Customer Reviews

16
4.6 out of 5 stars
Anthem Of The Sun
Format: Audio CDChange
Price:£7.26+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2009
This was the first Grateful Dead LP that I bought and it changed me forever. I'd heard it before I bought it - at a friend's house where we wouldn't listen to albums late into the night - and this one really had a huge impact. It was just about seamless - apart from having to flip sides after 20 minutes or so - and carried me along with it on strange internal journeys of the mind. If you've seen the BBC programme "From Anthem to Beauty" (part of the "Classic Albums" series) you'll know something about the album's history. For those who haven't seen the programme, it's a complex mix of live and studio work, with the live stuff recorded at a number of venues. Its production - months and months in the studio with a bunch of hippie weirdoes using tapes played backward, speeded up and slowed down, plus the addition of "dead air" - nearly drove the executives at Warner Bros crazy.

With its use of audio effects such as stereo phasing to switch sounds from side to side, and brilliant guitar solos from Jerry Garcia it is a psychedelic tour de force. But it's more than that. Side 1 is a story - segueing from track to track without a break - each episode of the story a minor masterpiece. The section "That's it for the Other One" became a staple of the Dead's repertoire for the rest of their career. Side 2 of "Anthem" (tracks 5-7 on the CD) is dominated by Pigpen - with his vocals, harmonica and organ playing - and is, simply, brilliant.

Pigpen, a man steeped in the blues, intermingled his background with Garcia's bluegrass and jugband musical influences, Lesh's avante garde classical experience and a compelling rhythm section of Hart & Kreutzmann, and, along with a driving rhythm guitar from Weir and intricate keyboard work from Constanten produced a patchwork quilt of an album - lots of individual sequences, stitched together to produce a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

I've bought different versions of this album at least half-a-dozen times. It's still one I play frequently more than 40 years after its original release.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 11 March 2006
Anthem Of The Sun, in its original vinyl form, was the first Dead album I acquired, a little after it first appeared in UK shops, in 1969, and I still believe it is probably the best album to buy first by the band, as it holds the key to so many aspects of this most rich and diverse of groups. Grateful Dead records fall most basically into two camps: those recorded in the studio and those recorded on stage in front of an audience.
It is on their live performances that their reputation rests, and more albums of live recordings by the Dead have been released than probably by any other band in history. The first of these, Live/Dead, from 1970, remains a high watermark in the history of live albums and is still the best point of entry for those wishing particularly to explore that side of the band.
Anthem Of The Sun was the second album by the Grateful Dead, and was as innovative and ambitious as their excellent debut album, The Grateful Dead, had been conventional. Although essentially an 8-track studio album, the endlessly creative Dead were trying to find a way to translate their live sound onto record, and to this end were multi-tracking onto tape all the live concerts the band were playing during the six month period they were recording and mixing the album. For the studio engineers it was an exasperating process and having begun in Los Angeles CA, three dissatisfied studios and four months later they finished up on the East Coast, at a fourth studio, Olmstead Sound in New York NY, with their own live soundman, Dan Healy. Having laid down the basic skeleton of drum tracks (using both Bill Kreutzmann and new recruit Mickey Hart) for the album's five tracks, the band then overlaid a complex collage of fragments derived from live concerts and any amount of studio performances and overdubs, additionally utilising the electronics and John Cage-style prepared piano of Tom Constanten, who was yet to join the band, and the experimenting members of the Grateful Dead.
When they had finished in the studio in December 1967, a further period of some months of live mixing followed, drawing from 16 recorded concerts, some as recent as 31 March 1968. It is believed that a significant proportion of the live segments on the completed master is from the Carousel Ballroom (soon to become Fillmore West), San Francisco CA on 14 February 1968. Some of the other live recordings from the Kings Beach Bowl, Lake Tahoe CA between 22-24 February 1968 can be found on Dick's Picks 22.
The result of this marathon enterprise was a magnificent psychedelic tour de force of sonic majesty, which was matched by its jubilance, celebration and passion, and synthesizing the studio Dead and the live Dead into an organic whole. No album had ever been prepared in this way before, and in hindsight the technique can be seen as a kind of prototype "plunderphonics", paving the way many years later for remix pioneers like John Oswald, who was subsequently to brilliantly tackle the Dead's masterpiece Dark Star.

