Taking Sides: Workingman's Dead vs American Beauty

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Two sides of the same coin, but which one do you prefer?

Davidw, Friday, 16 April 2004 20:07 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Workingman's Dead, but it's been so long since I've heard either I'm not sure I could explain why.

Johnny Fever (johnny fever), Friday, 16 April 2004 20:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Can't really stand the Grateful Dead, but American Beauty has a better album cover (the only thing of merit I can really cite in terms of the Dead were their album covers).

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 16 April 2004 20:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I was just re-listening to these a few weeks ago, and was considering this very question. I'm not crazy about either of them, to tell you the truth - but Workingman's Dead definitely takes it. AB tends to cheese me out a little, and a few of the songs are a bit dull. It's a little too fussy and flaccid for me - whereas WD is crispy and tight.

I propose Wake of the Flood as a superior alternative to both of them!

morris pavilion (samjeff), Friday, 16 April 2004 20:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Workingman's Dead is better, if only for Easy Wind. Easy Wind is classic. That and New Speedway Boogie.

American Beauty has too many songs that are more blatantly CSN rip-offs, and are just too sappy (especially "Attics of My Life--ugh).

Scott CE (Scott CE), Friday, 16 April 2004 20:54 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah that's the worst. I always skip it.

morris pavilion (samjeff), Friday, 16 April 2004 21:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

YUO DONT LIKE ATTICS OF MY LIFE?!?!?! THAT SONG IS TEH BEST, YOU JUST NEED TO HAER TI LIVE!!! I BET YUO HAVE NEVER EVEN SEEN THE DEAD LIVE, CAUSE IF YOU DID YOU WOULD LOVE EVERYSONG THEY HAVE EVER MADE!!!!

CSN-RIPOFF? ARE YOU FREAKING CRAZY? THE DEAD ARE BEYOND REPROACH OR QUESTIONING. JERRY LIVES!

newnumbertwo, Friday, 16 April 2004 23:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

JERRY LIVES!

Not exactly.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 16 April 2004 23:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I was actually thinking of starting a thread like this myself a couple weeks ago when I was really wasted and lying on the floor and listening to AB; first time I'd pulled it out in too long.

The two albums are always considered of a piece, two sides of the same coin, etc. But I think American Beauty is definitely the superior album. The songwriting is consistently wonderful across both records, but I think the best tracks on AB reach higher highs than the best tracks on Workingman's Dead. "Ripple" and "Box of Rain" are to me THE iconic Dead tracks (well, besides "Dark Star" of course), just beautiful melodies and harmonies on both (thus proving that they could sing in tune, just not onstage). "Friend of the Devil" and "Sugar Magnolia" the are enduring concert staples. "Brokedown Palace" is probably my favorite Hunter lyric. "'Till the Morning Comes" is the darkhorse track, I love to blast that one.

As far as the BIG HITS go, yeah I like "Truckin'" better than WD's "Casey Jones". And AB has the better Pigpen showcase; "Operator" is way better than "Easy Wind". Plus he wrote it! I don't like all the hip-jive lines about "ballin' that jack" or whatever it is on "Easy Wind". It's like Hunter got really lazy and just gave his subpar song to poor Ron. Uncool!

But more than anything I just think AB has a few more instances of what Marcello likes to call punctum; those perfect moments in a song that elevate its cognitive/emotional impact. The mandolin line that David Grisman plays behind the chorus on "Ripple" is one such instance. That descending guitar line that emerges on the last chorus of "Sugar Magnolia", right before the "Sunshine dayream" coda. And nothing can top that watery, sighing steel guitar solo that Garcia plays on "Candyman". I mean, that's what master musicians do - conjure moments of beauty like that.

American Beauty just feels fuller, it has more songs, it's easier to melt into.

Broheems (diamond), Saturday, 17 April 2004 00:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

but is it good without drugs? ;)

jack cole (jackcole), Saturday, 17 April 2004 00:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I don't think I've ever listened to 'em on drugs - only booze! Well, not since high school anyway. But back then I didn't like the Dead. I basically tolerated when I hung out with my stoner buddies because I really liked to smoke pot, and enduring the Dead records they would often play was a sacrifice I was willing to make.

