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Author: Subject: The Grateful Dead

Peach Bud





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  posted on 4/14/2004 at 06:51 PM
I haven't heard any of the Grateful Dead's work so, being a beginner, what albums would you recommend? I've heard some of their live albums are good but which ones are best and why?

 

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Peach Pro



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  posted on 4/14/2004 at 06:58 PM
Boy do you have alot to look foward to.
I think you should start at with Working Mans Dead, then go into Europe 72'. then from there
not sure, but you should look at the roots first..

[Edited on 4/15/2004 by larrider]

 

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  posted on 4/14/2004 at 07:01 PM
I'd go with Workingman's Dead as well, and possibly American Beauty...

What shocked the daylights out of me was when we were on a road trip from Jersey, and my grandmother mentioned that she liked the CD... She's big into country-western stuff, and does not like much that I listen to...

Just pick *anything* up, and you'll be okay.

 

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  posted on 4/14/2004 at 07:07 PM
start with american beauty, cause thats got a lot of the good basics.then move on to europe 72 (which in my opinion is their best piece of work) and working mans dead. from then, just kind of explore...try their other albums like "birth of the dead" and "bears choice" etc, just find stuff you like. then of course explore the vast numbers of dicks picks!

 

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  posted on 4/14/2004 at 07:09 PM
Agree that Workingman's and American Beauty are the starting points. Move on to Europe 72 from there.

After that it does get a bit tricky. A lot of their studio stuff is quite good but the live variations are vastly superior. For instance, most anything from Blues for Allah or Terrapin Station sounds 10x better live, not that either are bad albums.

It does not surprise me that a grandma enjoyed their stuff. The GD suffers from a lot of unfair preconceptions stemming from their name or the drug culture.

They are an acquired taste. Kind of like Guinness stout. Welcome aboard.

 

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  posted on 4/14/2004 at 07:16 PM
i also agree....the centerpiece of the grateful dead really is those 3, Working Mans, American Beauty & Europe '72...... but then again grateful dead,live/dead....skullfuck.....
it's a huge catalogue......go have fun.....the best (IMHO) years to me are 1966-75......
but what do i know.....

 

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  posted on 4/14/2004 at 07:57 PM
I would also go with the live The Grateful Dead album. The versions of the songs on that one are amazing, as well as the song selection. There's something for every type of Deadhead there.
 

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  posted on 4/14/2004 at 08:08 PM
Live Dead or One from the vault would be a more realistic view of the Grateful Dead, AB & WD are great works--- but aren't really where the Dead are at. (IMHO)

 

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  posted on 4/14/2004 at 08:32 PM
All excellent suggestions. I agree American Beauty, Workingman's Dead & Europe 72 are essential. Ladies & Gentlemen is excellent as well. For some later material, there's a double compilation cd I like called The Arista Years that includes mostly studio versions of songs from Terrapin Station & other albums of those years. Some great stuff, Built To Last & Just A Little Light among others. & there are so many shows to trade! Enjoy the journey my friend...

 

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  posted on 4/14/2004 at 08:43 PM
I'm w/ yurtle here. AB & WD are great albums, their two best studio discs imho. But this is the Grateful Dead, you can't start w/ mostly accoustic studio albums. It's gotta be live!

I believe One from the Vault is a great starting point. If you can't get into the groove after Bill's intro into Help/Slip you won't ever get the Dead. Start there, fall in love and eventually buy all 387 discs they've released!!

As a matter a fact I may go put that one on right now!

Peace

[Edited on 4/15/2004 by josh]

 

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  posted on 4/14/2004 at 09:32 PM
American Beauty
Working mans Dead
Europe 72
Any of the Dicks Picks would be good. 18 is my fave..
Live Dead

And then there are always tasty things down in the trade forum

 

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  posted on 4/14/2004 at 09:45 PM
Were I to invest in one or two Dead CDs, I'd honestly forgo any of the studio albums and head straight to the LIVE music. This is the essence of the Dead.

The Dick's Picks selections are for the most part excellent. I am partial to 1972, 1977 and 1978 for various reasons (mostly because the tone on Jerry's guitar was especially strong these years and his voice was strong).

Really just hammer some of those 70s Dick Picks, and its hard to go wrong. 1968 thru 1978 just are loaded with amazing performances - one after the next.

http://www.dead.net/merchandising/music/grateful_dead/Dicks_Picks_5/index.h tml

 

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  posted on 4/14/2004 at 11:06 PM
They've been mentioned already but just grab a random Dick's Pick and go to town with that....

