Wasted Years – The Grateful Dead’s American Beauty

I was all set to go with the Dead when I opened my mailbox and saw the small padded envelope delivery from eBay.  Shhh… Do you know what kind of trouble I’ll be in if a certain person finds out I bought a physical CD.  Come on, keep that on the down low… the QT… just between us.

It’s not the cost, as the CD was only a few bucks, it’s more about bringing another “thing” into an already over-crowded house… so I do get it, I do.  I’m actually trying to purge and get rid of all unnecessary things and I have been much better about limiting new music to digital downloads, but every once in a while, certain things are hard to find and you just need a new CD.  It makes me… complete.  Oy, what would his Holiness say about that???

Anyway, I went back and forth and decided to stick with the Dead after all, but I do want to mention the other album and band… The Minus 5 – Killingsworth.  It’s a really great alt. country record and I swear sometimes he (Scott McCaughey) channels George Harrison and Ray Davies… so keep your eyes and ears open for that.  Although their albums Down With Wilco and the “Gun Album” are also making beautiful bleeps on my radar.  This is a good find.  Thanks Yep Roc!  You are quickly becoming my favorite label.

Grateful Dead – American Beauty

I did not like the Dead in high school… that is to say, I did not know the Dead in high school.  Why?  Because I was a prude and an idiot.  The kids who were listening to the Dead were the stoners and not the group I hung with, so I dismissed the music.  What a mistake and a waste of time.  When I finally, really gave a listen and picked up my first Dead album… thanks to a friend and fellow counselor at Knight’s Day  Camp… I was hooked in a big, big way.  My first Dead show was that same summer at Giant’s Stadium… The Dead and Dylan.  The Dead were great, Dylan was okay and the heat was crazy.  It was so hot they had to spray those of us on the floor with fire hoses.  So yeah, you can imagine how we smelled by the end of the day… I bought my first tie-dye in the parking lot that day and I still proudly have it… and wear it.  Yes, I got it big.

While I am thinking of it… to anyone in the Bay Area, please keep an eye out for these really cool Haight Ashbury Fire Department shirts with the Dead’s skull on it.  I’ll have to find a picture.  I would love to get one… Uh oh… More material things… Did the Dalai Lama teach me nothing?  Calm he mind… Calm…

We were talking about Jam bands a few blogs ago, and the Dead are certainly the most famous and the actual founding fathers of the genre.  Which is why I love so many of Dick’s Picks and their live, long jamming sets, but their 5th studio album (1970) is my favorite non-live endeavor.  It will cost me a fortune, but it is tempting to upgrade all my Dead CDs to the new, re-mastered and enhanced ones from Rhino… Does it ever end???  Be strong young Skywalker!

The first three songs on this album are on my all-time favorite Grateful Dead’s songs list… “Box of Rain,” “Friend of the Devil,” “Sugar Magnolia.”

The rest of the album and it’s folk-rock, country jam feel is great and prominently features the lyrics of Robert Hunter.  And yes, listening to it does remind me how much I miss Jerry.  I just wish I had started listening earlier on and had seen more shows… but it is what it is, right?  Learn from the past, don’t live there.

American Beauty is in the hands of the beholder!

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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

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