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VINE VOICEon 15 August 2007
Aoxomoxoa was the band's third album, the eagerly awaited follow-up to Anthem Of The Sun, originally released in June 1969, but remixed and re-released in July 1971, and it is this remix that has been used for subsequent CD re-issues.

Whereas Anthem synthesized the bands live and studio halves into a glorious whole, Aoxomoxoa is a purely studio affair, more song based, and although some lengthier pieces were considered and rehearsed in the studio for the album, they were not used as they were considered more suitable for a live setting. The Eleven, for example, was instead recorded live for their fourth album, the legendary Live Dead, which was being recorded at live concerts during the same period. To quote Jerry Garcia from a Deadheads' newsletter, "If you take Live Dead and Aoxomoxoa together, you have a picture of what we were doing then. We were playing Live Dead and we were recording Aoxomoxoa." The studio and live sides of the band had been awarded their own platforms.

Earlier recordings for the album were also junked when the studio acquired an early 16-track Ampex. This was instantly taken up by the band with enthusiasm and is responsible for the album's remarkable clarity, though one of the reason for Jerry Garcia's 1971 remix was that he found the original results muddy and cluttered. He also removed some multi-tracks, harmonies, phase-shifting and stereo effects, which means that whatever our personal preferences we are listening to this album though Garcia's 1971 revisionist ears, not to the band's original 1969 statement. Whilst I wouldn't deny anyone the right to hear the remix, I would also like to hear the record as it sounded in 1969.

The songwriting axes had also changed since the previous album, to which all band members had contributed. The band had met up with writer and lyricist Robert Hunter, and having already collaborated with Garcia on Dark Star, and with Phil Lesh and Pigpen on Anthem Of The Sun's Alligator, had since become the band's lyricist in residence, mostly working with Jerry Garcia. The pair of them composed the entire album (with some musical contribution from Phil Lesh).

The songs have proved themselves of enduring quality, with favourites such as St Stephen (which also appears on Live Dead), China Cat Sunflower and occasionally Cosmic Charlie featuring in the band's live repertoire. Others were precluded from live performance due to the adventurous instrumentation and structure of the studio creations. The lyrics and arrangements are of a maturity that shows that there was far more to the band than mere acid-prankstering and partying, and the band had cohered musically as a unit, with the line-up as before but with Tom Constanten now recruited fully into the band. Only the "difficult" eight-minute chant What's Become Of The Baby breaks up the flow of the record as Americana sing-a-longs like Doin' That Rag complement blues tunes like Dupree's Diamond Blues, the single from the album (Cosmic Charlie being the B-side).

This was to be the band's last overtly psychedelic studio album since the band went through the most organically brilliant reinvention of musical history with 1970's Workingman's Dead.

Note that there is an Expanded Remastered version of this album also available with a playing time more than doubled by bonus tracks.
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on 26 March 2014
This is a mostly great album but the flow is spoiled a bit by the eight minute long dirge which is" whats become of the baby" ,which i feel you would need to be in a particular state of mind to enjoy .It was made a long time ago but even then the band must have had some interesting material which would have made the album as a whole much more satisfying (as it is , i have to hit the skip button when i get to that track , which takes up a large portion of this short album .) apart from that though the rest of it is really nice and is more energetic than most of their later material ,including st .stephen and china cat sunflower , two classic dead tunes , which together with cosmic charlie make this well worth hearing .
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on 12 February 2014
This is early Dead but still an essential stepping stone to the more polished material of their later masterworks like American Beauty and Workingmans Dead. Not recommended as an introduction to this great band but still a very fine collection of songs
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VINE VOICEon 15 August 2007
Aoxomoxoa was the band's third album, the eagerly awaited follow-up to Anthem Of The Sun, originally released in June 1969, but remixed and re-released in July 1971, and it is this remix that has been used for subsequent CD re-issues.

Whereas Anthem synthesized the bands live and studio halves into a glorious whole, Aoxomoxoa is a purely studio affair, more song based, and although some lengthier pieces were considered and rehearsed in the studio for the album, they were not used as they were considered more suitable for a live setting. The Eleven, for example, was instead recorded live for their fourth album, the legendary Live Dead, which was being recorded at live concerts during the same period. To quote Jerry Garcia from a Deadheads' newsletter, "If you take Live Dead and Aoxomoxoa together, you have a picture of what we were doing then. We were playing Live Dead and we were recording Aoxomoxoa." The studio and live sides of the band had been awarded their own platforms.

