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Author: Subject: ..thoughts on the Grateful Dead

Extreme Peach





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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 02:26 PM

I've seen several posts over the years from people stating that they are not fans or much into the Dead. I don't use drugs; never have. And I can see how the sub-culture that existed/exists around this band can grow annoying at times, and I don't personally listen to the psychedelic early stuff, or the spaced out tunes like Stella Blue very often.
BUT....I find that I never grow tired of the folksy/Americana releases from about '69 'til '73. And even the Reckoning and Dead Set from around '80 get a lot of play. Those are great tunes on the records from those years. I had the double live Grateful Dead going the other day when Spring was filling the air and I began to ponder why it is that some people don't like it. Listening to Bertha, Big Railroad Blues, Mama Tried, Me & My Uncle, and tunes like I know You Rider, Brown Eyed Women, Jack Straw, He's Gone, etc., from Europe '72 are simply blissful to me. American Beauty is a bit more over-played, but still a classic of this sound. As much negative attention as B. Wier gets around here for his vocals, he was on his game in this period.
Anyway, I guess if you are most into electric blues and British or progressive rock, I could see how this isn't your thing. But if you like The Band, Graham Parsons, outlaw country, and much of the other fusions of blues, country, blue-grass, and rock and Roll that was blossoming at the time, I can't wrap my mind around how this music (with R. Hunter's lyrics) doesn't take you to some of the same places. Or maybe I've answered the question already? I would love to hear some reflections on this.

 
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Universal Peach



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 03:29 PM
At first I couldn't stand the Dead. But a good friend at the time liked the band and played their music quite a bit. One day at work, he was playing some Dead and I kind of had a "Wow. That sounds really cool!" experience. I then got Dead Set and I was hooked. Ended up seeing the band play 15 times.

Same thing kind of happened to my dad. I left a tape in his cassette player by accident. He ended up playing it and liked it. I later told him it was the Dead. While he was never a big fan, he respected the band's music and the musicians.

Long live China-Rider!

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 03:39 PM
quote:
At first I couldn't stand the Dead.


Don't hate them, just don't get it.

quote:
Ended up seeing the band play 15 times.


Saw them about 5 times in the 80s & 90s and Caught the JGB twice. Still do not get it.

Too each their own.

 

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Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 03:46 PM
i don't do drugs either but i am a huge dead head. like most of the bands stuff but imo they lost something when pigpen passed. it was something about the jams and sound of the band that never was as magical imo after the early 70's when pigpen left us. i do enjoy the 1989/1990 live stuff a lot though.
 

Universal Peach



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 05:15 PM
I think the original post lays out clearly an argument I have made for years. Even if you don't like spacey jamming, the Dead's enduring legacy is their SONGS. The further away we get from Jerry's passing, the clearer it seems.

I am one of those Bob Weir "haters" in a lot of ways, but even in Bob's case, the one thing I will always give him credit for is his songwriting. The man wrote The Other One, Playing In The Band, Cassidy, Estimated Prophet, Throwing Stones, Hell In A Bucket and many other great songs--and he wasn't even the best songwriter/dominant musical force in the band!

Then you have the Hunter/Garcia catalog, which is very impressive and has aged very well. I agree with the original poster, if you like Americana music and aren't familiar with tunes like Ripple and Friend of the Devil, you're missing out on some of the very best that genre has to offer. A good acoustic Dead set from 1970 is a good place to start.

My wife isn't a Dead fan, and used to routinely dismiss them--until I played her some Pigpen Specifically, I think it was Smokestack Lightning from Bear's Choice.

"Who is this?," she asked. "This sounds great!"

"The Grateful Dead," I replied with a grin.

She stared back at me for a second with a look that said "No, really, who is this?"

After I assured her it really was the Dead, she asked "Why do they let the other guy sing? This guy is much better. He's got SOUL!" I of course explained Pigpen's untimely demise, but now I know that if I want to listen to the Dead with my wife around, reach for some 1969-1971 with strong Pigpen content. In much the same way as the Americana stuff, any fan of the blues who isn't familiar with Ron "Pigpen" McKernan is really missing out on some of the best blues available.

Don't let the fact that you don't like noodly hippie jams keep you from exploring other aspects of the Grateful Dead catalog. Try it, you might like it.

 
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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 05:33 PM
i am a primary peachhead & i ride the mule like it's my job, but i am proud to be a secondary deadhead ~ they're awesome & have such a vast realm of music selections. i can easily get lost in their tunes....funky, groovy & loose.
I like their lyrics, some so deep & intense...others that spin a tale. some of the coolest words ever put to a melody.


[Edited on 5/3/2013 by peachygurl]

 

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Peach Pro



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 06:44 PM
At first, I did not like the Dead, either. The music to me was quite dissonant. Then 1 day, riding as a passenger in my friendís 1963 Ford Falcon, 3 on the tree, he put in a 4 track tape, I believe, and Promise Land was pulsating through his speakers. For some reason, at that very moment, it hit me; I could hear the individual musical instruments, and follow whichever one I chose at the time. The year was 1972, and it was the beginning of a 40+ year journey that took me to 135 shows. I know a lot of you probably think I am/was crazy. I know my parents certainly did. And yes, being a ďchild of the 60ís and 70ísĒ, I did quite a few drugs; it was part of the times and the culture.

Despite my touring and drug use, I still managed to be on an academic scholarship at a major University here in Oregon. Donít ask me how; I just did it... While it was the music that first attracted me, it became so much more than just the music; it was the whole scene. I met so many people from all over the world who felt the same way I did about the music, as well as the political issues of the time. Most of these people became close friends, even though I would only see them at the many shows we attended together. It was a place where one could forget not only onesí own problems in life, but those of the world that surrounded us. Now, whether you can understand it or not, for me, it was a magical moment in my life and times.

Itís kind of how I feel about the Allman Brothers. I was supposed to see them for the first time, I think, in 1972. It was going to be at the Ontario Motor Speedway in California. The scheduled acts were the Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers Band, Boz Scaggs, and I think Willie Nelson. For some reason, and unfortunately, I do not remember why, but the show was canceled. Obviously, I was very disappointed. But, if I remember correctly, my disappointment didnít last long, as shortly after that, the Allman Brothers played, I think, at the Forum in Los Angeles. I experienced the same musical nirvana from the ABB, that I did from the Dead.

Maybe it was the jam band nature of the music, you get lost in the ďsoul of the soundsĒ, and itís quite a euphoric feeling. Itís a feeling 40 plus years later I still chase. My wife and I were fortunate enough to attend Beacon shows for 5 straight years from 2005-2009. I donít have to tell all of you what an experience that was; you all ďget itĒ, like all my friends and I got the Dead. Due to the fact that the ABB do not make it out west very much, if ever at all anymore, my wife and I need to travel. And, we donít complain about that; itís something we both enjoy.

We are both very excited about the Chicago shows. We will be able to combine 2 of our favorite past times: Baseball at old, traditional stadiums, and the Allman Brothers Band. If you do nothing else, do not ever give up your love for the music, for music is magical. The day will come where either youíre too old or broke to attend. Or, like for me and many others, an integral member of the band you love passes on, and the live moments you enjoyed at shows, will be taken away.

Enjoy life everyone!! Itís too short and precious.

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 08:20 PM
quote:
i am a primary peachhead & i ride the mule like it's my job, but i am proud to be a secondary deadhead ~ they're awesome & have such a vast realm of music selections. i can easily get lost in their tunes....funky, groovy & loose.
I like their lyrics, some so deep & intense...others that spin a tale. some of the coolest words ever put to a melody.


[Edited on 5/3/2013 by peachygurl]


Well said, Peachygurl!

 

Extreme Peach



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 08:28 PM
quote:
quote:
At first I couldn't stand the Dead.


Don't hate them, just don't get it.

quote:
Ended up seeing the band play 15 times.


Saw them about 5 times in the 80s & 90s and Caught the JGB twice. Still do not get it.

Too each their own.



Hey BigV, I respect your view on this, but if you don't mind me pressing you a bit, do you feel that way if you throw on American Beauty or Europe '72 while hanging out on the back porch or whatever?? B/c I'm with you when it comes to the Deadhead scene, the parking lots, the big arena shows circa 1990, etc. But like I said, I just really enjoy the lyrics and country folk sounds that take you to another place a la The Band. I suspect you do know their music well, and given your concert experience, I wonder if you find any difference in appreciation when you remove yourself from the scene.

 

Extreme Peach



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 08:31 PM

Thanks to everyone for jumping in on this. Rob, I'm glad you understand where I'm coming from with respect to the songs. I do believe they are under appreciated in this regard; the legacy of the scene has clouded some quality recordings and good original Americana music.

 

Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 08:37 PM
quote:
quote:
i am a primary peachhead & i ride the mule like it's my job, but i am proud to be a secondary deadhead ~ they're awesome & have such a vast realm of music selections. i can easily get lost in their tunes....funky, groovy & loose.
I like their lyrics, some so deep & intense...others that spin a tale. some of the coolest words ever put to a melody.


[Edited on 5/3/2013 by peachygurl]


Well said, Peachygurl!


thanks Paul! i hope to see youagain at a show soon...we have some awesome ones rolling through this way soon!
and i want to add that i agree with Unclj said about the people you connect with through music ~ some of my very favorite & best friends in the world are folks i;ve met through music ~ the ABB, Mule & the Grateful Dead.... we tend to be like minded souls, hippie hearted & kind spirited, have many of the same beliefs & values, lifestyles & passions.

 

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Let your soulshine ~
It's better than sunshine,
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Damn sure better than rain.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 08:53 PM
HUGE fan here ( hence the screen name )

Mostly into the Pigpen and "Donna era".

Nothing like getting lost in a nice long Dark Star though

 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 09:27 PM
Lets not forget Robert Hunter.

 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 09:31 PM
Double interesting that these albums have no cover songs. Very talented group of folks.

