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Reader's Comments Section--The Grateful Dead

General Comments:
I really enjoy and agree with your reviews on my two favorite dead albums, American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead. I thought you did a great job at interpreting the meanings of some of the lyrics, interpretations that I had not thought of. I was glad you gave Workingman’s Dead 8 . I also liked your top 15 list. I agree with almost all of it and was glad to see you added Dire Wolf. One album I think you should review is Europe ’72, in my humble opinion one of the best live dead Albums. Thanks for the Good review
Workingman's Dead
( --added 10/30/04
This is my favorite Dead album. Dire Wolf has the greatest pedal steel solo I have ever heard and it must've sent every Nashville "steeler" scurrying. I was very impressed by Grateful Dead's use of lyric rhythm and how the acoustics follow that rhythm on Uncle John's Band. It's like the lyrics were written first and they "strummed" to the rhythm of the words. Casey Jones gets so intense - songs like this aren't written often today the difference being these guys played like their lives depended on it! Rambling D
American Beauty
( --added 10/30/04
Of all the Dead albums I've heard, this is easily the best album they ever released. It's easily the most CONCISE album the Dead ever released, too (never thought I'd use the word "concise" in describing a Dead album!). This is basically straightforward country-rock. Even the less successful songs ("Attics of My Life") are still tasteful. "Box of Rain" is one of their best, and actually quite moving. Best of all, they never really fall into pointless jamming.
( --added 10/30/04
I disagree with many of the negative remarks. "The Candy Man" is one of my favorites and one of the best Dead songs ever. Don't forget that a song succeeds, as does a poem or movie, when it creates a convincing reality that the audience can enter into and belive is actually existing and going on in some mysterious place. The pace and tone of this song are perfect. One feels he is in the world of the Candyman and experiences the feelings of the Candyman. You actually feel that you are the candyman. And what a world he lives in. Box of Rain, in my opinion is one of the three or four greatest Dead songs. As I listen to this song I find myself looking out of a window and seeing the visions described. This song guides a person to the fundamental truths of existence. The dead are the voice for the feelings and yearnings that cry out from the depths of the listener's soul. They provide a voice and words for those words unspoken and thoughts unsung that have half twisted out tongues. Their voice, their understanding and recognition of our pain and needs is the box of rain to ease our pain and their love sees us through. To not be totally transformed by this song is to have had it fly by you, kind of like being present for the sermon on the mount and asking "what was that all about?". I have a similar reaction to the disparaging remarks about "the Attics of My Life". I find it to be a very gripping song. The images are powerful and conjure up specific memories in my own life. My farovite verse is the one "I have spent my life, seeking all that's still unsung. Bent my ear to hear the tune, and closed my eyes to see." This is a song of passionate struggle for understanding, disappointment, failure and heartbreak, and gratitude and awe for the love and kindness that came when it was needed. I suppose there is no accounting for matters of taste, but it seems you are just not connecting to what, at least for me, the Dead are all about. Maybe there are many aspects to the music and we all connect to something a little different. But when I hear people dismissing such essential Dead masterpieces as "Candyman" and "Box of Rain" as anything less than sublime, I wonder where their heads are. Sincerely, Jack McGuire, third rate musician, and lover of American Beauty for more than thirty years.

Terrapin Station
Let's start this by saying, I do agree Terrapin Station is one of the more revolutionary albums... it has a prog like style, kind of like that Close to the Edge, Yes album (one of their only good albums, but Yes is another story)
Now I have to disagree with any positive comments about Donna Godchaux, who was unfortunately put on this album because of the presence of her husband, Keith, on keyboard. Her singing almost ruins the album, but luckily is infrequent.
Weir's guitar playing which was described as a "raunchy, rough kind of feel" is almost that. His off meter playing is certainly not smooth, but has a rock edge to it and is part of what makes Terrapin Station a revolutionary album that shows the Dead's versatility.
Samson and Delilah is not poorly done, but seems like more of a filler. DSO has done it better. Also, the appearance of Tom Scott on the album seems totally unnecassary, much like that Godchaux chick. The album would have been better without both of them...and an orchestra. Needless to say, I agree, an excellent album that belongs in every Dead home.
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