But yeah, I think they sound great with booze or without! That's the thing though, they aren't really druggy albums. Well, that "Candyman" solo is pretty druggy. But it's relatively short.

Broheems (diamond), Saturday, 17 April 2004 00:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

They're both good. Which one is better is debatable, but Beauty is much more of a touchstone, more about what the band is about to most fans.

but is it good without drugs? ;)

I dunno, are the Ramones?

gabbneb (gabbneb), Saturday, 17 April 2004 00:56 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Broheems pretty much nailed it.
AB.
Ordinarily, this would spur me to relisten to these albums now, but unfortunately, my heart was broken by a girl who was a big Dead fan, so I'm not sure when I'll want to hear them again.
Is there an "albums you can't listen to anymore because of bad memories from past relationships" thread? If not, then there should be.

Barry Bruner (Barry Bruner), Saturday, 17 April 2004 01:04 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Well, I dunno how fair the comparison upthread is, as it ignores some of the better, if not best, Workingman's tracks. I rarely listen to either album, but I listen to Beauty far more often.

gabbneb (gabbneb), Saturday, 17 April 2004 01:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I like Side A of Beauty much better than B (Ripple and Brokedown were favorites in high school, but they do get old), but yes, Till the Morning Comes is a joy.

gabbneb (gabbneb), Saturday, 17 April 2004 01:15 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

True, but I thought it did encapsulate AB's strengths very well.
"Black Peter" and "Dire Wolf" are excellent, but I don't feel those "punctum" moments when I listen to them.

Barry Bruner (Barry Bruner), Saturday, 17 April 2004 01:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Right, AB has the punctum moments. Workingmans is more songwriting-focused, and those are two of the best. But perhaps the tone of Beauty obscures its writing quality. c.f. Lyle Lovett's Friend of the Devil. Brokedown is apparently wasted on me, as I saw the last one ever.

gabbneb (gabbneb), Saturday, 17 April 2004 01:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah I guess I just couldn't think of anything particularly interesting to note about Workingman's Dead. Plus I didn't set out to write an article or anything. I mean, I love the record! But I just don't play it as much as AB. WD is a lot more straightforward-folky, I guess. Certainly "Dire Wolf" is one of their finer songs: a great story wedded to a jaunty melody - is there a better song to sing along to? And "High Time" is great too. I just think as an album, it's not as rich an experience. It's a bit shorter, and it has a couple slightly less distinctive numbers in "Easy Wind" and "Cumberland Blues"...

Broheems (diamond), Saturday, 17 April 2004 01:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, otm.

We should revive the parse-Xgau 1000-post thread - I'm still not sure whether he's paying Attics a compliment or not here. Is the "nothing upstairs" line supposed to mean that it's the only one of the songs that doesn't actually have something interesting to say about "love, dreams, etc." or that it's it the only one where the music really reaches the heights promised by the lyrical them? Both?

gabbneb (gabbneb), Saturday, 17 April 2004 01:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

still AB for me, but I am raising my opinion of WD.

I am sort of in love with "Easy Wind" lately ... I'm totally past the fact that Ron lamely croaks out "ballin" 3 times in the cut ... it's all about those stinging, Cipollina-esque, vibrato leads that punctuate the verses. and the fact that the drumming sounds so purposefully bad. until it all slams together for that "EEEEASY WIND" moment on the "chorus", such as it is.....

AB will still always win for the 'Candyman' pedal steel solo alone, but "Workingman's" is really working for me right now

Stormy Davis, Saturday, 5 April 2008 07:24 (nine years ago) Permalink

and "Attics Of My Life" totally rules, despite the douchebag comments upthread

Stormy Davis, Saturday, 5 April 2008 07:31 (nine years ago) Permalink

hahahaha! oh stormy stormy i almost revived a dead thread last week just to say that workingman's dead is PERFECT until pigpen shows up! for real! every song is amazing and i feel like easy wind is the only clunker in the bunch.

sorry.

scott seward, Saturday, 5 April 2008 09:16 (nine years ago) Permalink

I am raising my opinion of WD.

