Golden Road (1965-1973)
Part Two: The Grateful Dead / self-titled (1967)
The Music Box's #1 specialty package for 2001
First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2002, Volume 9, #2
Written by John Metzger
The Grateful Dead
By the time that the Grateful Deadís first full-length recording was released in March 1967, the band had already moved past it. The songs that comprised its debut were being explored more fully in concert ó just compare the outstanding studio cut of Viola Lee Blues with the mind-blowing live excursion that appears as a bonus track ó and those that would appear on later albums had already begun to spring up within the bandís sets. As would become routine for the group, the album, which was simply titled The Grateful Dead, was really a look back at from where the band had come. For certain, this is not meant to take anything away from the album itself ó itís a fine effort; the band just evolved that quickly.
Much like Birth of the Dead, the recently compiled collection of pre-Warner Bros. material, The Grateful Dead captures the band as it was beginning to find its voice and refine its sound. Consequently, the albumís track listing includes everything from apocalyptic folk (Morning Dew) to freewheeling party-rock (The Golden Road [To Unlimited Devotion]), from rampaging bluegrass (Sitting on Top of the World) to smoky barroom blues (Good Morning Little School Girl) ó while also tossing in some pre-punk fury (Cream Puff War). Though the band later criticized itself for rushing many of the tempos, thereís little doubt that the rapid-fire pace did lend a sense of urgency to the songs.
For the reissue included in The Golden Road (1965-1973), five of The Grateful Deadís nine songs were restored to their "full-lengths." Nevertheless, purists need not worry. Less than a minute is added to each track, as the awkward fade-outs that appeared on the original release have been removed, thereby further improving an already spectacularly intense product.
This is the second 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)
The Grateful Dead is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
Grateful Dead (1967) 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