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Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Built To Last (Remastered And Expanded)
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£30.80+ £1.26 shipping

on 31 March 2017
Great album if you're happy with the later Dead styles.
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on 13 June 2013
Few if any of us would have known upon this album's release that it would be the Grateful Dead's last studio album. It is, therefore, wrong to see it as the band's swan-song; indeed, the band had another six years in front of it, albeit not always happy years, particularly the last two of them.

So what do we get? Three Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter songs, two from Bob Weir, and four from Brent Mydland.

The opening number, Garcia's 'Foolish Heart', is a sprightly rocker and is amongst his better numbers, as is the moderately-paced title track. 'Foolish Heart' did well live, and the bonus live cut of it on this re-release CD clearly demonstrates this. The Garcia slowie, 'Standing on the Moon', is good enough and again did well live, but I can think of many more of his slow ballads that I prefer.

Weir's 'Picasso Moon' is for me an odd number that doesn't quite work; there's something awkward about it, as if it can't properly mesh itself together. It hasn't improved with the live versions I've heard. 'Victim or the Crime' is also an awkward-sounding, almost clumsy number which, on the other hand, does work here (and live) for me, although it's not a popular number with Dead-Heads.

Mydland's songs are a mixed bag. 'We Can Run...' is a rather laboured ecological anthem that doesn't bear too many listenings; the two rockers, 'Blow Away' and 'Just a Little Light', are on the other hand effective, although live versions are better (the former here as a bonus, and both on the Dozing at the Knick 3-CD set); and his lullaby to his little kids, 'I Will Take You Home', is a bit twee, again there are better live versions, where it fitted neatly, despite the incongruity, into the post-'Space' medleys.

There's one more track, the remaining bonus number, 'California Earthquake (Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On)', which is not, as the subtitle might suggest, a stomper, but a nice Garcia-sung slowie.

Sadly, Mydland was not able for long to take his kids home, for within a year or so of this album's release, he had died. His presence in the band was greatly appreciated, as he brought life back to the keyboard seat after Keith Godchaux's sad decline from brilliance into mediocrity, and his musical skills, particularly on the Hammond organ, were obvious. He had a strong voice which fitted in well with the harmony signing. His compositions, however, did not always fit too well into the band's overall sound; but on Built To Last 'Blow Away' and 'Just a Little Light' held their own with Garcia's and Weir's compositions. Who knows what he might have written had he lived.

The sound quality on the re-release is much better than the tinny, weedy sound on the original CD, and the bonus tracks are welcome too. The Grateful Dead were never really a studio band, and their real sound was best captured live -- and we are lucky to have such a vast archive of that -- but Built To Last has a sufficient amount of good material on it to make it a worthwhile album.
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on 8 August 2012
obviously most of the reviews of this album are done by non deadheads who have never been to a show or listened to a bootleg. its a solid album with not a bad song on it. it shows the influence that brent mydland was increasingly having on the band and defines the 87 to brents death in 90 and inclusion of bruce hornsby. most of the songs on this album were included in the 89 summer and fall tours and were recieved well. to make claims that this was released to cash in on the touch of gray album are to asinine to even contemplate, in fact if you actually look at the song lenghs to see they all fit outside the 3 minute norm of the times for radio stations. all in all a great album that is probably the best translation from live dead to studio. as for weak vocals there normal jerry vocals listening to standing on the moon, how anybody can say his vocals are weak is beyond me. as david crosby said we were always the stronger vocal band whilst the dead were always the better musiciansenough said.
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on 4 September 2011
I bought this when it came out and rather dismissed it quite quickly as not up to their normal standard. But
seeing at a good price i thought I would revisit. Boy do I wish I had given it a bit more play. It was a
lot better than I remember.i admit Brett Mydland does have a large hand in a lot of the material it is still
good. With a little light being the nearest effort to being in the complete dead style. but tracks like Victim
or the crime , standing on the moon and Built to last get better each listen and now i really get the Album
So if like me you dismissed it out of hand give another go you may be pleasantly surprised.
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on 21 October 2016
Not my favourite Dead album but I thought I'd purchase online so that I could download the expanded aspects.It seems the small print means I only get the basic CD (which I already had) in download format. I shall not be buying the download versions in future.
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