Yeah, I'm growing to appreciate the individual songs on WD more, but I like it less as an album because it sounds more disjointed. AB has more straightforward songs. The three I like least off of WD are "Uncle John's", "Cumberland Blues", and 'New Speedway" which work well in concert, but come off a little flat on the record.

Also, "Please don't dominate the rap, Jack/If you got nothing new to say" makes New Speedway Boogie in particular sound hilariously dated.

This thread sort of unfairly leaves out Europe 72 and the first Garcia solo album: you can't overlook He's Gone, Brown-Eyed Women, Jack Straw, Tennessee Jed, Deal, Sugaree, or Loser when examining this songwriting era.

kingkongvsgodzilla, Saturday, 5 April 2008 09:35 (nine years ago) Permalink

i always thought the album version of uncle john's band sounded amazing. not flat at all. i think the whole album sounds great. even though i do have my problem with easy wind. man, if only candyman had been in its place. then you would have had a perfect album.

scott seward, Saturday, 5 April 2008 09:47 (nine years ago) Permalink

"Operator" is the better Pigpen track, out of his late-life offerings. It was a sad fucking day when I had outlived Pig, moreso than any of those other bastards who died at 27.

kingkongvsgodzilla, Saturday, 5 April 2008 09:51 (nine years ago) Permalink

I prefer "American Beauty", which has more of those wonderful vocals. It is slightly less "country-rootsy", plus the backing vocals are mixed in stereo which makes it a more interesting listen.

Geir Hongro, Saturday, 5 April 2008 16:42 (nine years ago) Permalink

"This thread sort of unfairly leaves out Europe 72 and the first Garcia solo album: "

Bob Weir's Ace also is another record from this time that has a bunch of tunes that became staples of the band's live set.

It is safe to say, this band was on quite the roll during this time.

To answer the original question, Workingman's Dead is about the best gateway drug for the group unless you are wanting to turn some on to their songwriting.

earlnash, Saturday, 5 April 2008 16:58 (nine years ago) Permalink

I am sort of in love with "Easy Wind" lately ... I'm totally past the fact that Ron lamely croaks out "ballin" 3 times in the cut

I love the way all of them congeal in this really weird way to produce the collective rhythm. It's so herky jerky, loose but tight, all that stuff. It just kind of tumbles along with with a very vague but definite sense of intent.

This thread sort of unfairly leaves out Europe 72 and the first Garcia solo album: you can't overlook He's Gone, Brown-Eyed Women, Jack Straw, Tennessee Jed, Deal, Sugaree, or Loser when examining this songwriting era.

Hunter has always been bummed that the original material on Europe 72 was never recorded in the studio. My all time fave Dead tune is on Europe 72..."Wharf Rat".

QuantumNoise, Saturday, 5 April 2008 17:03 (nine years ago) Permalink

I go back and forth with these two records, AB and WD. I love them bot. For a long time I thought Workingman's Dead was the better album, but in '08 I've definitely been jamming American Beauty a lot more. I think my favorite is whichever one is playing RIGHT NOW. Unfortunately I don't have anything terribly insightful to say. Great harmonies, great songwriting, both records SOUND really good. Maybe Garcia says it best, "For me, the models were music that I'd liked before that was basically simply constructed but terribly effective - like the old Buck Owens records from Bakersfield. Those records were basic rock & roll: nice, raw, simple, straight-ahead music, with good vocals and substantial instrumentation but nothing flashy." I think that's pretty key, in regards to what came before with the Dead; it was a step in the right direction in my mind. Not that Live/Dead or s/t or Anthem are bad records--they're not at all--but a much more direct statement could be made to the record listener by "normalizing" a bit, holding back the weirdness factor.

bell_labs, Saturday, 5 April 2008 17:52 (nine years ago) Permalink

^^ ian not b_l

bell_labs, Saturday, 5 April 2008 17:53 (nine years ago) Permalink

I think my favorite is whichever one is playing RIGHT NOW.

