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Username: palmann

Post Number: 6
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 1:40 pm:   Edit Post


I just wonder which Grateful Dead Album would be a nice start to get into their Music.

It would also be nice, if the bass on this album is an Alembic.

Gruesse, Pablo
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 2072
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 5:00 pm:   Edit Post

Well the answer isn't entirely easy. Perhaps the most "accessible" are Workingman's Dead and American Beauty, in that these albums feature "songs" and not a lot of improvisational jamming. However, if you are more interested in the "jazz" side, then those albums might not be the best place to start. Another nice place to start might be the released live albums such as 1971's The Grateful Dead and 1972's Europe 72. Yet another really interesting place to start would be Wake Of The Flood, or Mars Hotel, or Blues For Allah. These albums have some very nice writing on them. However, for just starting out, Wake Of The Flood is probably a little less "accessable" than Mars Hotel or Blues For Allah. It's difficult narrowing down from there without knowing what kinda stuff appeals to you. If I had to pick one, Mars Hotel might be a good starting point, although I'm sure there will be many folks around here who will disagree with that choice <g>! I recently played "Help On The Way/Slipknot" from Blues For Allah and "Estimated Prophet" from Terrapin Station for a friend of mine who was unfamiliar with the Dead and he becase an instant convert!

Having said all that, a different approach would be to download some of the stuff that's free and legally available from the huge number of taped shows. There are lots of place on the net where these downloads can be found. So if you downloaded a really good live version of "Help On The Way/Slipknot" and you really liked it, then you could purchase the studio version (the sound quality of which is great). However, you would need to keep in mind that the Dead were not highly consistent in the quality of their live playing. Still, there is a lot of really nice stuff out there.

One place you probably would not want to start out at is any of the first three albums. As an introduction, they might be just a little bit strange!
Senior Member
Username: bassman10096

Post Number: 746
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 6:51 pm:   Edit Post

With the exception of a couple of jam tunes, the multidisc Europe '72 offers a good feel for many of the Dead's classic songs. High points there would be Tennesee Jed, Jack Straw, Brown Eyed Woman, Sugar Magnolia and He's Gone (to name only a few). If you like E'72, then Steppin' Out (recorded on the same European tour) is good and the '71 live The Grateful Dead (Has a skull with roses on its cover) are both great.

I find the Dead's studio albums less accessible to get hold of the way the Dead actually performed than the live ones. I'd probably start with American Beauty or Workingman's Dead for the studio, but that's me. I like all the records Dave mentioned.

Another way to get a glimpse of each album (though a limited one) is to check out under Grateful Dead and listen to selections from the albums themselves. I just tried that and in most cases, you can get at least an impression of the music.

By the way, I also would not recommend the first three albums to get your feet wet.

Username: edwin

Post Number: 74
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 7:58 pm:   Edit Post

Are you kidding? Anthem of the Sun and Aoxomoxoa are what got me hooked! :-) Actually, the first album I discovered was Europe '72 and that inspired me to look further. Of course, I was 12 and it was 1973, so there wasn't a lot to choose from and I would have to wait a few years for my folks to let me go to the shows. Back in those days, the production didn't seem as crude as there wasn't the slick 80s and 90s recordings to which to make a comparison

All that said, I would second Europe '72 and Blues For Allah. It's also worth checking out The Grateful Dead Movie. Not a whole lot more cost than a CD and it gives a great view into what the scene was like. The interviews and extras are great as well. Plus, there are some great shots of a great Alembic bass!

If you decide you like what you hear, do check out the Dicks Pick series. Some great stuff in there.

PS Aoxomoxoa (especially the original mix) and Anthem are still at the top of the list for me! I really like the more experimental stuff. Perhaps growing up with a lot of modern classical music around the house influenced my tastes to be a little out of the ordinary.

