Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Dick's Picks, Vol. 11: Stanley Theatre, Jersey City, NJ, 9/27/72
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
Out on the road without Pigpen, their original spiritual leader who was well on his way to death by drink, the Dead moved into a new phase in the fall of 1972. Piano player Keith Godcheaux gave them a more melodic, grounde... more »
Out on the road without Pigpen, their original spiritual leader who was well on his way to death by drink, the Dead moved into a new phase in the fall of 1972. Piano player Keith Godcheaux gave them a more melodic, grounded sound, which was especially beneficial on the newer Amerciana-type material they'd unveil, but also gave them a jazzier feel on their freer explorations as well. This tight New Jersey concert treads similar ground to the Europe '72 collection (minus the Pigpen tunes), an "official" album that had been recorded earlier that year but hadn't yet been released. A few oddities distinguish this show. The dramatic ballad "Morning Dew," usually a second-set climax, starts the proceedings here, followed soon after by an electric reading of "Friend of the Devil" that's taken at the faster "acoustic" pace. What's more, they open the second set with "He's Gone," another particularly mellow set opener. There are also a number of tunes from the solo albums released earlier that year (a ripping "Deal" and a probing "Bird Song" from Garcia, plus more than half of the songs on Bob Weir's Ace, which was really a Dead album anyway). The second set in particular offers a number of highlights, peaking in the last hour with a snaking, sparkling, ebbing-and-flowing 30-minute "Dark Star," which magically morphs into an explosive "Cumberland Blues." They then move through a pretty, poignant "Attics of My Life," and end with a pair of roaring Chuck Berry tunes sandwiching a pair of beloved Dead classics, including a steamrolling "Casey Jones." A worthy alternative to Europe '72 and even stronger at times. --Marc Greilsamer
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One of the better picks (9/27/72)
Pharoah S. Wail | Inner Space | 11/19/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I wouldn't say this is the best Dick's Pick (or even the best show from September of 1972) but it's definitely one of the main picks worth owning. Why? The Dark Star mainly. This is one of the best Dark Star's in the entire Dick's Picks series.The Playing In The Band, while nice enough, isn't really a mind-blower. The one on Dick's Pick 23 (from 9/17/72) blows this one away... utterly destroys it.The China Cat > Rider is a pretty hot one and Phil's bass sounds thick (as it should) throughout this release.Whether or not you'll like this pick all just depends on what you want from your Grateful Dead. All the little filler tunes are played well enough here so I doubt those will bother anyone. What really matters though is that at least one of the heavy jam tunes (Dark Star) is played for all it's worth. Sure it would have been nice if the Playing In The Band were also a monster but the Dark Star is enough to earn the 4 stars all by itself."
Excellent example of '72 Dead
Wileytown | Morristown, TN United States | 02/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It seems like the majority of heads out there pick '73 and '74 to be the prime pre-hiatus years, but I'm a '72 man, myself. What you have here is "Good Ole' Grateful Dead". Material from the Workingman's/American Beauty albums, Garcia's and Weir's solo records, and the fine new tunes that would end up on Europe '72. But its not just the material. The '72 sound was uniquely explosive. Country yet cosmic, like a dragon with a Stetson hat, eating habanero cornbread. You won't find that imagery and sound in '73 or '74 (which are more jazzy and mellow).Some of my more selective buddies felt that Dick should have picked another example from this period (aka Veneta or Holfheinz to name just a few), but I think there is nothing to complain about here. It's pretty marquee stuff from a pair of quinessential '72 sets.I have always thought that the best way to blow a Morning Dew is to open a show with it. Unfortunately, this is the case here. It's naked, awkward and never gains the momentum a Dew is able to muster in the weaning moments of the final set. However, things get rolling nicely with the standards that follow. Cowboy Dead all the way with a surprising (even at the time) Brokedown Palace in the middle of the first set!The steaks are thrown on the grill for the 2nd set. The China/Rider is typically strong and fun. Then comes Playing in the Band.....Now, some folks are gonna