Grateful Dead - Recommend An Album

On another thread in the Streaming Audio forum, Bart counted that he had 94 commercially released Grateful Dead albums on his music server. I have none.

So, recommend me a GD album to introduce myself to this oeuvre. I'm hoping I'll be able to access some of this via Tidal.

Original Post

If you have Tidal you have a wonderful choice. I have about 6 linear feet of shelf full of the Dead plus about 3 feet of vinyl but I mostly listen via Tidal as there is a huge selection with most of the essential stuff.

I would agree with all the selections above but would add Dead Set and their 2nd Live album, just called Grateful Dead, with the Skull and Roses cover. Tidal also have 30 Days of Dead which are compilations put out for free by the Dead every November which are an assemblage of stand out performances.

The Dead cover pretty much every type of music but they are always unmistakeably the Dead. If you like what you hear you will probably gravitate to the recordings of whole live shows of which there are many available  (probably more than I've got life expectancy!).

I'd also go with American Beauty - or possibly Workingman's Dead. If you also like Bob Dylan then Postcards of the Hanging is an album of terrific Dylan covers.

And you also need a live show. My favourite is Wake Up to Find Out with the great Branford Marsalis soloing on my favourite Dead song, Eyes Of The World. (Coincidentally this track is also on Without A Net, mentioned above).

This isn't an easy question. The Dead went through phases before settling on an amalgam - some wonderful, some less so. So...

If you like bluesy/psych then their first album: Grateful Dead

If you like good old 60's acid psych then: Aoxomoxoa and Anthem Of The Sun

If you want a bit of both then : Live Dead

They then went a bit blue collar with a dash of country, and if that's your bag then : Workingman's Dead and American Beauty (they got harmony lessons from Dave Crosby - it's a thing of great beauty and no guitar solos)

If you want more mainstream, but with a sprinkling of classic tracks then: Wake Of The Flood, From The Mars Hotel, Blues For Allah.

For a different Dead (albeit with a shockingly bad cover of Dancin' In The Streets) then : Terrapin Station

For Disco Dead then: Shakedown Street (it's a clunker)

But...

If you really really want to experience the Dead then live it is. Live Dead is an essential (as above) but so is Europe '72 (and various expanded editions/boxes thereof) which captures their transition from blues/psych to blue collar brilliantly.

There are literally hundreds of live albums to choose from, many, many of which are incredibly good but the later you go the more variable Jerry's voice gets (though the guitar playing stays sublime). Without A Net (recommended above) is the best compilation of late Dead. It's very very good, but it's a melange of (possibly) doctored stuff to mask Jerry's vocals. That makes it sound bad, but it isn't - it's right up there.

Start simple then work up to obsession. There are plenty here to help you fixate. Be aware though that I'm just a Dead Dilettante with 48 albums.

I have quite a few Grateful Dead albums on my NAS, but quite a few people have already put forward some of the obvious recommendations, so I'll take a slightly different approach.

After you have had a listen to some of the recommended Dead albums, and since you have Tidal, I would suggest that you also give some of the early 'New Riders of the Purple Sage' albums a little. Jerry Garcia was one of the driving forces behind this group with some amazing pedal steel guitar in its early days (along with a couple of other members of the Dead).

I would particularly recommend the eponymously titled "New Riders of the Purple Sage" album and possibly also "Panama Red".

I remember being spell bound as a youngster by the "New Riders of the Purple Sage" album when it first came out and was championed by John Peel (in his pre-punk days). Lots of fantastic tracks, but some of my favourites are the wonderful "Dirty Business" (which I am listening to right now), "Garden of Eden" and "Last Lonely Eagle", but the whole album is fantastic. One of my all time favourites.  

Thanks for the recommendations guys. It will help me a bit to as well give them a 2nd chance. So far I have never gotten any warm feelings when listening to this band, but I also have never really tried. As many like them I still want to give it a more serious try, to see if am I really missing something.....

How I've tried to like this band!! As an aspiring 14 yr old hippy I borrowed their first album in 1967 from a 6th form hero, and continued up to American Beauty. I tried again in the late 70s and early 80s, with the same result - I just did not 'get' this band.

This evening, as a result of this thread, I've spent 3 hrs revisiting them via Tidal - same result I'm afraid. Destined never to be a Deadhead, but I have tried!!

TOBYJUG posted:

What would the majority of dead heads consider to be the essential album ? 

Hmmmmm. Well for this Dead Head...

GD related...

American Beauty, Workingmans Dead, Wake of the Flood, Sunshine Daydream (Veneta 1972), Europe '72 Vol.II (prefer Vol. II due to overdubs on Vol. I), Wake up to Find Out (Nassau Coliseum 1990), One From the Vault (Great American Music Hall 1975), Reckoning, Winterland '73 and '77 Box Sets, Any of the shows from the Spring Tour 1990 2 Box Set.

Films:

The Other One... The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir (on Netflix... for those who can't "get" the GD... watching this will give you an appreciation of the band)

Closing of Winterland 12-31-78

Jerry Garcia related...

Jerry Garcia (self titled debut solo album, Compliments, Reflections, Garcia / Grisman, Keystone Sessions with Merl Saunders, and then take your pick of any of the available officially released Jerry Garcia Band live recordings.

Film:

Grateful Dawg

Bert Schurink posted:

Thanks for the recommendations guys. It will help me a bit to as well give them a 2nd chance. So far I have never gotten any warm feelings when listening to this band, but I also have never really tried. As many like them I still want to give it a more serious try, to see if am I really missing something.....