The original vinyl album suffered from rather murky mastering which buried some of the most brilliant aural effects, and a remixed version overseen by Jerry Garcia in 1971 superceded it. It was this second version that was used for earlier CD transfers. For this edition, the original tape sources have been used to create with crystalline clarity what must be the definitive stereo version, in HDCD "Rhinophonic Authentic Sound". The vividness of the sound picture immediately strips away the decades that have passed since their creation, presenting an awesome soundscape of myriad tumbling galaxies and dying stars.
For those who already own Anthem Of The Sun on CD, it is still worth considering this edition because, apart from the superior mixing and mastering, there is some 35 minutes of fabulous bonus live material, recorded at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles CA in August 1968, shortly after the album was released. The lengthy Alligator (the first product of their partnership with lyricist Robert Hunter, and centrepiece of the album) and Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks), which together made up the second vinyl side, explode here into a final four minutes of inspired Feedback.
Finally, there is the hidden track at the end - the mono single mix of Born Cross-Eyed (flip of the original studio Dark Star, and the A-side of the same release in the UK), which has an extra section of multi-layered feedback at its close. Dark Star, recorded at the Anthem sessions but never intended for the album (rather as Strawberry Fields Forever was not on Sergeant Pepper), can be found appended to the remastered Live/Dead.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2001
Anthem of the Sun, the Dead's second album, is a severely under-rated psychedelic delight, which should classify as one of the most innovative albums ever released, as it mixes live takes of the band with studio recorded material to re-create the real sound of rolling thunder that they were always aiming for. The songs flow seamlessly into one another and contain all manner of trippy effects and percussion alongside some of the most acid drenched guitar soloing to ever reach your third eye. The psychedelic opus, That's It For The Other One, is like 4 songs in one and from its final waves New Potato Caboose emerges beautifully, Alligator has the most amusing use of kazoo on record, and Caution Do Not Stop on Tracks fades in and out like the dissolution of some visionary experience; indeed the whole album is shot through with amazing beauty and graceful playing. Although Live Dead is often regarded as their best album, this one is an ambitious attempt to combine the studio trickery of Aoxomoxoa with the their legendary live sound, and it works a treat.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 24 July 2007
Anthem Of The Sun is still probably the best album to buy first by the Grateful Dead, as it holds the key to so many aspects of this most rich and diverse of groups. Grateful Dead records fall most basically into two camps: those recorded in the studio and those recorded on stage in front of an audience.

It is on their live performances that their reputation rests, and more albums of live recordings by the Dead have been released than probably by any other band in history. The first of these, Live/Dead, from 1970, remains a high watermark in the history of live albums and for those wishing particularly to explore that side of the band is still the best point of entry.

Anthem Of The Sun was the second album by the Grateful Dead, and was as innovative and ambitious as their excellent debut album, The Grateful Dead, had been conventional. Although essentially an 8-track studio album, the endlessly creative Dead were trying to find a way to translate their live sound onto record, and to this end were multi-tracking onto tape all the live concerts the band were playing during the six month period they were recording and mixing the album.

For the studio engineers tasked with pushing the envelope it was an exasperating process and having begun in Los Angeles CA, three dissatisfied studios and four months later they finished up on the East Coast, at a fourth studio, Olmstead Sound in New York NY, with their own live soundman, Dan Healy. Having laid down the basic skeleton of drum tracks (using both Bill Kreutzmann and new recruit Mickey Hart) for the album's five tracks, the band then overlaid a complex collage of fragments derived from live concerts and any amount of studio performances and overdubs, additionally utilising the electronics and John Cage-style prepared piano of Tom Constanten, who was yet to join the band, and the experiments of the Grateful Dead themselves.

When they had finished in the studio in December 1967, a further period of some months of live mixing followed, drawing from 16 recorded concerts, some as recent as 31 March 1968. It is believed that a significant proportion of the live segments on the completed master is from the Carousel Ballroom (soon to become Fillmore West), San Francisco CA on 14 February 1968. Some of the other live recordings from the Kings Beach Bowl, Lake Tahoe CA between 22-24 February 1968 can be found on Dick's Picks 22.

The result of this marathon enterprise was a magnificent psychedelic tour de force of sonic majesty, which was matched by its jubilance, celebration and passion, and synthesizing the studio Dead and the live Dead into an organic whole. No album had ever been prepared in this way before, and in hindsight the technique can be seen as a kind of prototype "plunderphonics", paving the way many years later for remix pioneers like John Oswald, who was subsequently to brilliantly tackle the Dead's masterpiece Dark Star.

The original vinyl album suffered from rather murky mastering which buried some of the most brilliant aural effects, and a remixed version overseen by Jerry Garcia in 1971 superceded it. It is this second version that was used for this CD transfer.

