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Initial post: 30 May 2009 21:58:12 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 May 2009 22:26:34 BDT
Greysuit says:
So many conversations going on about the Grateful Dead elsewhere (and no bad thing either because it is introducing The Dead to the uninitiated) I thought that this might be an idea.

It started off with a comment:

'You will doubtless regard me as a heretic-I have never listened to them (GD), well I have heard them but not sat and given them serious attention, acid fuelled stuff at a guess?'

which I responded to with:

'I'm sure that Cornish Deadhead will probably hit send before me but yes - there is a degree of acid fuelling involved (Tom Wolfe's book 'The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test' describes it in some detail) but there is another side to The Dead. Try sampling 'Workingman's Dead' or American Beauty' on this very web site to hear a snippet of the side of The Dead that a lot of people simply don't know about.

Doesn't cost anything and - who knows - may even generate a convert in the process ?

Happy listening

(Not trying to out do or compete with Cornish Deadhead - but -
They're a band beyond description,
Like Jehovah's favorite choir
People joining hand in hand
While the music played the band,
Lord They're setting us on fire.)

Cornish Deadhead came back with:

I like where you're coming from Greysuit, as the late Bill Graham said about GD, "They're not the best at what they do, they're the only ones at what they do". The two albums you have referred to are probably their best studio work though (of course) it was the live experience that really mattered, as they combined blues, country, rock, jazz, avant gard into the mix. Few of their lyrics are what I consider to be acid fuelled, although drugs of course were so important to the whole SF scene.

Although they were there at the Acid Tests, they were more of a blues based band then with Ron "Pigpen" McKernan as the front man. To me they encapsulated the whole spirit of the late 60's and developed into the most varied, exciting, musical acts. I am just a little saddened that they never achieved the success they should have in Europe. Surviving members are still playing as the "Dead", and there is a vast amount of info etc on Deadnet.

Sorry - I ramble on (now isn't that LZ?)

"Come hear Uncle John's Band by the riverside".

Now we're all up to speed (so to speak) - let the discussion continue .............................

Posted on 30 May 2009 22:38:16 BDT
R. K. Hunter says:
as Rock groups go, the Dead, The Band and Zappa's Mothers, were the first i encountered, when first i eat (as i did't smoke) and partake of other substances back in 67/68. and as they say "what a long strange trip its been", were they three of the best or just the best to start with, having spent from 13 to 21 as then listening to British revival trad jazz and American modern jazz, these three groups own musical back grounds made for a interesting move on top of an interest i also had in Bob Dylan at that time also. british pop was hide bound by mersey and bluesband copies of the Beatles and Rolling Stones, so went for stuff from the west coast, and saw the Dead in London in 72 and also saw The Band And Mothers at Albert Hall round same time. Meet Zappa on steps of A. Hall, Day the 200 Motels concert was canceled.

Posted on 30 May 2009 23:30:25 BDT
S. R. Tulip says:
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Posted on 30 May 2009 23:52:55 BDT
Moff says:
The Grateful Dead are an incredibly well known band but I couldn't name one of their songs!! Is it just me or do they get absolutely no airplay???

Posted on 30 May 2009 23:57:30 BDT
On a good day the Dead will produce a performance you can listen to time and time again. Thing is, to avoid being stung you really have to know your onions as they also produced some of the most dire meanderings you ever heard. You can't trust reviews fro serious Deadheads as they would give 5* ratings to the sound of constipated members trying to sh:t.
I would urge everyone to Take your time and persevere in search for the good stuff and you will have some of the most sublime music around.

Posted on 31 May 2009 00:18:15 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 May 2009 00:32:41 BDT
A. Holland says:
Love them. Not overly fond of their Arista years, but when they were cookin' they were one of the greatest bands ever. And Jerry Garcia was one of the most underrated guitarists of his era.

Posted on 31 May 2009 09:09:35 BDT
I'm encouraged greatly by these comments, but although a "serious" Deadhead, I'm the first to agree that all their performances were not first rate, but when on form - unbeatable. My favorite era was the 70's with 77/78 being the best, and the 90's their worst. Having said that there were fantastic performances in the 90's as well, but the 70's were where it really came together.

Apart from the classic Live Dead, if you wish to hear more, I would recommend the following live performances:

To Terrapin Hartford '77 (their most recent release)
Dick's Picks Vol.4 (Filmore East 1970)
Dick's Picks Vol.29 (Atlanta 1977)
So Many Roads (5 CD anthology mostly live)
Winterland 1973 (3 triple live albums of consecutive nights)
Hundred Year Hall (1972 in Frankfurt)
Reckoning (acoustic live)

My all time favorite is Cornell from May '77, but (sadly) this has yet to see an official release.

