Monday, July 23, 2007

The Grateful Dead - "That's It for the Other One"

Conventional wisdom amongst Deadheads holds that the band didn't really become THE DEAD as we know and (um,) love them until their fourth album. On 1970's Workingman's Dead (the one with "Uncle John's Band" on it) they toned down the excessive psych-out ramblings of their earlier records and re-embraced American folk music. And jammed.

Which makes their first three studio albums must-hears for anyone who grudgingly respects the Dead but instinctively hates their music. Trust me.

The self-titled first record is, indeed, amateurish twaddle, the sound of a band who were clearly not yet ready for the studio. But the second, Anthem of the Sun, is a terrific find for anyone who digs the more far-out regions of American psychedelic rock in the sixties. The songwriting and arrangements are ambitious, the recording delightfully weird.

This cut is the album's opening track, and it ostensibly consists of three parts, but you're one up on me if you can figure out where the dividing lines are drawn. Perhaps the titles will help:

  1. Cryptical Envelopement

  2. Quadlibet for Tenderfeet

  3. The Faster We Go the Rounder We Get

Or... perhaps not.

Incidentally, this track is followed on the album (and you can hear the opening notes in the fade-out of this mp3) by "New Potato Caboose", inexplicably (and somewhat facetiously) cited as one of the worst songs of all time in this terrifically entertaining article. I mean, it's not great, but Lord knows there are plenty of worse Dead tunes to be had.

Buy it... on vinyl.

From my deck to you: The Grateful Dead - "That's It for the Other One"

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