Earlier recordings for the album were also junked when the studio acquired an early 16-track Ampex. This was instantly taken up by the band with enthusiasm and is responsible for the album's remarkable clarity, though one of the reason for Jerry Garcia's 1971 remix was that he found the original results muddy and cluttered. He also removed some multi-tracks, harmonies, phase-shifting and stereo effects, which means that whatever our personal preferences we are listening to this album though Garcia's 1971 revisionist ears, not to the band's original 1969 statement. Whilst I wouldn't deny anyone the right to hear the remix, I would also like to hear the record as it sounded in 1969, and since this has been newly remastered in HDCD it seems a missed opportunity not to have gone back to the original mix, as was the case with Anthem Of The Sun, and brought it up to quality, whilst still retaining the stereo panning and other effects from 1969.

The songwriting axes had also changed since the previous album, to which all band members had contributed. The band had met up with writer and lyricist Robert Hunter, and having already collaborated with Garcia on Dark Star, and with Phil Lesh and Pigpen on Anthem Of The Sun's Alligator, had since become the band's lyricist in residence, mostly working with Jerry Garcia. The pair of them composed the entire album (with some musical contribution from Phil Lesh).

The songs have proved themselves of enduring quality, with favourites such as St Stephen (which also appears on Live Dead), China Cat Sunflower and occasionally Cosmic Charlie featuring in the band's live repertoire. Others were precluded from live performance due to the adventurous instrumentation and structure of the studio creations. The lyrics and arrangements are of a maturity that shows that there was far more to the band than mere acid-prankstering and partying, and the band had cohered musically as a unit, with the line-up as before but with Tom Constanten now recruited fully into the band. Only the "difficult" eight-minute chant What's Become Of The Baby breaks up the flow of the record as Americana sing-a-longs like Doin' That Rag complement blues tunes like Dupree's Diamond Blues, the single from the album (Cosmic Charlie being the B-side).

The playing time of this remastered edition has been more than doubled with the addition of four bonus tracks. These consist of three superb extended studio jams from August 1968, including The Eleven Jam, showing some of the original intentions of the album before a complementary live album was envisioned, and a live version of Cosmic Charlie from the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco for the Live Dead tapes on 25 January 1969 (incidentally the same day that the Beatles recorded Let It Be at Apple Studios).

This was to be the band's last overtly psychedelic studio album, since the band went through the most organically brilliant reinvention of musical history with 1970's Workingman's Dead.
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on 11 October 2001
The 4th album from the Grateful Dead has one of the most memorable sleeves of the era, several songs (St Stephen, China Cat Sunflower) which later became live staples, some of Robert Hunter's finest lyrics, wonderful harmonising, a frightening 8 minute halluncinogenic mantra, the awsome Mountains of the Moon, and a slightly country tinged feel in places (especially Dupree's Diamond Blues) which later made its full presence felt on Workingman's Dead and American Beauty. But best of all it has one of the finest closing tunes to an album ever, Cosmic Charlie, which is practically the Dead in a five minute nutshell. Mindblowing stuff!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 April 2012
I must confess that this album wasn't love at first listen. My initial feelings were of general disappointment, followed by a month's abstinence before giving it another go. Beginning with the classic track 'St. Stephen' (with the fabulous 'Live/Dead' track remaining the definitive version IMO) the rest of the album began to grow on me. The first stage of my conversion to this weird and delightfully trippy, mostly acoustic collection of psychedelic folk/blues flavoured tracks came through the mellow charm of 'Rosemary' with it's shimmering vocals.

When I first heard 'Doin' That Rag', for some reason it sounded a little awkward to me, but now it's one of my favourite tracks. 'Dupree's Diamond Blues' has me singing along every time, while 'What's Become of The Baby' has to be one of the weirdest pieces of music I've ever heard, and does feel out of place alongside the rest of the album. The echoing cloistered vocals of Jerry Garcia accompanied by eerie sound effects give this track a distinctly spooky feel, the track certainly divides opinion but I personally enjoy it. Following this we have the singalong qualities of 'Cosmic Charlie' which brings some uplifting light relief after the previous track (along with 'China Cat Sunflower' the two tracks are probably the most commercial sounding songs on the album).
Possibly my favourite track is 'Mountains of The Moon' - replete with harpsichord, this medieval enchantment evokes images of some wandering minstrel charming an attentive audience.