tell ya that Playing really broke loose in '73 and especially '74. It's true, Playing stretched out all over the place later on, filling up whole sides of tapes and degenerating into burps and banshee noises. But to me, '72 was my favorite era for the tune. Playing in the Band was still a song at this time, meaning that when the boy's were jamming, they intended to go somewhere with it. And man, the jamming would be intensely beautiful on these versions. This one is no exception!If your only familiar with the later treatments of Greatest Story...wait til ya here this 'un! Typical of the year, Greatest has an expanded, climatic jam that sounds familar to St. Stephen. Awesome!Dark Star was brought to its greatest level in '72. This one's a beaut too! Multi-dimensional, soft, sweet, loud and scary, sweet again, more sweet still.......how do you explain the unexplainable? THEN WHAT HAPPEN'S? Cumberland Blues! Well ye haw! Great landing and fabulous cherry-pickin' through and through. Then a beautiful and rare (yes, even in '72) Attics of My Life. Yeah, the vocals ain't got nothing on CSN but you got to give the boy's credit for having the balls to do it. Very special!Then the treats keep coming with an Uncle John's Band and a Casey Jones highlighting a four song conclusion.Phew! It wears me out just talking about it. Now do you really think that you can do without this show? I'm going to go listen to it right now!"
Nothing Left To Do But Smile, Smile, Smile.
My Uncle Stu | Boston | 12/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My musical tastes continue to expand and broaden. I constantly search for new music, new genres, new approaches. But, then, there is my Comfort Music. Like a bowl of matzo ball soup when I've got a cold, there are some things that will always need to be there for me. The Grateful Dead is my Comfort Music, mother's milk for my ears (if that isn't too disturbing of an analogy).
When I'm on call, lying in the call room trying to get to sleep, I have the sounds of the cardiac ICU, with all the bells and beeps, in the not so distant background. I have my pagers lying next to me, and the constant fear that comes with them, the knowledge that they can go off at any second and ruin my night. And ruin my next day. A rough call can throw me off for several days actually, and it is difficult to describe the angst that goes along with that, even on a quiet night.
But there's always Jerry and the rest of the boys. Putting on a bootleg and letting myself get lost in a good spacey jam is the perfect antidote. I can clear my mind and try to follow nothing but the music.
I'm not a snob about sound quality. Better quality beats bad quality, but short of that I don't worry about it too much. I have plenty of distant generation bootleg tapes complete with hisses, clicks, static, and feedback (not too mention Donna's wailing). But, like listening to the snaps and pops of an old Bessie Smith blues recording, sometimes the poor sound quality can become part of the musical ambience. Don't try to listen around it, just listen through and within it.
The Dick's Picks series has been great for me. I don't have time anymore to trade tapes or to figure out all this online MP3 stuff. Dick had a good ear for shows, and I'm always happy to put on a Dick's Pick, listen to that first wall of crowd noise as the band tunes up, and get that contact tingle. I may change from day to day but volume 11 always stays at the top of my list. 1972 was a great period for the Dead, musically at least if not personally, with the sound moving into a jazzier direction. The show opens with Morning Dew, which already tells you that something special is going to happen. There's a Mexicali Blues, Tennessee Jed, Bird Song, and strong Friend of the Devil as well, all good solid Set One tunes. CD 2 has a great China > Rider, Playing in the Band, and He's Gone, back when Jerry could still sing "nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile" in one breath. The Dark Star on CD 3 is magical, into a Cumberland Blues. We also get a Casey Jones, and Uncle John's Band. There's a nice Attics as well (a special song for me, I was at the Shoreline show when they revived Attics in the Vince era).
Reading other reviews just goes to show how subjective this stuff is. It could have to do with where I was and what I was doing, what the music initially did for me when I first heard, but for me, Dick's Picks 11, 10, 3, 8, 12 are my favorites, and I haven't even heard any since the mid-twenties. But I enjoy them all, good, bad, or mediocre, full shows or composites, just let me close my eyes and lose myself in the hum of the crowd.
Nothing left to do...