Grateful Dead - The Golden Road (1965-1973)Grateful Dead - Aoxomoxoa

Grateful Dead
Golden Road (1965-1973)


Part Four: Aoxomoxoa

The Music Box's #1 specialty package for 2001

First Appeared in The Music Box, March 2002, Volume 9, #3

Written by John Metzger



Where Anthem of the Sun was a wildly successful experiment, Aoxomoxoa fell somewhat flat. True, it unveiled such classic songs as St. Stephen, China Cat Sunflower, and Cosmic Charlie, but these were performed with varying degrees of success, leaving the album as a whole feeling a tad self-indulgent.

The reason, of course, is simple. The Grateful Dead was in a period of transition, and Aoxomoxoa caught them right smack in the middle of it. The acoustic guitars that would form the foundation for future albums peeked around the psychedelic strangeness of songs like Rosemary and Mountains of the Moon, hinting at the folk-oriented direction in which the group would soon turn. Yet, the odd distortions tended to draw attention away from its rapidly developing prowess as a songwriting team, and today, many of the tracks sound dated.

Faring better are the bonus cuts, which pull together three previously unavailable and rather monumental studio jams (Clementine, Nobody's Spoonful, and The Eleven) and one live recording from 1969 (Cosmic Charlie).  Each paints a much stronger portrait of the Grateful Dead than anything on Aoxomoxoa, while dispelling the myth that the Grateful Dead could not perform in a studio environment. starstarstar


This is the fourth installment of a nine part series, which
will examine
The Golden Road (1965-1973) album by album. The
entire set is rated:


The Golden Road (1965-1973)

Grateful Dead - The Birth of the Dead

Grateful Dead - Grateful Dead / self-titled (1967)

Grateful Dead - Anthem of the Sun

Grateful Dead - Live Dead

Grateful Dead - Workingman's Dead / American Beauty

Grateful Dead - Grateful Dead / self-titled (1971)

Grateful Dead - Europe '72

Grateful Dead - Bear's Choice: History of the Grateful Dead, Vol. 1


Aoxomoxoa is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!

Aoxomoxoa is also part of the box set Golden Road (1965-1973),
which is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!



1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright 2002 The Music Box