Plus you cannot go wrong with "Live Dead" probably my favorite Dead album....Dark Star

Good luck searching out stuff you like.....let us know what you come up with

 

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  posted on 4/15/2004 at 01:59 AM
I wore out "Wake of the Flood" on vinyl. From the first listen I was hooked. A lot of people have difficulty breaking into the Grateful Dead with their studio catalog. To me this is very ear friendly yet dances at the fringe of where these songs would transport you at a Grateful Dead show. It is the first album that was completely produced by the Grateful Dead. They were very excited about not being under the thumb of the suits at a record company. They went out of their way to insure excellent standards, not only of the engineering and recording, but also the reproduction making sure the vinyl was of excellent quality and that enough vinyl was used in the pressing. Take a look at the tracks:

1 Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo (5:43) Garcia/Hunter
2 Let Me Sing Your Blues Away (3:19) Godchaux/Hunter
3 Row Jimmy (7:15) Garcia/Hunter
4 Stella Blue (6:27) Garcia/Hunter
5 Here Comes Sunshine (4:40) Garcia/Hunter
6 Eyes of the World (5:21) Garcia/Hunter
7 Weather Report Suite (12:44) Weir/Anderson/Barlow
Prelude Bob Weir
Part 1 Weir/Anderson
Part 2 - Let It Grow Weir/Barlow

Keeping my love of this album in mind and looking at only official releases I have to plug "Without A Net" as an excellent representation of the Grateful Dead live. The "Eyes of the World" is amazing. There are moments in the jam where it literally sounds like everyone, including Branford Marsallis, is playing different parts of the song but the mesh is totally tight, order from chaos.

The first two releases from the vault are also excellent. "One from the Vault" highlights the music from "Blues for Allah" the second album produced by the Grateful Dead. "Two From the Vault" is a study of earlier Grateful Dead with an important and rare "Death Don't Have No Mercy".

Don't forget to check out some of Jerry's solo work. Arista dropped "The Jerry Garcia Band" double CD from their catalog. There was a time you could get a copy in the cut out bin for a song.

I don't disagree with the other comments. Just my two cents. The catalog is massive. If you explore the literature and artwork as well as the boots then you are indeed off on a "Long Strange Trip."

DO NOT BUY THE WARNER RELEASE OF THAT TITLE!!!!! IMO THE WORST REPRESENTATION OF THE GRATEFUL DEAD EVER!!!!

 

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  posted on 4/15/2004 at 04:30 AM
i think that wake of the flood is a great ending to a trilogy... workingman's, american beauty...get anthem of the sun, that was when the dead were playing around, plus a great alligator and caution from mr. pigpen...again any of the live discs...reckoning is good
 

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  posted on 4/15/2004 at 08:03 AM
Wake, AB, and Workingman's are indeed a trilogy of sorts.

Live Dead is fantastic, but it should be noted that it is a "snapshot" in time as they were still an acid rock band with TC playing keyboards instead of Pig. It contrasts heavily with the coming trilogy. One reason I like a lot of live stuff from 1969 is that you see the transition from acid rock to country rock starting to happen. Of course they never totally moved away from either.

The one that hooked me is Barton Hall, Cornell University, 5/8/77 Set II. Crank it up and be baptized.

 

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  posted on 4/15/2004 at 08:47 AM
The Grateful Dead is one of my fav bands, i have followed them till the end, though
i started halfway, so for a beginner i recommend always AMERICAN BEAUTY, this is a classic album, and ofcourse EUROPE 72 , the remastered edition thouhg, live is the Dead
better than studio

I also love their album Wake of the flood, very good..
and for the best live collection : check out the 5cd box SO MANY ROADS 1965-1995

 

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  posted on 4/15/2004 at 09:18 AM
Where do you start with a band that had a 30 year lifespan and no fewer than 11 different line-ups?? (and I'm not counting duplications, like the 1967 and 1971 bands being the same, either )

Musically, they were all over the place as well - starting as a blues/pop/folk band in '66 & transmuting through acid rock, country, folk, blues, jazz, reggae etc. etc.

For me it's almost impossible to pick some records for beginners without knowing what their frames of reference might be - knowing something about their current tastes might tell me what flavours/eras of Dead they could appreciate.

For a dyed in the wool blues & ABB fanatic, I'd pick something from 68 through 71 - for the most part, the band plays it fast & hard, and the guitars are loud & distorted; Jerry was also more into grandstand solos in those days (his later work is more varied, but also more self-effacing) Listen to Anthem of the Sun, Live Dead or some of the archive stuff like Two From The Vault, or Dicks Picks 4, 8, 16, 22 etc.