The classic answer. : )

kingkongvsgodzilla, Saturday, 5 April 2008 18:03 (nine years ago) Permalink

kingkongvsgodzilla, Saturday, 5 April 2008 18:11 (nine years ago) Permalink

"My all time fave Dead tune is on Europe 72..."Wharf Rat"."

WR's on Skull and Roses, not '72. Great song though.

I vote for AB. The remastered CD has a great live version of Truckin. THe beginning's cut off, but the band is killing it. Garcia has an awesome 5 minute solo, then botches the lyrics coming out of it badly, like only Jerry can.

Bill Magill, Monday, 7 April 2008 13:19 (nine years ago) Permalink

Workingman's Dead is the only Dead LP I've ever really enjoyed from beginning to end. (There are probably 4000 other Dead LPs I've never even tried to listen to, though, so who knows, maybe I'd like all of them if I tried.) Never much got into American Beauty beyond "Truckin,'" oddly enough.

xhuxk, Monday, 7 April 2008 13:24 (nine years ago) Permalink

I guess WD always just seemed to me to have lots of really catchy songs (and "Dire Wolf" is easily my favorite Dead song, no contest), and AB's seemed more amorphous, somehow. Haven't listened to the latter in years, though; especially judging from Broheems' post upthread, maybe I'd hear more in it if I tried listening again.

xhuxk, Monday, 7 April 2008 13:46 (nine years ago) Permalink

actually the stereo that Geir likes is what puts me off American Beauty, or at least off the remaster - I mean, I like the record, but the separation is so aggressive that I find it distracting. Also, the vocal on "Operator" really drives me nuts for some reason.

J0hn D., Monday, 7 April 2008 13:55 (nine years ago) Permalink

The more aggressive the better. Stereo is supposed to sound HUGE.

Geir Hongro, Monday, 7 April 2008 13:57 (nine years ago) Permalink

i do like that early 70's dead era the best. and i like the 60's studio stuff a bunch. i am a weird dead fan though. i actually prefer listening to their studio albums. mostly cuz my three favorite things about the dead are 1)jerry 2)robert hunter 3)jerry. and jerry always sounds great in the studio. i do like the official live stuff. europe 72. i love dead set/reckoning.

hey, here's a question. since i am such a fan of the garcia/hunter writing team - and i feel that their work together is somehow weirdly underrated or neglected in some way - can anyone tell me why other artists of the 70's weren't all over those songs. to cover, i mean. i've got thousands of 70's records and off the top of my head i can't think of one great dead cover on a rock/folk/country/whatever album that i own. i've got at least 50 albums from the 70's with friggin' Eagles covers on them, you know?
can anyone think of any good ones from that time? how about country covers? even now, i would think someone could do great things with it must have been the roses or sugar magnolia or tennessee jed or you name it.
maybe i just own the wrong albums. i have a cd by an italian prog/folk/psych band called howth castle that has a dead cover on it. man, i'm really blanking.
i mean, what a wealth of material! and you could make hits with a lot of their songs that were never hits, couldn't you? couldn't kenny chesney take alabama getaway to town. i think he could.

scott seward, Monday, 7 April 2008 14:56 (nine years ago) Permalink

i went to youtube to look for new riders videos, cuz they did lots of live covers back in the dya incl some dead stuff IIRC, and found this dope video instead:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqF32XzL09U

ian, Monday, 7 April 2008 15:06 (nine years ago) Permalink

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000SUE/theannotategr-20

NRPS doing several early seventies Dead cuts on this Live in Japan disc.
granted, it was recorded in 1993.

ian, Monday, 7 April 2008 15:15 (nine years ago) Permalink

I've certainly listened to AB more. I like Easy Wind better than Operator.

gabbneb, Monday, 7 April 2008 15:22 (nine years ago) Permalink

i think i might hav heard a bluegrass cover or two. fire on the mountain, maybe? dolly parton should do a dead cover album.