These albums represent dipping your toe in the water, and I know others will prefer different concerts, but hey, we're all different!

"Windflower seed in the sand and wind
May the four winds blow you home again"

Posted on 31 May 2009 11:34:24 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 May 2009 11:35:14 BDT
Toffeeman says:
Whilst certainly not a Deadhead I've always been an admirer of their singular approach to music and, when they can constrain themselves to song, I'm a fan. Needless to say I'm an owner of American Beauty and Workingman's Dead. I've also been acquainted with other bits and bobs and liked them all.

Is there anything else in the ouvre that may appeal to us "2 CD" Deadheads?

Has anyone else heard the version of Ripple on Rick Danko's solo CD....? Brilliant.

Posted on 31 May 2009 11:50:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 May 2009 11:53:02 BDT
A. Holland says:
Toffers - I particularly like their Live In Europe triple album from 1973 (?), the 'Skull With Roses' live double from 1970 is brilliant too. Both of these albums are quite reflective of the Dead's country rock/folk period, but also have some of their experimental work on them.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 May 2009 11:55:04 BDT
I can hardly agree that Jerry Garcia was an underrated guitarist.Surely a mistake. Everybody knows he was one of the best.Nobody could move the emotions like Garcia when he was playing soaring solos.

Posted on 31 May 2009 15:56:07 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 May 2009 15:56:39 BDT
Toffers, Rockin' the Cradle: Egypt 1973, 2cds at about 70mins apiece with only about 5 mediocre and the rest fabulous. Comes with a DVD as well for a little icing on the cake.

Posted on 31 May 2009 16:14:03 BDT
I liked the early psychedelic stuff on the first album, 'Anthem of the Sun' and 'Aoxomoxoa', also 'American Beauty' and 'Workingman's Dead' are both absolute classics with some great tracks on. Much of their later studio stuff was a bit hit and miss and never really reached the the early heights. Their live albums of the 70's were all good, but I did prefer the band when Pigpen was around. 'Reckoning' and 'Deadset' in the early 80's suprised me at the time of buying as they proved the band were still playing fantastically together despite all the drug and personnel problems. Brett Mydland's appointment seemed to drive the band on stage.

Posted on 31 May 2009 16:26:48 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 May 2009 16:27:17 BDT
A. Holland says:
Mark - I would certainly agree with about all that. After Pigpen's death I think the Dead lacked the gutsy performances he was capable of. I'm not as much of a fan of the Dead's Arista years, I think by then Jerry'schemical intake was catching up with him and so Bob Weir was more in control of the band; his stuff, while good, isn't as interesting.

I still think Jerry's guitar playing was underrated - you very rarely see him in those top guitarists lists. He was far more versatile than a lot of guitarists and imaginative too.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 May 2009 18:08:21 BDT
I agree that their performances changed after Pigpen's death, but they were evolving at that time in any event. Pig's forte was the blues/R&B and he was not that comfortable with some of the music the band was undertaking in the early 70's. However, they were still a formidable force, and remember that one of the Arista albums contained 2 of their greatest numbers that they did live, namely Terrapin Station & Estimated Prophet.

Anthem of the sun was a mixture of studio & live material, and of course did contain the Other One which could stretch out from 3 to 40 mins live.

So far as A Holland's comment about Jerry being underrated - I couldn't agree more. There is a large body of work of his available with the Jerry Garcia Band as well as acoustic and electric jazz projects, and his banjo work with Old and in the Way + more. Without including the GD, he achieved enough to be considered great.

An easy way to access much GD and associated output (if you do not want to go to the source) is from Spin CDs Newcastle, a specialist outfit.

"Seashore washed in the suds and the foam
Been here so long he's got to calling it home"

Posted on 1 Jun 2009 19:44:14 BDT
Dragonlord says:
Grateful Dead discussion - whatever next!

Interesting comments above - Dick's Picks is an excellent series of albums, 36 in total and contains about 105 CDs. Another one that I would like to recommend is No. 19 (Oklamhoma City 19.10.73).

Both box sets Beyond Description and The Golden Road contain all their original albums, some with vastly improved sound and hours of bonus material. The presentation of the sets is superb as well.

Posted on 1 Jun 2009 20:19:19 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Jun 2009 20:20:22 BDT
T. Franklin says:
Beyond Description does lack both "Steal Your Face" and "Without A Net" for some reason or other, and perhaps more understandably "Dylan And The Dead" is also omitted.

I have had a vinyl copy of Live/Dead for some years now (originally purchased when I was collecting some of the music from John Peel's Festive Fifty of 1976 - Dark Star was #40 in that), and had been intending to further explore the group's output but without getting round to doing so. The thread here has finally inspired me to do so, so thanks to all for the excellent discussion above. Hopefully a copy of The Golden Road will arrive here tomorrow.

