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American Beauty (Lp)
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Heavyweight 180gm vinyl LP pressing of this album. Rhino. 2011.
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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I've been a dead head for a long time, at least since the very early stuff they did. For starters, I've never seen another band that in my opinion is as versital as The Grateful Dead. Start with their first album. They just seemed to be kicking to get out of the stall. Then get into Anthum of the Sun and Aoxomoxoa. Now, down the road here we get back to their roots and have an album called American Beauty, and boy what a beauty it is. What a colection of songs, finely crafted and very cohesive together. Still, they have the variety and style of the one and only, Grateful Dead. How could you not like a song like Sugar Magnolia, or the bluegrass oriented Friend of the Devil. It's almost too much fun for one album. Then you get soulful with songs like Box of Rain and Ripple. In the words of good old American slang: "It just don't get no better than this". These guys can play their ass off on songs like Dark Star and Turn on your love light, then turn around and do something like Box of Rain or Ripple. What a nice transition. To me this just shows the incredible versitility of the band called "The Grateful Dead" Long live The Grateful Dead. They'll stretch you're musical horizons.
The GD are really known for their miles of jams on live CD's, but if you don't want that *right now*, pop this gem in for some great dead music. If you want the endless jamming, well we all know that there are other GD choices there... Any way you look at it, I consider American Beauty one of the best albums (CDS) ever made! For those that doubted that these potheads could ever put together a focused CD of great music without turning a 4 minute song into a 40 minute one, look no further - these guys are legendary, and this CD is the ultimate proof.
This is the Dead's first complete collection of real, straight ahead rock songs. The first four albums were a mixture of studio rock songs, live music and some really wierd stuff (except Live Dead, which was all live). The fifth album, Working Man's Dead was heavily country/folk oriented. So this was the first accessible rock album from the Dead. And it did have the 3 monster tracks plus some other good ones. And during the sixties, it was unusual to get even 2 monster songs on one album.
Note that all of the Grateful Dead albums on the Warner Brothers label have been remastered by Rhino records. The original CD issues on the WB label are getting hard to find, being replaced by the Rhino reissues. (Rhino is owned by WB).
If are considering buying any of the early Dead albums, you should be sure to get the Rhino remasters. They have done a wonderful job. There is nice packaging with extensive liner notes. They use up every second of the CD with bonus material. What I really like is that they place a 10 second pause between the original and bonus material, so you can take the in original material without being hit by something you might not want to hear.
But...American Beauty has the worst bonus material of all the Rhino reissues. It starts out with the single version of Truckin'.Read more ›
Imagine my surprise, many years later, at hearing this album, "American Beauty" by The Grateful Dead, this evil scary band, and listening to a song called "Friend of the Devil" expecting to hear hellacious screams, fierce guitars and straight-from-the-smoking-pits-of-hell lyrics and instead hearing a gentle acoustic guitar intro leading into a mellow, country-folk ballad, complemented by touches of mandolin, sung by a somber voice almost reeking of heartbreak and despair.
The last thing I expected was an album filled with folksy, countryish ballads with gorgeous poetic lyrics. The sixth song, "Ripple" was almost the most loveliest, most beautiful song I had ever heard.
Well, needless to say, I'm not scared of The Dead anymore. But I did become a fan of their music and this was my introduction to them. After this, I picked up the wonderful "Europe '72" and "Workingman's Dead", both among the finest in the Grateful Dead catalog.
So if you're new to the group, don't be scared. "American Beauty" may well be the most beautiful album ever recorded by a group with the word "Dead" in their name and skeletons on their album covers.
Most recent customer reviews
Amazing album. Only bought on amazon because I had a gift card. Go support your local record shop if they sell it for around $40 thoughPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Well packaged, aside from some delivery issues from Canada Post, the product is awesome and is definitely being used well.Published 8 months ago by Emily Major
The rose on the cover of this album and disk captures its beauty. Like Grateful Dead albums of this vintage, It provides a layered listening approach which one cannot forget.Published 12 months ago by Steven Horn
Great album. Timeless. Many extras on CD including single/radio and live versions.Published 13 months ago by Marlowe James Ferris
Great music from one of Americans best known bands. Timeless hits that will inspire a new generation of people to become dead heads.Published 13 months ago by J. A. Keizer
A must have if you own an SACD player. 4 stars because the original master is limited, a little compressed but typical for it's time. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Alpina Roadster-S