scott seward, Monday, 7 April 2008 15:23 (nine years ago) Permalink

http://www.deaddisc.com/GDFD_GDcovers.htm

gabbneb, Monday, 7 April 2008 15:28 (nine years ago) Permalink

I gotta hear that Cache Valley Drifters album

gabbneb, Monday, 7 April 2008 15:29 (nine years ago) Permalink

The Pop-O-Pies did two or three really entertaining versions of "Truckin'," but I don't think they count.

xhuxk, Monday, 7 April 2008 15:29 (nine years ago) Permalink

yeah, new riders...but it doesn't get more dead-identified than that. unless it's hot tuna. and they probably did some too. though i can't recall any. but, jeez, i've got a zillion rustic singer/songwriter type records and i can't think of ANY dead songs on any of them. i just think it's weird considering how big their catalog is. and not just garcia/hunter, but there were great lesh/hunter, hart/hunter, weir/hunter tunes too. montgomery gentry would own mexicali blues! they could change the age of the 14 year old girl in the lyrics if they needed to. though they are badass so maybe they would leave it. see, i'm even stretching into john perry barlow territory to make my point.

scott seward, Monday, 7 April 2008 15:31 (nine years ago) Permalink

i think a) they weren't exclusively singer/songwriter-identified, of course, and b) anyone who got the songs also got enough of the mystique that they might have figured leave well enough alone.

gabbneb, Monday, 7 April 2008 15:35 (nine years ago) Permalink

i like Lyle's FOTD a bunch

gabbneb, Monday, 7 April 2008 15:36 (nine years ago) Permalink

we are talking about infinitely singable hummable memorable tunes here. is it a conspiracy? or do people see these songs as so identified with the dead that they don't want to mess with them? i can't believe that. people mess with everything. these are songs that were made to be reinterpreted. cuz jerry and hunter were all about the mythic blues/folk tradition and all that. reinventing and reinvigorating the old stuff. i think on some level they wanted those songs to be in that bigger than life mythic tradition.

x-post

scott seward, Monday, 7 April 2008 15:40 (nine years ago) Permalink

This isn't exactly a Dead cover but the Seldom Scene do a version of "Rider" (aka "I know You Rider") that sounds as if it was filtered through the Dead. Maybe the Dead's take gave the Seldom Scene an idea on how to cover it.

I've been listening to a lot of early 70s bluegrass and the influence of AB and WD can be heard in the Seldom Scene, Norman Blake, John Hartford, etc.

QuantumNoise, Monday, 7 April 2008 15:43 (nine years ago) Permalink

Chris Hillman covering "Ripple"!

http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:kjfoxqq5ldae

QuantumNoise, Monday, 7 April 2008 15:52 (nine years ago) Permalink

i get the dead myth/associations thang, but if dolly parton did a bluegrass cover of "Bird Song" how many of her fans would even know it was a dead song? (i would LOVE to hear that by the way) actual deadheads are more well-known to most people than the actual music of the dead. you know? other than truckin'.

scott seward, Monday, 7 April 2008 15:55 (nine years ago) Permalink

chris hillman has all kinds of good songs on that album. he knows what's up.

scott seward, Monday, 7 April 2008 15:56 (nine years ago) Permalink

hahaha, on that discography list there are like TWO albums/artists that aren't either the dead or dead-related in the 70's. i have that chris smither album. i never play it. i should find it. i don't remember the cover.

scott seward, Monday, 7 April 2008 15:59 (nine years ago) Permalink

i get the dead myth/associations thang, but if dolly parton did a bluegrass cover of "Bird Song" how many of her fans would even know it was a dead song? (i would LOVE to hear that by the way) actual deadheads are more well-known to most people than the actual music of the dead. you know? other than truckin'.

Internet age, my friend. You can cover a song that you know for sure nobody in your audience has ever heard by an artist you know they'd shun if they knew him, and thirty seconds later they've all hit Google and are frontin' like they knew all along. Two minutes later they've downloaded the entire catalog and are no longer frontin' because now they do know, kinda.