Before buying this, though, check out the 2003 re-masstered and expanded edition of the album, in HDCD "Rhinophonic Authentic Sound".
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I agree with everything already stated in the other two reviews and do not see the point in reiterating the technical aspects already covered, so I will give my reasons for recommending this to you, the dear reader.

Firstly, this album is yet another superbly well remastered addition to the Grateful Dead canon, Rhino doing an excellent job at making this sound like it could have been recorded last week in a state of the art studio. Secondly, the bonus tracks add to the overall feel of the album. Not something that can be said too often in these days of barrel scraping. Thirdly, this album is the sound of long summer days, sunshine and folk getting together.

It is a really uplifting album to throw on and just kick back and relax to. The songs flow effortlessly from one to another. Pigpens influence is still strong and the track Alligator is a gem, both versions available on thsi issue are great. The band were about to go through a big shift in direction and this psycedelic melange was possibly the last Dead album to be so strongly rooted in the blues structure and approach.

Best enjoyed outside, with your favourite beverage(and some more in the cooler), on a sunny evening with a selection of your friends around for the evening and the stereo banging away.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2015
Not a classic to my mind ; Smile , Sgt. Peppers, De Capo and Bryter Layter all classics but this particular record is not in the same league for me. I agree with another reviewer who states cutting and pasting live and studio material do not make a classic or even great album / record / cd or whatever you want to call it. I love the Dead music and England 72 and Live Dead are for me where they are best enjoyed and totally represent what they were about . For me Anthem was a poor compromise when perhaps feeling they needed to pull so thing special out their bag and bereft of a Brian Wilson or Lennon Macartney visionary cobbled this together . So it's overrated and would not recommend as a first step into all things Dead
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 24 March 2014
This version is the one to get. The original album is great, but the bonus tracks on the re-release actually have a longer running time than the original album, and they're phenomenal.

Side 1 of the original LP ('That's It For the Other One', 'Cryptical Envelopment' and 'Born Cross-Eyed') is an innovative, unusual, compelling blend of voodoo, rock, jazz and musique concrete, and took a long time to sew together. Side 2 is wickedly fun - 'Alligator/Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)' is, like most of Side 1, pieced together from disparate live and studio sources. As well as being rhythmically compulsive and propulsive, 'Alligator' kicks off with a somehow FUNNY blues riff, and a kazoo. Yeah, a kazoo. Welcome to '68.

*But the bonus tracks are the real reason to get this record.* There's a nice single version of 'Born Cross-Eyed' (with killer bass-playing from Phil Lesh), but the 35-minute 'Alligator Jam' is one of the most incandescent, rip-roaring, orgasmic, bombastic, cathartic things the Dead or anyone else laid down on tape - ever. About 10 minutes into 'Alligator' things begin to seriously heat up; by the 18-minute mark you're practically weeping with joy and fear at the insane, supernal heights Jerry's reaching on his guitar, and mere minutes into the 'Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)' section you're in percussion/rhythm heaven.

The Dead can take you places you've never been before. This album isn't one of their most famous, but if you buy the 2003 edition and listen properly to the bonus tracks, you'll be a changed (wo)man. Who needs LSD when you have this 'Alligator Jam'? Buy it - if you even slightly like guitar music, you won't be disappointed.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 12 July 2014
Classic CD - I presume 35 minutes is the entire 3 bonus tracks merging as they do i.e Alligator Jam - not just the track Alligator which i had presumed they meant until I got my copy; you have to wait for 2 or 3 mins to hear track 9 - interestingly bizarre (well it was recorded in the 60s)

However it is a brilliant CD and along with Live Dead probably the height of their artistic achievement. Nothing more need be written as it has all been said in the other reviews
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 9 May 2014
I was too young to experience the Grateful Dead as it was happening, so it is only in later life that I have discovered what a totally unique and amazing sound they had. This was recommended by another reviewer as a good introduction to their music, and I would agree completely. If their strange psychedelic fusion of musical styles confuses you at first, give it time. It's well worth worth it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2011
The best psychedelic album!!

Unrepeatable and unique.
The way they created and mixed this album was very special.

My first Dead album and the one that opened the door to me for
other classic albums by this band; but still I always return to this one which
has something different than the others, for me their absolutely best.

Bonus tracks are great, just makes this even better!!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
American Beauty
American Beauty by Grateful Dead (Audio CD - 2003)

Workingman's Dead
Workingman's Dead by Grateful Dead (Audio CD - 2003)

Live Dead
Live Dead by Grateful Dead (Audio CD - 2003)
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.