Posted on 1 Jun 2009 21:06:51 BDT
You're right T Franklin about "Steal You Face", and I imagine that was deliberately left out as most people consider it dire. As for Dylan & The Dead, that of course came out on CBS, Dylan's label. Most fans consider that their original albums concluded with "Built to Last", their last studio album, although "Without a Net" is an excellent compilation - almost a "best of" live.

Hope you enjoy The Golden Road when received.

"I can't stop for nothing, I'm just playing in the band"

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jun 2009 19:33:25 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Jun 2009 19:38:41 BDT
Dragonlord says:
I would just like to give T.Franklin a big thank you for buying the Golden Road boxset which I highly recommended and I hope you enjoy their great music very much. Keep on rocking in the free world my friends.

Posted on 4 Jun 2009 23:55:07 BDT
T. Franklin says:
Thanks guys.

I got started on the first album last night (no chance to listen to Anthem tonight as originally planned). Having read innumerable times that the Dead only really delivered in the studio on a few occasions I started without any great illusions. But, a very fine album despite the mere four days it took to record and mix (apart from Jack White could any of today's crop manage that!); both long versions of Viola Lee Blues especially impressive. The studio take of the song is what raises the album above the other regular West Coast records of the time.

The set booklet makes mention in the first essay of a version of Hard to Handle from 6th August 1971, said to be spectacular. A bit of research tracked this down to the special edition of Road Trips Vol 1, part 3. I was lucky enough to find a sealed copy on eBay last night. Yes!!!!!

Posted on 5 Jun 2009 23:30:16 BDT
Road Trips represent the latest series that GD are supplying. The first volume consists of 4 X 2CDs + (4 bonuses if you order direct). They are now up to Vol. 2 number 2. The one criticism that has been levelled at Road Trips is that they are not complete concerts. Check out Deadnet where you can download concerts at very reasonable prices if you want to get into the live experience more. The Dick's Picks series is excellent though. Enjoy the trip.

"Come hear Uncle John's Band by the riverside"

Posted on 8 Jun 2009 15:42:11 BDT
Nugent_Dirt says:
Normally I'm a bit partial to progressive bluegrass/American New Acoustic music but 'fraid to say I never got the GD mainly because cos of the endless instrumental jams. Have to disagree about Garcia being underrated. In most of the top 100 guitarist polls i've seen he's usually around mid table , which is fair enough.

Posted on 11 Jun 2009 06:14:11 BDT
S. R. Tulip says:
Greetings, less quiet Cornish Fellow. A real live Deadhead. Tell me, from the movie, are you the one who is grateful ( do you like that ? ) for the film or the one who considers it exploitation ?. Either way you're probably a little unhappy at still being around.

High yellow girl, can't you tell, you're just the surface of our dark, deep well. If your mind could really see, you know you're colour same as me.

Posted on 11 Jun 2009 19:37:36 BDT
SRT - are you referring to the GD movie?
I'm a little puzzled!

"Won't you try just a little bit harder"

Posted on 12 Jun 2009 00:48:38 BDT
S. R. Tulip says:
Sorry. During the movie one of the more angry deadheds is ranting about the making of the movie and the intellectual one tells him in 10 years time he will be grateful for it. The angry one comes back that he doesn't even want to be alive in 10 years time and the brainy one says well nor do I but if I am etc.
This was my introduction to a band I'd heard of all my life and, like most people, they weren't at all what I expected, whether it be Zappaesque noodling or heavy metal power chords. It also introduced me to Eyes of the World which is still my favourite piece.

I must have thrown you cos you forgot your lyrics.

Fighting this damn war.
Wondering if the lord knows what it's for.
Six long year stretch.
And we folks were in a helluva mess.
Gotta keep my mind, take it slow.
Fighting hard. What ? I don't know.

Posted on 12 Jun 2009 09:36:50 BDT
Mr Rosebud says:
Being a very big fan of and CSN & CSNY it felt like a natural progression to listen to both 'American Beauty' and 'Workingman's Dead' I'd read articles suggesting that The Grateful Dead had been inspired by CSN's harmonies so had to listen to both of these albums and in doing so discovered a band quite unlike any other i then moved on to 'Anthem Of The Sun' which to be honest I found slightly more difficult to take but after putting it away with the rest of the record collection I've recently found it again dusted it off and started listening to it again which has rejuvenated my interest in the band, have just picked up Blues For Allah but which albums should I go for next?
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Discussion in:  music discussion forum
Participants:  103
Total posts:  6919
Initial post:  30 May 2009
Latest post:  6 days ago

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