"The Dead always had the reputation of sounding much better live than in the studio. While I can't say that that reputation was completely undeserved, I can say that this album (and its predecessor, Anthem of the Sun) have some real pleasures that you don't have to be high or tripping to enjoy (I've never done drugs, and I've liked this album since I bought it). The most famous track, "China Cat Sunflower," is even catchier on record than in concert. The other future-Dead-show-standard, "St. Stephen," is a bit ponderous, but has some great CSN-ish harmonies that predict the (very successful) immediate future direction of the group. The same can be said for the folky ballads "Mountains of the Moon" and "Dupree's Diamond Blues," and for two other songs that *should* have become concert standards--"Doin' That Rag" and the gorgeous "Cosmic Charlie." My favorite tracks, however, go off in directions to which the Dead never returned--the surrealistic magnum opus "What's Become of the Baby" and the shorter, more poignant "Rosemary," neither of which the band ever performed in concert to my knowledge. Absolutely compelling, these tracks (allegedly made under the influence of laughing gas and with free hands on the mixing console) are not quite like anything else you will ever hear."
The Dead at their finest in the studio!
sean | Cincinnati, OH USA | 01/30/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Aoxomoxoa is the best Dead studio album. Period. Imagine the California folk-rock scene if you will...add to it a taste of psychedelia and a dash of experimentation and you get this wonderfully crafted Grateful Dead album. There is no doubt the Dead were at their finest when live, but this studio album shows what the band is capable of when they really sit down and work. The problem with many of the Dead's studio attempts was their lack of focus, but this album is a diamond in the ruff. Often overlooked and under appreciated, it's a Dead classic to be reckoned with. Grab your lava lamp and your incense...your in for a trippy ride into the world of the Dead!!!"
The original was superior...
Uranium | East Coast, USA | 02/10/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The 1969 version, not yet released on CD, was much better. While some songs sounded almost exactly the same, most sounded more raw, a plus in my book. The 1971 remix (the one you hear on the CD and most vinyl copies) effectively sterilized the sound. "What About the Baby" lost all of the screaming and pots&pans acid sound effects that actually made it cool. If you can get a copy of the 1969 vinyl [ W7(WS1790) -not- WB(1790) ], you owe it to yourself to compare.There is a market for the '69 version on CD. At least I would buy one."
My fav of the early Dead studio albums
wednightprayermeeting | Bellview, CA | 11/08/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Man, this album is nutty. "What Becomes Of The Baby" scares me. "Mountains Of The Moon" is wicked. Being a huge blues fan, my favorites are "Dupree's Diamond Blues," and my very fav Dead tune, "Cosmic Charlie." "Cosmic Chuck" is an incredible end to an incredible album."