Six extra tracks including one of the few live performances of Till the Morning Comes !
The Grateful Dead produced some of the most extraordinary and innovative music ever to fall under the general heading of "rock". In fact a blend of exploratory jazz, folk, rock & roll and world music all bound together by the purest improvisatory psychedelia, few bands have attempted music of such scope and ambition. The problem was that although they could often produce music of this stature live, their inspiration nearly always crumbled when faced with a studio setting. The exceptions that proves the rule, American Beauty
and Workingman's Dead
, are the band's finest studio excursions. They contain more excellent songs, better performed, than any other two albums of theirs. Featuring a smooth electric/acoustic mix of instrumentation spiced by pedal steel and mandolin, American Beauty
harks back to their folk and jug-band days of the mid-60s. Besides the stunning harmonies--which owe a debt to David Crosby's coaching--and the band's outstanding songwriting ability, it's Robert Hunter's lyrics which raise this album to classic status. Songs such as "Truckin" (a true story of life on the road with the Dead in early 1970), "Box Of Rain", "Friend of the Devil", "Brokedown Palace", "Attics of My Life" and the magnificent "Ripple" contain some of Hunter's most direct and compelling verses. For those who might want to hear where the Grateful Dead could take songs like these on a good day, however, an attempt should be made to get some of the many live recordings now available.--James Swift
--This text refers to an alternate