For those here who also appreciate country/bluegrass/stringband music, Workingmans & Beauty are essential, as are Reckoning & any acoustic stuff from 1970 or 1980.

Fans of jazz & jazz fusion would be well-served by some of the wilder shows from 1972-74 - plenty of rock'n'roll/country hybrids in the first sets for sure, but those loooonnnggg Dark Stars,Other Ones or just "Jam"'s from these years often recall the spirit of some of the music Miles Davis was playing around this period. Check out the Blues For Allah album and One From The Vault, if this sounds appealing. Dicks Picks 1, 7, 11, 12, 14, 19, 23, 28 & 31 will all deliver this, to some degree!

1976-1979 has a taste of everything thus far (though the blues & "psychedelic" elements are almost absent during this period), as well as introducing "Disco Dead" - check out Terrapin Station and Shakedown Street for their uniquely warped take on the flat four to the floor beat! Better still, grab some of those shows from '77 & '78 that everyone's talking about - Dicks Picks 3, 10, 15, 18, 25 & 29 are all very good representations of this period.

I haven't even got to the 80's & 90's, which is my least favourite Dead - by this time, tempos are slowing & the band are getting generally mellower and less to prone to disaster (but with a similar reduction in magical moments). There is some very good music on In The Dark, which has letter-perfect renditions of most of their later "major" songs & Dozin' at the Knick is a very good representation of a latter-day Dead show. If pushed to pick my favourites from this period, I would choose Dicks Picks vol 5 & 13 (both have SUPERB second sets) or Go To Nassau.

Of course, the best bet (besides getting them ALL, of course!) is maybe try something from every era & see which one fits you the best, to start off with. Good luck & keep us posted on your progress!

 
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  posted on 4/15/2004 at 09:32 AM
Well, the first Dead album I bought was Workingman's Dead, and I hated it so much it took me a long time to get into them! It was WAY too country for my tastes as a teenager, although I have since broadened my horizons. A couple of years later I got Anthem of the Sun and was amazed that this was the same band! The Dead's diversity was always their biggest strength.

I agree that live music is what the Grateful Dead are all about. Live Dead and Dick's Picks Vol. 4 from February 1970 at Fillmore East are both great examples of live GD magic!

 
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  posted on 4/15/2004 at 09:37 AM
quote:
spirit of some of the music Miles Davis was playing around this period


Exactly! I've always thought Dark Star would have fit nicely on Miles' Bitches' Brew.

 

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  posted on 4/15/2004 at 09:41 AM
I was given Mars Hotel as a gift when I was probably around 12 or 13 on tape. That started the search for more music, going through the parents record collection and that led me to the tour traveling on the East coast every year and I have a lot of tapes here still, commercial releases as well as live shows. I am still replacing stuff to CD when I have the time for trading.

 

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  posted on 4/15/2004 at 10:12 AM
quote:
I was given Mars Hotel as a gift when I was probably around 12 or 13 on tape. That started the search for more music, going through the parents record collection and that led me to the tour traveling on the East coast every year and I have a lot of tapes here still, commercial releases as well as live shows. I am still replacing stuff to CD when I have the time for trading.

 

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  posted on 4/15/2004 at 10:14 AM
sorry, this must be under the quote..

tapes, i have hundreds of tapes and no tape recorder anymore...all lost in time
who knows this dilemma too ?

 

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  posted on 4/15/2004 at 10:44 AM
I will also go with the general consensus. If you like the live sound a few of Dick's Picks are a MUST. And I would STRONGLY suggest getting into show trading, which is a lot cheaper, and the sound can be just as good, specially Dead shows of which a whole lot of professional sounding recordings exist. And get yourself some Pigpen era shows too, back then the Dead were way more blues oriented, it was much more Pigpen's "band" and not Jerry's, if in fact thie Dead was any one member's "band". Get something with the Pig going into one of his raps and sit back and smile.

Anything from about 85 on is buyer beware, their performance depended so much on what kind of shape Jerry was in. Personally I guess my favorite "era" as 1971-72 or so. That's why so many people mentioned Europe '72, a great album and representative of the time.

And you might want to check out a few Jerry Garcia solo albums or Jerry Garcia Band material. There is so much out there, dive in bro!

 

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  posted on 4/15/2004 at 11:17 AM
Given their long history, virtually each year the Dead played had a different feel and sound, particularly through the early 80's. For example 76 had a different feel than 77 which had a different feel from 78 etc.

1974 is probably my favorite year, with any of the late 70's not far behind. However the beauty of the Dead is there are many opinions and none are wrong!

Watch out though...they have tons of shows to trade (they played over 2200 shows), many of which are stellar sounding

 
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