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American Beauty (Lp)

4.6 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • LP Record (Aug. 9 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Music
  • ASIN: B0059ILFJ8
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  DVD Audio  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,265 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Heavyweight 180gm vinyl LP pressing of this album. Rhino. 2011.

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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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
What can I say about this album? In my opinion it's one of the best Dead albums ever made. I know that's up for debate, because they made so many albums, but this one seems to have such a cohesivness and rock solid feel to it, it's hard to think otherwise.
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.
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Format: Audio CD
I was NEVER a fan of the Dead until the past few years, as I have gotten into more mellow music and jam bands, and began to rediscover the past music that I either ignored or didn't get a chance to appreciate. And I am not one to flock to a band that EVERYONE says is GREAT, like the dead...so here I am praising this great CD, as that is just what it is. You do not have to be a 'dead head' to appreciate the brilliant songwriting and mellow swing this CD puts you in!!!
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.
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Format: Audio CD
This is supposed to be the Grateful Dead's masterpiece. I'm not quite sure. It has what are probably the best 3 Dead songs of all time, Sugar Magnolia, Friend of the Devil and Truckin. But, the rest of the tracks are not that great. I feel that some portions of the album border on boring, with Garcia droning while you wait to get the great stuff. Note that this is the worst of the Rhino remasters of the WB records.
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'.
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Format: Audio CD
...I thought The Grateful Dead was a heavy metal band. You know, one of those big, scary evil metal bands like Megadeth and Slayer, etc. Well, with a name like "Grateful Dead" who could blame me? And look at the cover of the "What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been" CD. That's a scary friggin' cover to a 7-year old! How many album covers of The Dead's have skeletons on them, anyway? Probably five or six, at least.
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.
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