes (Sito) / Down The Road / Sweet Sixteen / The Eliminators / Udu Chant / Temple Caves / Compound / Call To All Nations. Compilation released on compact disc on April 23, 2002 in the US (Rykodisc, RCD 10385).
GLOBAL DRUM PROJECT (2007)
Baba / Kaluli Groove / Funky Zena / Under One Groove / Dances With Wood / Heatspace / Tars / I Can Tell You More. Co-credited to Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju and Giovanni Hidalgo and released on compact disc on October 2, 2007 in the US (Shout Factory) and the UK (Evangeline, GEL-4115); reached #6 on the US Top World Music charts.