PPS Live/Dead also is a quintessential album.
Senior Member
Username: bassman10096

Post Number: 747
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 - 9:04 pm:   Edit Post

For those less accustomed to modern classical and some other more adventurous styles, Aoxomoxoa (I don't think I've ever attempted to type that!) and Anthem are probably more likely to be an acquired taste, better appreciated with the aid of background in other Dead music. At least they were for me and I've heard others say the same. While they are not my favorites as albums, I do like them and I love hearing the Dead and others perform that music. Once I got beyond the packaging, the music is equally exceptional to any other era of the Dead and seems to me to live in its own special niche.

I second the Dick's Picks recommendation. Lots of good live shows from all eras with at least listenable (more often much better) production by the Dead's official(?) archiver.

Hey Pablo: There are lots of good places to dive into the Dead. Pick a few to try and see how you like it. Enjoy!!

Senior Member
Username: the_mule

Post Number: 520
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 1:06 am:   Edit Post

All excellent suggestions, but may I suggest a DVD that will give you the music (songs and jams) and also provide great insight into the wonderful world of the Grateful Dead and the Deadheads? 'The Grateful Dead Movie' and a few steps behind it 'The Closing of Winterland' are highly recommended to everyone who wants to know what all the fuss is about. Either you'll love it and you'll be a Deadhead forever, or you discover that the Dead isn't your cup of tea...

Advanced Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 249
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 4:48 am:   Edit Post

One album I have is 'The very best of the Grateful Dead' available from tower records... It gives a good cross section of the bands playing across their whole career and tells which album each track comes from so you can decide for yourself which era / style you like most. It's also a useful cd to have for the car if you're only allowed one Dead album on a journey ;-)

Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 531
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 7:16 am:   Edit Post


There is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert, but LIVE DEAD comes the closest. (As a bonus, IIRC it was recorded by Alembic!).

Bill, tgo
Username: yggdrasil

Post Number: 50
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 8:21 am:   Edit Post

Well, I was never a Deadhead, but I did buy each album as it came out, starting with the first one, which I owned in mono in those days :-).
Only saw them once, around 1970 or so at a festival; my exposure isn't coloured by "the scene".

Best entry point would be based on where your tastes lie now, IMHO.

If you're coming from head music - Frank Zappa, Edgar Varese,or JA's After Bathing at Baxters I'd say Anthem, with Aoxomoxoa a close second. For a live album - Live/Dead.

If you're coming from singer/songwriter land, I'd say American Beauty, with Workingman's a second.

If you're coming from bluegrass/new country, Wake of the Flood.

If from jazz- Blues For Allah.

Username: davehouck

Post Number: 2077
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 - 3:18 pm:   Edit Post

And for a completely different entry point. Pick up any of the Jazz Is Dead albums. All three are amazing; and their interpretations can give an illuminating perspective on what the Dead were doing.
Username: palmann

Post Number: 7
Registered: 6-2005
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 5:01 am:   Edit Post

Thanks for your suggestions, I knew it would't get easier. ;o) But now I've got some orientation and that's what I needed.

Gruesse, Pablo
Senior Member
Username: kmh364

Post Number: 904
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2005 - 6:47 am:   Edit Post

"Terrapin Station" did it for me. Of course it, was '77, and a little smoke was involved, LOL! Then I graduated to "Europe '72", "Live Dead", et al. It's all good, but I prefer the live stuff.

Pablo: Have fun exploring...40+ years of the Dead has left a large musical legacy. The "Dick's Picks" series of concert recordings is outstanding as well.


Intermediate Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 165
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Monday, July 25, 2005 - 4:56 pm:   Edit Post

I saw this thread a few days ago, and it got me thinking..... there's a lot of excellent suggestions, but not all of them have Phil's Osage Orange or Godfather on them...... If you want to hear Phil's Alembic on a pristine live recording, I'd have to first recommend "One From the Vault"
Senior Member
Username: kmh364

Post Number: 905
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - 7:40 am:   Edit Post

As an aside, there's a real nice 40 pg. special feature on the Dead and Jerry on the tenth anniversary of his passing in the new issue of Relix magazine.

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