Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Grateful Dead - "China Cat Sunflower"

Ah, memories of the van. I play in a band with two members (myself as one) who dig the Dead without being, y'know, fanatical or nothing, and one who despises every note they ever played. Indie rocker through and through. You know the type. A valid opinion, by the way; as much as I enjoy them in moderation, I'll be the first to admit that anyone who can't see how anybody could possibly find the Dead annoying just isn't listening hard enough.

Anyway, we have a shitty K-Mart boombox in the van (to complement the broken AM-only radio) we take on tour. And a cardboard box of truck-stop cassettes. Most of the time we just listened to ZZ Top and Van Halen, but whenever G— crawled into the back to tape a nap (often), J— and I would bust out Europe '72, or at least tape 1 of the two-tape set, which is the only one we have. We'd play it quietly and groove on down the freeway until G— inevitably awoke and growled some variation of "turn this hippie shit off." Our favourite cut was always "China Cat". It's the guitar riff. Definitely the guitar riff.

Aoxomoxoa was the Dead's third album, and the last of their real psychedelic phase. It's not quite as trippy as Anthem but there're some pretty spacey moments. "China Cat" is hardly the most far-out cut, but I can't resist posting it. The album opens with "St. Stephen" and closes with "Cosmic Charlie", both of which would remain staples of the live set. But in between there are some long-forgotten psych-outs that are well worth revisiting. As with Anthem, recommended if you think the Dead are kind of okay, but find the folky shit really annoying.

The price tag looks like Generation (where the downstairs was, for a few years, my vote for best kept secret in New York's admittedly slim used record marketplace, especially after Revolver (no link!) changed ownership and jacked up their prices), and it's a cool $3.99. You'll probably be hard pressed to find it for less than twice that nowadays.

Buy it... on vinyl.

From my deck to you: The Grateful Dead - "China Cat Sunflower"

1 comment:

a.k.a. Zooomabooma said...

Despise every note ever by the Dead? I'm sorry, I cannot comprehend this. Even Touch of Grey? and Casey Jones? and Truckin'?