I got a Barnes and Noble Card for the Holidays and grabbed Best of the Grateful Dead 1967-1977 on vinyl. I've played it more than I ever thought I would

 

 

Zipperheadbanjo posted:
GraemeH posted:
yeti42 posted:

I have 1 GD album, that is "without a net" it's probably the wrong one as it's never inspired me to try another.

They were hopeless after anette left...

G

I think you meant to say "after Donna left". Couldn't disagree more :-)

Yes, the screecher!

G

Gary Shaw posted:

This isn't an easy question. The Dead went through phases before settling on an amalgam - some wonderful, some less so. So...

If you like bluesy/psych then their first album: Grateful Dead

If you like good old 60's acid psych then: Aoxomoxoa and Anthem Of The Sun

If you want a bit of both then : Live Dead

They then went a bit blue collar with a dash of country, and if that's your bag then : Workingman's Dead and American Beauty (they got harmony lessons from Dave Crosby - it's a thing of great beauty and no guitar solos)

If you want more mainstream, but with a sprinkling of classic tracks then: Wake Of The Flood, From The Mars Hotel, Blues For Allah.

For a different Dead (albeit with a shockingly bad cover of Dancin' In The Streets) then : Terrapin Station

For Disco Dead then: Shakedown Street (it's a clunker)

But...

If you really really want to experience the Dead then live it is. Live Dead is an essential (as above) but so is Europe '72 (and various expanded editions/boxes thereof) which captures their transition from blues/psych to blue collar brilliantly.

There are literally hundreds of live albums to choose from, many, many of which are incredibly good but the later you go the more variable Jerry's voice gets (though the guitar playing stays sublime). Without A Net (recommended above) is the best compilation of late Dead. It's very very good, but it's a melange of (possibly) doctored stuff to mask Jerry's vocals. That makes it sound bad, but it isn't - it's right up there.

Start simple then work up to obsession. There are plenty here to help you fixate. Be aware though that I'm just a Dead Dilettante with 48 albums.

Great knowledge as ever, thanks Nick. 

I'm a bit late to the party and much of what I would say has been said. In particular Gary above has made the essential point that they were never just one band and went through distinctive phases. The phrase from the Merry Pranksters, going back to the earliest days of the Dead in San Francisco and experimentation with psychedelic drugs, multi-media shows and wild music, was that you were either on the bus or off the bus. I would say that if you don't get the Dead, then leave it. To test the water I would say try three records from early in their career:

1. Europe 72 (this is a live album with some post recording overdubs). For many, that European tour was one of the very highest points of the Dead's career and the album gives a good sense of the variety of styles in which they were interested then and includes some more extended jamming as well as some great songs. If you don't think Jerry Garcia is a great emotional singer after listening to this, you probably won't ever get on the bus.

2. American Beauty or Working Man's Dead. These were the Dead's Americana albums - a delightful semi-acoustic mix of blues, folk, country and rock when they first really concentrated on singing in the studio. These were their best sellers so should be the most accessible version of the Dead. The Dead's version of psychedelia never followed the twee English version of fairies and hobgoblins (a gross generalisation, I admit), but is more closely related to the folk tradition in subject matter. See for example Box of Rain on AB which sprang from Phil Lesh's (bass player) father's death and Black Peter (from WD), which is about the thoughts of a dying man. 

3. Live/Dead. You will either agree that this is one of the greatest live rock albums ever recorded or get bored with the 'noodling'. In fact the album again demonstrates the versatility of their playing, from the intricate intertwining of the different instrumental voices on Dark Star, to the complex rhythms of the Eleven, to Pig Pen's channelling of raunchy blues and soul on Turn on Your Lovelight. 

I would say that if nothing here excites you, the Dead are not for you. If it does, then there are many avenues to explore as indicated above.

For me, if I had to choose just one album it would be their second, Anthem of the Sun, an astonishing blend of live and studio recordings that marks the exploratory energy of a band that has no limits on its ambitions - I really think there is no other rock album anything like it.

Clive

Pev posted:

The Cornell gig is truly wonderful, I've had an excellent 3 disc bootleg for some years and if the sound quality of the the official release matches or exceeds that it will be awesome. 

Mine has just arrived. Looking forward to listening to it later (when everyone's out) - the 3-CD boot I've had for years is excellent quality so the official version must be stellar.

Kevin-W posted:
Pev posted:

The Cornell gig is truly wonderful, I've had an excellent 3 disc bootleg for some years and if the sound quality of the the official release matches or exceeds that it will be awesome. 

Mine has just arrived. Looking forward to listening to it later (when everyone's out) - the 3-CD boot I've had for years is excellent quality so the official version must be stellar.

Lucky you, not got mine yet.

Charles44 posted:

I'm interested in this but wary of the sound quality. What do people think?

Charles44,

If you mean the 71 Dead CD collection.

I got it the day it was released and still working my way through them.

The SQ on the ones i have listened to is very good.

Some are better than others and you do get a great feeling of the time and shows.

It's a great VFM box set with some real gems in it.

 

 

Charles44 posted:

On the subject of the Dead - Looking forward any day now to receiving a copy of " Get Shown the Light" series of concerts from May 1977 including the famed Cornell University gig.

Hi Charles

Do you have your Get Shown the Light set yet? I'm still waiting.

Clive

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