J0hn D., Monday, 7 April 2008 16:02 (nine years ago) Permalink

turning more people onto the greatness of the dead is not a bad thing.

ian, Monday, 7 April 2008 16:05 (nine years ago) Permalink

i totally want to cover friend of the devil.

ian, Monday, 7 April 2008 16:05 (nine years ago) Permalink

tales of the great rum runners is a great album by the way. robert hunter's album from 1974.

scott seward, Monday, 7 April 2008 16:08 (nine years ago) Permalink

i've never heard the meat puppets cover of franklin's tower. apparently it came out on the rykodisc reissue of their first album as a bonus track.

scott seward, Monday, 7 April 2008 16:12 (nine years ago) Permalink

Damn, I'd like to hear that.

Bill Magill, Monday, 7 April 2008 16:18 (nine years ago) Permalink

i'd like to state for the record that i started listening to the dead in 1984 at the height of my new wave and hardcore and punkdom and i've never looked back since. my favorite bands in 1984 were probably crass, husker du, and the dead. they all fit together somehow in my mind at the time. but then acid makes a lot of things seem normal. anarchy peace & freedom!

scott seward, Monday, 7 April 2008 16:29 (nine years ago) Permalink

Scott don't wear regular shoes.

kingkongvsgodzilla, Monday, 7 April 2008 16:31 (nine years ago) Permalink

I just don't think the suggested artists are really into the Dead, much as one might wish otherwise.

If you look at the volume by date on that list, it does seem that Deadicated threw the floodgates open.

gabbneb, Monday, 7 April 2008 16:47 (nine years ago) Permalink

I think a lot of artists simply didn't know the Dead had good tunes! I don't think they were anti-Dead or anything; I just think a lot of folks think of jamming and acid when thinking of the Dead, not awesome tunes that could become pop/Americana standards. Of course, AB and WD were damn good sellers, but impressions are hard to change.

QuantumNoise, Monday, 7 April 2008 17:20 (nine years ago) Permalink

The Dead had great songs-they had three excellent songwriters in the band, plus a great lyricist on retainer. I much prefer that aspect of the Dead to the jam stuff.

Bill Magill, Monday, 7 April 2008 17:30 (nine years ago) Permalink

i totally want to cover friend of the devil.

-- ian, Monday, April 7, 2008 4:05 PM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Link

my dad's bluegrass band used to!

AB for me just cause WD doesnt have box of rain

69, Monday, 7 April 2008 17:37 (nine years ago) Permalink

but recently aoxomoxoa uber alles for studio dead

69, Monday, 7 April 2008 17:38 (nine years ago) Permalink

the Henry Kaiser Band do a lot of sweet Dead covers, inc. a great Dark Star that morphs into Love Supreme

Ward Fowler, Monday, 7 April 2008 18:20 (nine years ago) Permalink

Yep, I was just about to mention that Kaiser band which featured Tom Constanten and my hero Bruce Anderson. They did "Dark Star", "Mason's Children" and other stuff I'm forgetting.

On topic, it wasn't until January that I finally heard AB and WD in full, but I've always been in a weird position, Dead-wise: Resenting folks who put them down simply for being hippies, while simultaneously finding them a little bland and wishing they were genuinely psychedelic and less rootsy - which may not have even been their strong point. Of course, that's just a matter of personal bias.

Whatever. I like 'em both fine, but Workingman's is shorter and therefore more suited to my attention span. Really, though, I think I'd rather hear Blows Against The Empire.

Myonga Vön Bontee, Monday, 7 April 2008 18:44 (nine years ago) Permalink

The Dead had great songs-they had three excellent songwriters in the band, plus a great lyricist on retainer. I much prefer that aspect of the Dead to the jam stuff.

