The Best Of The Grateful Dead

review dead x1 cong

With the Dead announcing that they’re calling it a day — three shows at Chicago’s Soldier Field from 3-5th July will be their last — it’s a good time to issue a best of. It’s probably not the first, but it’s a good ending to their career.
We’re not massive Deadheads, but they are embedded in musical culture so deeply that when the Review Corner visited San Francisco we trudged out in the rain to Haight-Ashbury and stood outside the Dead’s old house. We went to Haight-Ashbury and scored an umbrella. That’s rock n roll for you.
Coming to them with fresh ears, it’s an impressive body of work. The Dead combine pretty much any musical genre you can think of — rock, blues, folk, bluegrass and jazz, as well as the obvious psychedelic and country — but manage to incorporate new forms as time goes by.
The CD features at least one track from every studio album, opening with The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion) the opener from the debut album and Cream Puff War, the only Dead song credited to solely Jerry Garcia.
Many of the songs are pretty short but became mammoth jams live, such as Dark Star, though Terrapin Station clocks in 16 minutes.
The band’s technical ability is impressive (especially considering they must have been stoned for at least some of the recordings) and it’s a good entry point for anyone curious about the legendary Dead.
Downside: it’s perhaps a bit self-indulgent at times. Some songs were written by stoned men for stoned audiences, but there you go.J

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