Jerry Garcia - All Good Things: Jerry Garcia Studio Sessions

Jerry Garcia
All Good Things: Jerry Garcia Studio Sessions

(Rhino)

Part Five: Run for the Roses

First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2004, Volume 11, #9

Written by John Metzger

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Jerry Garcia - Run for the Roses

Jerry Garcia Band
Run for the Roses

(Rhino)

Run for the Roses proved to be Jerry Garcia’s final studio release with his electric band, though it also carried the unfortunate distinction of being, without question, the worst of his solo outings. Granted, the chilling devastation of Midnight Getaway, the sprightly title tune, and the blues-infused Valerie — all of which featured lyrics by the estimable Robert Hunter — held merit, and the smoldering, horn-splattered rendition of Clyde McPhatter’s Without Love was an unassuming gem, even if it was resurrected from the sessions for Compliments. Yet, the jarring arrangement of The Beatles’ I Saw Her Standing There, the lightweight rock tune Leave the Little Girl Alone, and the intriguing, but unrealized island-twist granted to Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door significantly undermined the outing and provided obstacles that many found insurmountable.

As a result, Run for the Roses was a frustrating collection of material that frequently felt overproduced, and even though it superficially appeared to lack both cohesion and direction, it was essentially a treatise on love and loss, something about which Garcia knew plenty. Not surprisingly, the six bonus tracks featured on the recently remastered rendition of the album are equally spasmodic, running the gamut from several modestly interesting demos to a scintillating take on Dylan’s Tangled up in Blue and a majestic, baroque pop-meets-R&B-inflected variation on The Beatles’ Dear Prudence.

In the end, however, one thing is clear: It’s truly a shame that Run for the Roses marked that only full-length studio effort from the latter day Jerry Garcia Band — the group did record a pair of terrific tracks for the Smoke soundtrack — because over the course of their time together, Melvin Seals and the famed guitarist developed a rather remarkable chemistry. Indeed, within a concert setting, the ensemble became a formidable force, though one wouldn’t know it from most of material featured on this set. starstarstar

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This is the fifth 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 Two: Compliments

Part Three: Reflections

Part Four: Cats under the Stars

Part Six: Outtakes, Jams, Alternates

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Run for the Roses [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