To double your listening pleasure the album includes 4 bonus tracks, which includes 3 pukka jams - 'Clementine', 'Nobody's Spoonful', and 'The Eleven' (fittingly as it didn't make the original album), and the final offering is a live version of 'Cosmic Charlie'.
The Amazon star ratings ask the question: 'do I love this album' - and I must be honest and say that I do. But I can appreciate that it won't be everybody's cup of tea, but I would advise sticking with it. It certainly cast a spell over me after a shaky start.
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on 13 March 2014
Appreciation of the Dead starts here . A musical tour de force , unprecedented , never repeated , a unique album , and musical heritage from the Calfornian sound of the flower children .
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on 18 October 2005
First, a technical note: the track listing here omits track 10 - 'Nobody's Spoonful Jam'.

Overall (for me), this is a great album from 1969, though it does not sum up the 'psychedelic' era -a much abused term to be sure - it merely forms a part of it. Don't imagine this to be too far out or trippy, rather it is mostly mellow, mildly rock-like, and with jazzy `jam' instrumentals. The first 4 tracks are predominantly gentle & alright, replete with changes of tempo, occasional organ sound, or hic feel, and are alright. `Rosemary' stands out as the superb one among them. `Mountains Of The Moon' is a 4 minute number with a baroque feel, with harpsichord etc., and is quite a gentle track. As with `Rosemary' it has a mild folk feeling to it. `China Cat Sunflower' is a poppier tune, with more Hammond-type sounds, and spacey vocals; Could have been a Monkees track (for comparison). Track 7: `What's Become Of The Baby' is the certain far-out (yet minimal) highlight of the album, and is eerie and atmospheric to an extreme - excellent! At over 8 minutes, this is worth the money alone! The subsequent track is the proverbial coming down - `Cosmic Charlie', though raved about, is (merely) good when seen in terms of its country rock-n-roll feel. Generally though, it is quite mellow in parts, and the overall feel is one of a journey (psychedelic or not). On to the Jams - all three are instrumentals, with a quite jazzy feel, conjuring up an idea of the 1970's lounge (or elevator) music type. The set is rounded off with a live version of `Cosmic Charlie', which is not quite as polished as the album version, though excellent in parts.

Pure psychedelic, and flower power -fans may also wish to try the following: Country Joe & The Fish (1st two albums), Twink (Think Pink album - the BEST psychedelia), HP Lovecraft (HP1 & HP2), Kaleidoscope (UK & Us bands), Silver Apples (some gr8 eerie, atmospheric, xperimentl montages), Pink Floyd (early stuff - Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Ummagumma, & almost any of Syd Barret's solo stuff), Beatles (you know - Revolver, Magical Mystery Tour, Sgt. Peppers, White Album), The United States Of America (for some top psychedelic tracks), Small Faces (especially Ogden's Nut Gone Flake, with Stanley Unwin vocals - mad!), Cyrus Faryar/Cosmic Sounds (Zodiac - trippy lyrics/vocals galore), Can (unsettling Cannibalism album - mushroom-induced, mind-blowing mayhem!), Parchment (most beautiful songs for a long long time, alongside Ballroom/Millennium), Dr. Timothy Leary (L.S.D. - you Can Be Anyone This Time Around etc.) -all available at Amazon ... etc. etc. etc.

Try also Porcupine Tree (voyage 34 - modern trip), Trance Tripping (supposed audial lysergy), The Beta Band's - The Three E.P.'s (dreamy, hallucinogenic, & triptastic), Hollydrift, Ros Bobos - Sonambulations album (weird and wonderful throughout), and Sir Isaac Neutron (`Sir Isaac Neutron's Ambient Dalliance' album, but hard to find).
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on 29 April 2005
as with all things dead, this collection of music & sounds will
forever be relevant to psychedlic pioneers and their commrades.
the dead were founding fathers in the mid sixties haight-ahbury district of san fransisco during arguebly the most important time in rock music history. they lived the life of wandering minstrell's who played for free, shared their acid, and provided a musical score that influenced a whole generation of psychedlic rangers. this album was recorded at the peak of a period when songs were culled from extended jam sessions at gig's, rehersals & song writing fragments. some of the songwriting is done by the dead lyracist and some songs are jerry garcia or bob weir during a trippy period of the late sixties.
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on 17 October 2010
This is very experimental. The Dead had not perfected song writing in the way that their 70s legacy illustrates so brilliantly. There are no great long jams either. Not as good as their exciting first album or the furiously paced and full-sounding Anthem of the Sun. Probably one of their weakest albums from the studio and shows the undisciplined spirit of the times. It's not what you would play to somebody if trying to explain what you love about this band. It is however clever, unusual and varied and has moments of great charm - but we expect so much more from this stellar band.
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