Anthem of the Sun
Aoxomoxoa
Workingman's Dead
American Beauty
Wake of the Flood
From the Mars Hotel
Blues for Allah
Go To Heaven
In The Dark
Built to Last

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 09:31 PM
Never saw the Grateful Dead. I became a fan post Jerry. Started digging into the Dead after seeing one of the Phil shows with Warren back in early 2000s. I sure became hooked. Some incredible music. My favorite period is anything Pre-Brent although the 1980 Acoustic Set shows were very good. 69-78 is my favorite time period. I own numerous live recordings - Dicks Picks, Road Trips & Daves Picks. My favorite being the Europe 72 Box Set. Also the Grateful Dead Movie Soundtrack 1974 (5CD) has incredible sound. If you do love the Dead they sure have spoiled us with their vast live output. Thank you Owsley "Bear" Stanley for deciding to record shows.

[Edited on 5/3/2013 by KPRESTN712]

 

World Class Peach



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 10:11 PM
I always thought that there is something in the Dead's music for everyone.
Rock n Roll
Spacey Jams
Great Songs
Improv

if you don't hear what you like, pick another album / era etc - it is there.

You don't like / don't get the jams, fine.
put on American Beauty.

(if anyone ever wondered, the "rider" in my screen name is from China-Rider. you all know what inspired the stormy)

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 10:20 PM
Well, I LOVE spacy psycodelic music, and the dead are great at it!

 

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Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 11:10 PM
quote:
I always thought that there is something in the Dead's music for everyone.
Rock n Roll
Spacey Jams
Great Songs
Improv

if you don't hear what you like, pick another album / era etc - it is there.

You don't like / don't get the jams, fine.
put on American Beauty.

(if anyone ever wondered, the "rider" in my screen name is from China-Rider. you all know what inspired the stormy)


funny enough the original jam that would contain china cat sunflower did not have i know you rider in it. do you know the original sequence that china cat sunflower was part of?

 

Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 5/2/2013 at 11:12 PM
quote:
HUGE fan here ( hence the screen name )

Mostly into the Pigpen and "Donna era".

Nothing like getting lost in a nice long Dark Star though


omg donna's backing vocals are like nails on a chalkboard to me. they always seem so loud and out of tune

[Edited on 5/3/2013 by matt05]

 

A Peach Supreme



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  posted on 5/3/2013 at 12:33 AM
I was a huge Deadhead from the late 1970's until Jerry passed. I lost interest after that, other than PLQ I haven't bothered with any of the various side bands.

 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 5/3/2013 at 01:49 AM
I am fond of the 72-74 era but over all I enjoy their whole history.. I listened to Mars Hotel the other day and damn that is a fine album. Something else when I listen to a show I have to start from the beginning and go all the way through. Unlike the ABB/Dickey shows I can start anywhere. Great thread!

 

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A Peach Supreme



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  posted on 5/3/2013 at 02:30 AM
I have tried, God knows.

I have Live Dead, Skull & Roses, Dick's Pick Vol 4, Europe 72 and Hundred Year Hall.

But the only album I play regularly is From The Mars Hotel. And I like Cassidy and Looks Like Rain from Bob Weir's Ace.

I think for me the problem is vocals. Generally, they are sloppy and pretty dire, to be honest.




[Edited on 5/7/2013 by Shavian]

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 5/3/2013 at 03:26 AM
In the words of Seth Rogan's character on Freaks and Geeks, The Grateful Dead the music sucks but the chicks are hot

I enjoy all eras for various reasons and I think that they continued to write good music till the end. Songs like Days Between, Eternity, Lazy River Road, So Many Roads, Childhood End, Samba in the Rain (am I the only one), Corrina, Victim or the Crime, Built To Last, We Can Run, Foolish Heart, Standing on the Moon.

Can't argue with those who would suggest that tunes of the early 70s are best or the Pigpen era is the best because it is so good also. As with the ABB I can listen to any era of the Dead and enjoy it.

 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 5/3/2013 at 05:12 AM
quote:
quote:
I always thought that there is something in the Dead's music for everyone.
Rock n Roll
Spacey Jams
Great Songs
Improv

if you don't hear what you like, pick another album / era etc - it is there.

You don't like / don't get the jams, fine.
put on American Beauty.

(if anyone ever wondered, the "rider" in my screen name is from China-Rider. you all know what inspired the stormy)


funny enough the original jam that would contain china cat sunflower did not have i know you rider in it. do you know the original sequence that china cat sunflower was part of?

I believe it was Dark Star

 

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Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 5/3/2013 at 05:34 AM
quote:
quote:
quote:
I always thought that there is something in the Dead's music for everyone.
Rock n Roll
Spacey Jams
Great Songs
Improv

if you don't hear what you like, pick another album / era etc - it is there.

You don't like / don't get the jams, fine.
put on American Beauty.

(if anyone ever wondered, the "rider" in my screen name is from China-Rider. you all know what inspired the stormy)


funny enough the original jam that would contain china cat sunflower did not have i know you rider in it. do you know the original sequence that china cat sunflower was part of?

I believe it was Dark Star


correct

 
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