|1. Dark Star|
|2. St. Stephen|
|3. The Eleven|
|4. Turn On Your Love Light|
|5. Death Don't Have No Mercy|
|7. And We Bid You Goodnight|
This is music that cannot be easily categorised or imitated but for a brief shining moment the band redefined rock music, because it played as an ensemble, not as a series of soloists. It is still a rare quality for a rock band.
And Live Dead is without doubt the bands finest album.
My favourite track of all- and the most accessable to newcomers - is the dark melancholy blues "Death don't have no mercy". If you want to know what all the fuss about Garcia is about, listen to this performance.
Check out, too, the gorgeous Pigpen performance on a churning "Lovelight", the other more earthy side of the band. Pigpen was a blues man, with a gift for enticing a crowd.
Quite why this album has not achieved popular acclaim as a legend is hard to say. The Dead lost their iconic status many years ago, and time passed them largely by. But, at a time when West Coast rock music was the coolest thing on the planet, along came Live Dead. And nothing was quite the same again.
This is a must have in any CD collection.
The latest release features a two disc collection of two shows in 1969, one of which highlights the upcoming release of Aoxomoxoa whilst the other is a blistering performance of the songs they had been playing late 67 through the Live Dead period.
Live Dead captures the psychedelic Dead at their peak. Whilst listening to this album in it's most recent incarnation - that of the remixed, remastered edition as part of the massive, sprawling Rhino Records box sewt one is reminded of the scene in 2001 where the astronaut remarks ' my god, it's full of stars'. Live Dead demonstrates the sheer beauty and awesome power of a band which boasts three lead players in Garcia, Lesh and Weir with an awesome vocalist and bluesman, Pigpen, all of whom play off each other in a sometimes bewildering machiavellian jam session but what results is a magical entity which is a greater being than the total of it's constituent parts. Listen to Lesh use the bass as a lead instrument, limited as he then was by the standard equipment he was then using. Listen to Garcia and those fluid racing solos with such a distinctive sound and tone. He may have lost that capacity in later years but often he plays like a man possessed transformed into Merlin the magician or the Pied Piper destined to take us into those uncharted musical waters from which we may never return.
This album has no redundant or extra parts. The songs, such as they are, are as tight and taut as the playing. You almost want to cry out for the music to continue for ever and ever.
And you know what?... Read more ›
If you liked Hawkwind's 'Space Ritual', or the Floyd's 'Sauceful of Secrets' (the song rather than the whole album) then this is likely to appeal. If, on the other hand, you prefer something more obviously song-based without all the endless noodling, I'd look elsewhere. Like American Beauty, for starters.
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