Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ok, they're not an "Album" band, but what is your favorite Dead studio album?

Yeah, they're not an album band. You have to listen to them live. You have to have been to a concert. You have to have heard the bootlegs (which by the way often have better production values than studio albums).

Frankly, some of the Deads covers are, in my opinion, better than anything they actually wrote; and my favorite actual Dead album of mostly original material (vs. re-releases and directly recorded live performances released in the 90s and 2000s as albums, and albums of mostly covers) is the double live extended cut of "Dead Set".


Taking a studio album, as a representative sample of who they were at that moment, with their material and their performance...

What is your favorite... or, if you prefer, what do you think is "the best" Dead studio album.

I'm going to cheat here; but it's because I honestly think you can't separate them. They are really a double album, they just didn't realize it at the time.In fact, Warner Brothers later (with the bands permission) released them as a remastered and extended double album set

And of course, Dead fans already know what I'm talking about; and may be rolling their eyes because it's so stereotypical...

I love the combo of "Workingmans Dead" and "American Beauty"; and no I can't choose between them on the basis of the actual studio albums.

That said, other than Direwolf (which is my second favorite Dead song after Scarlet Begonias); I think that in the later live performances, the songs from Beauty are better.

But seriously, I can't pick between Direwolf, Casey Jones, Uncle Johns Band, and Cumberland Blues; over Sugar Magnolia, Friend of the Devil, and Brokedown Palace.

I have other favorite original songs (especially live): Franklins Tower, Fire on the mountain (particularly with Scarlet Begonias as scarlet fire), China Cat Sunflower (yes, I actually like the song... and it's hellaciously difficult to sing), St. Stephen, Dark star (no two versions alike), Hell in a Bucket (my favorite post 70s original song)...

So call me trite... but no other original studio albums have the same mix, and the same feel, as Workingmans Dead and American Beauty.

I couldn't find a nice clean version of Scarlet Begonias that I like (I've made that complaint before actually, talking about the song a few years ago) so here's a pretty good, and very clean Dark Star: