Jerry Garcia - All Good Things: Jerry Garcia Studio Sessions

Jerry Garcia
All Good Things: Jerry Garcia Studio Sessions

(Rhino)

Part Two: Compliments

First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2004, Volume 11, #8

Written by John Metzger

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Jerry Garcia - Compliments

Jerry Garcia
Compliments

(Rhino)

Where Jerry Garciaís self-titled solo debut was largely a logical extension of the Grateful Deadís sound, his second self-titled effort, which was released in 1974 and became known as Compliments, was a different animal altogether. Comprised of nine cover songs and a new composition (Midnight Town) from John Kahn and Robert Hunter, the collection highlighted the eclectic musical tastes of the famed guitarist ó even if it was his bass player, producer, and long-time friend who selected most of the material. Indeed, it alluded to the path that Garcia and Kahn would continue to traverse throughout the various incarnations of the Jerry Garcia Band, one that allowed the duo to recast a variety of carefully selected songs in whatever image suited them.

Over the years, Compliments has gotten a bad rap due to both the brevity of its tunes and the polish of the performances, but those looking for extended jams are simply missing the point. This was an opportunity for Garcia to do something different ó to sing, to perform, and to arrange a variety of songs however he wanted. As a result, he surely sounded like he was having the time of his life, whether delivering an airy version of Smokey Robinsonís The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game, delving into the blues-based funk of Little Miltonís Thatís What Love Will Make You Do, or bouncing through the New Orleans-baked groove of Dr. Johnís What Goes Around. Elsewhere, he puts an aching, mournful spin on Peter Rowanís Mississippi Moon and offers a Django Reinhardt-inspired reading of Irving Berlinís Russian Lullaby that positively swings.

As for the bonus material, it encompasses nine additional cover songs and a fiery little studio jam titled Cardiac Arrest, and the truth of the matter is that it is nothing short of extraordinary. All of it fits within the wide-ranging scope of the original package, but the performances are less polished and far edgier. Most notable are the uplifting gospel-soul strains that grace Lonesome Town; the brawny, Southern soul of (Iím a) Road Runner; and the string band flourishes (courtesy of fiddler Vassar Clements and mandolinist David Grisman) that fill Back Home in Indiana. With each note that Garcia and his ensemble deliver, one is overcome with the musicís intoxicating effulgence, and even if the original album is of marginal interest to some, the extras will please everyone. starstarstar Ĺ

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This is the second installment of a six-part series, which will
examine
All Good Things: Jerry Garcia Studio Sessions album
by album. The entire set is rated:
starstarstarstar

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All Good Things: Jerry Garcia Studio Sessions

Part One: Garcia

Part Three: Reflections

Part Four: Cats under the Stars

Part Five: Run for the Roses

Part Six: Outtakes, Jams, Alternates

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Compliments [Remastered & Expanded] is available from
Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!

All Good Things: Jerry Garcia Studio Sessions [Remastered & Expanded] is available from
Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!

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Ratings

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

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Copyright © 2004 The Music Box