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Garcia's 1972 debut was truly a labor of love for the Grateful Dead guitarist, an album on which he plays every instrument except drums--he leaves the traps to his Dead compatriot Bill Kreutzmann. Six wonderful Garcia orig... more »
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Garcia's 1972 debut was truly a labor of love for the Grateful Dead guitarist, an album on which he plays every instrument except drums--he leaves the traps to his Dead compatriot Bill Kreutzmann. Six wonderful Garcia originals (cowritten with lyricist Robert Hunter) appear on record for the first time, all of which would become staples of the Dead's repertoire. Garcia mixes in a few creepy sonic experiments for good measure, but the album truly revolves around particularly satisfying readings--especially vocally--of some of his most enduring songs. --Marc Greilsamer
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The garcia/hunter vision before the fall...
R. Hutchinson | a world ruled by fossil fuels and fossil minds | 01/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album contains several classics of underground radio ("The Wheel," "Sugaree," "Deal") but I wonder how many people have ever heard the whole thing? It belongs right next to the Grateful Dead's turn to folk/blues on "Workingman's Dead" and "American Beauty," as well as "Europe '72," which contains several great Garcia/Hunter songs from the same period never recorded in the studio (much to Robert Hunter's regret). In addition to the 3 mentioned already, "Garcia" contains "Bird Song," "Loser," and "To Lay Me Down," 6 of the best songs Garcia and Hunter ever wrote! But the album is more than just a collection of great songs, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. After the first side's conventional bluesy songs (with the exception of "Bird Song," which is haunting and bittersweet), the second side gets DEEP. "Late for Supper" is the ominous opening of some sort of bad trip. "Spidergawd" features the recorded voices of newscasters talking about real-life apocalyptic events related to the potential for nuclear war... "EEP Hour" is a strange and beautiful instrumental number, which leads into the sad and nearly terminal "To Lay Me Down," a memory of lost love. I believe this song offers as clear a glimpse into Garcia's troubled soul as any he ever recorded, though the feelings are universal. Finally, "An Odd Little Place" represents a turnabout, back toward the light. And then, with a bang, comes "The Wheel," redemption through grace! (The lyric reads "Big wheel turn by the grace of God," which of course is from Isaiah.) The song is powerful and euphoric enough on its own, but only by listening to it at the end of this album do you realize its full implication. 1972 was the last year of the 1960s. Garcia and the Dead, of course kept on truckin' for many years, but they could not totally defy the shift in the times. This album is one of the last transmissions from that utopian moment, the counterculture dream, filled with the recognition that it was passing..."
Jerry's first solo work is fantastic
Paul A. Scofield | Paris, France | 01/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like Aoxomoxa, Jerry spent a great deal of time on this album as well. And like that work, this is equally psychedelic. Jerry played all instruments on this album (excluding drums), and I find his singing to be inspired, as well as the entire production (eg. guitars and piano). Excluding an early studio version of "space" (essentially) which is wonderfully psychedelic if in an errie sort of way, I find Birdsong and To Lay Me Down to be the true highlights. The enigmatic lyrics for these two songs in particular, it seems, are what attract so many to the Dead. Finally, if you're familiar with Jerry's other solo work, don't expect this to resemble them. Although released in 1972, this album recalls the work that Jerry produced with the Dead in the late '60s and early '70s, before the 'turn' announced by Compliments and Mars Hotel (yet it does resemble Wake of the Flood ('73) in tone). Enjoy."
Still In Print
scoop25 | Ridgefield, CT United States | 02/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Contrary to Amazon's inaccurate posted information, this album is still in print and can be found at the Grateful Dead store at gdstore.com."