I'm going to be the "I like both aspects" dude. If the Dead were one or the other -- jam-a-rific or sweet songwriters -- they wouldn't mean as much to me. Sure, they might not be the best in either category but few bands can be pretty damn good at both. In a single concert, the Dead can take me from primo Americana folk music full of great lyrics, snappy compositions and sing-along choruses to full-blown neo-Miles fusion madness. I love it that about them.

QuantumNoise, Monday, 7 April 2008 18:46 (nine years ago) Permalink

I agree that the Dead without the jamming simply isn't the Dead. But they get tagged with the "jam-band" moniker when that wasn't the whole story at all.

Bill Magill, Monday, 7 April 2008 18:56 (nine years ago) Permalink

blame not the tree for the rotten apples scattered beneath its boughs.

ian, Monday, 7 April 2008 19:03 (nine years ago) Permalink

Found my notes for the mythical 'lost' Dead album:

- Bertha (100 YEAR HALL)
- Playing in the Band (ACE - tho my preference is for one of the long jammy versions, really - the one from the last Lyceum show in 72 is pretty special)
- Wharf Rat (ROCKIN' THE RHEIN)
- Deal (GARCIA)
- Bird Song (LADIES AND GENTLEMEN...THE GRATEFUL DEAD)
- Sugaree (DICK'S PICKS 3)
- Greatest Story Ever Told (ACE)
- Mexicali Blues (STEPPIN' OUT WITH THE GRATEFUL DEAD)
- Loser (GARCIA)
- To Lay Me Down (GARCIA)
- The Wheel (GARCIA - man, Jer's first solo rec is just full of great songs AND some well wiggy 'experimental' stuff)
- He's Gone (EUROPE '72)
- Jack Straw (EUROPE '72)
- Brown-Eyed Women (EUROPE '72)
- Ramble On Rose (EUROPE '72)
- Tennessee Jed (EUROPE '72)
- Comes a Time (STEPPIN' OUT - the Garcia solo version from a few years later really doesn't do the song justice)

Ward Fowler, Monday, 7 April 2008 19:22 (nine years ago) Permalink

Wow. That's basically the record Hunter wanted the band to make. If they could've extended the studio magic of AB and WD to this batch, it would've been a monster record.

QuantumNoise, Monday, 7 April 2008 19:24 (nine years ago) Permalink

The Playing in the Band on the March '74 Dick's Picks from the Cow Palace is great too.

Bill Magill, Monday, 7 April 2008 19:28 (nine years ago) Permalink

I can't imagine a greatest anything that doesn't have something from AB or WD, or a DS>SS, CC>IKYR, H>S>F or S>F, but that's just me. I'd keep

- Wharf Rat
- Deal
- Bird Song
- The Wheel (maybe)
- He's Gone
- Jack Straw

and lose the rest

the Dead aren't the only 'jam band' to write good songs, btw, tho they get more style and authenticity points

wishing they were genuinely psychedelic

I always have to lol at stuff like this

Workingman's is shorter and therefore more suited to my attention span

I was gonna say, WD is the album for r0ck fans who might not be otherwise inclined. AB is for folkies.

aoxomoxoa uber alles for studio dead

otm

gabbneb, Monday, 7 April 2008 19:44 (nine years ago) Permalink

Right now I prefer American Beauty, and it's "Box of Rain" that tips the scales, because otherwise they're both just full of great songs, but "Box of Rain" is more than just great.

On other Dead material of the time: I've said it before on ILM, but the 8/27/72 show at the Veneta Fairgrounds in Oregon is killer. Firstly, it totally has that arc from folk to space back to folk...and in the comedown from "Dark Star" it segues into a goofy "El Paso", back into "Dark Star", and then into a cathartic "Sing Me Back Home" (which you can here on the So Many Roads box set, but trust me, it's better in context). It's simply incredible.

Euler, Monday, 7 April 2008 19:50 (nine years ago) Permalink

I can't imagine a greatest anything that doesn't have something from AB or WD

It's not suppose to be a greatest hits album; it's basically the track list for the studio album Hunter always wanted the Dead to make after AB.

QuantumNoise, Monday, 7 April 2008 19:52 (nine years ago) Permalink

someone YSI that shit, i don't have time to sift through boots and odds n ends.

ian, Monday, 7 April 2008 19:53 (nine years ago) Permalink

xp - ok, i can read. isn't there supposed to be great stuff on ACE?

gabbneb, Monday, 7 April 2008 19:55 (nine years ago) Permalink

apologies, if you thought i was getting uppity. I wasn't. I was just pointing that out.

QuantumNoise, Monday, 7 April 2008 20:05 (nine years ago) Permalink

i totally want to cover friend of the devil.

-- ian, Monday, April 7, 2008 4:05 PM (4 hours ago) Bookmark Link

haha i totally have a grateful dead tabs book from 9th grade if you need those chord progressions dude

bell_labs, Monday, 7 April 2008 20:07 (nine years ago) Permalink

xp - no, dude, i was being self-deprecating

gabbneb, Monday, 7 April 2008 20:10 (nine years ago) Permalink

yes lindsay please!!!!! i would love a grateful dead tabs book.

ian, Monday, 7 April 2008 20:13 (nine years ago) Permalink

i have 2. unless my mom has thrown them out by now.

bell_labs, Monday, 7 April 2008 20:13 (nine years ago) Permalink

x-post
x-post

gotcha!

QuantumNoise, Monday, 7 April 2008 20:21 (nine years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

What's the relationship between "Ripple" and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat's "Any Dream Will Do"?

Mordy, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 09:37 (eight years ago) Permalink

^Andrew Lloyd Webber was a deadhead?

davek_00, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 10:42 (eight years ago) Permalink

yikes if there's overlap between deadheads & music theatre geeks

velko, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 11:04 (eight years ago) Permalink

eight years pass...

American Beauty by a long shot: better songs, better pacing, more diverse instrumentation.

was looking for a Europe '72 thread fwiw

flappy bird, Tuesday, 18 April 2017 19:41 (one month ago) Permalink

No way dude
Workingman's is stranger and less predictable

calstars, Tuesday, 18 April 2017 21:05 (one month ago) Permalink

Like the chords of / high time / and the misery of / black Peter /

calstars, Tuesday, 18 April 2017 21:06 (one month ago) Permalink

Guess Scott's right, come to think of it; I still haven't heard that many country, folk etc. covers of these songs----but here's a good "Ripple" from Hot Club of Cowtown's singer-fiddle Elana James, on her second solo album---nice steel guitar too:

dow, Tuesday, 18 April 2017 21:18 (one month ago) Permalink

Also performed by my cousin's bros at his memorial; that was good too.

dow, Tuesday, 18 April 2017 21:21 (one month ago) Permalink

Some timd ago I was listening to 60s retro radio show on an area college station. They accidentally played two cuts in a row from AB ("Friend of The Devil" and "Sugar Magnolia"), and afterwards the DJ remarked that it was one of the only albums they could think of from a group with multiple singers where each of the first four songs has a different lead (Phil, Jerry, Bob, Pigpen). Found that interesting.

to fly across the city and find Aerosmith's car (C. Grisso/McCain), Tuesday, 18 April 2017 21:26 (one month ago) Permalink

Lol flappy's revive pretty much sums up my Dead semi-fandom

the rockists' red glare (Drugs A. Money), Tuesday, 18 April 2017 21:39 (one month ago) Permalink

I need to track down that 'lost' album

the rockists' red glare (Drugs A. Money), Tuesday, 18 April 2017 22:30 (one month ago) Permalink

Both are great, but if I had to pick just one it would be WD, with "Dire Wolf" being by favorite track.

o. nate, Wednesday, 19 April 2017 00:54 (one month ago) Permalink

Cumberland Blues is probably my favorite Dead track, and it's on Workingman's Dead. Then again, Ripple is probably my second favorite Dead track...

human music...I like it! (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 19 April 2017 04:35 (one month ago) Permalink

I like the version of CB on Europe 72 better though

the rockists' red glare (Drugs A. Money), Wednesday, 19 April 2017 05:34 (one month ago) Permalink


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