"The vocals are disjointed, the levels are off, and the songs are generally way too fast. But it doesn't matter, and you won't care! This is the most raw Grateful Dead you will ever hear. Golden Road is a jolly good time, Minglewood and Beat it on Down the Line have got the fury, and Morning Dew and Viola Lee are the Dead we all know and love."
Captured Fun for Playback
Eliphas Levi | Baton Rouge, LA USA | 05/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I came to the Grateful Dead because--well, because of who they are, long before . . . very long before I actually was sober and straight-headed enough to contemplate their music. By and large I'm a Jerry fan and his signature guitar-work transporting (lazy hazy summer days in a lawn chair with a beer under a tree listening the Grateful Dead . . . camping . . . it's all good!). This album is grossly underrated because it really does underscore their popular genius despite their youthful musical limitations. The songs on this album capture the organ-tinged psychedelia of the Height-Ashbury scene, but do not totter into overly-indulgent "jams" that turn many listeners off (only one song does, and its a pretty good listen anyhow). Here, too, we get a strong sense of the Dead's blues roots, and why they let Weir sing. Early on, at least, Weir's youthful voice can actually carry a tune! The album is a good, head-nodding groove and rivals most of the studio albums that have been released to date. While the production and engineering is not top notch for its day, it really does highlight their talents. A must for any serious music collecter for its historical AND musical signficance. Ultimately, however, the reason why this album deserves high praise is because it manages to capture a sense of "fun." One of the best recordings of "fun" this century."
Good Honest Debut
Scott McFarland | Manassas, VA United States | 08/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I don't agree with any assessment of this album as "rushed". It sounds to me like a solid debut album, up there with the Beatles and Buffalo Springfield and whoever else you care to mention, that prefigures the band's sound and approach for many years to come (a diverse, confident mix of blues, folk, and rock).To those who complain that the tracks are too short to get "psychedelic", I point to the closing 10-minute version of "Viola Lee Blues" which is pretty trippy. Including the clever little trick that Jerry does which makes it seem as if the LP is stuck. On that track, as well as "Cold Rain and Snow", "Cream Puff War", and "Morning Dew", each sung by Garcia, Jerry comes across as by far the most interesting band member. But Pigpen and Weir each make reasonable contributions (singing covers).It's "of it's time" and it holds together reasonably well. About half of it's brilliant, and that's a pretty good ratio."
RAISED IN A LIONS DEN.
firstname.lastname@example.org | CALI | 04/05/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I noticed many of the people reviewing this album got it mixed up with "Grateful Dead", which is a completely different album. "THE Grateful Dead" was the Dead's debut and is a damn good offering. Not really as psychedelic as some people describe it. You can be completely sober and enjoy this. Lots of upbeat tunes that are really well written. The sound quality is what you'd expect from a 1967 debut but it adds to the charm in a way. I'm not a deadhead but I really like this album. Try it out."
Solid Studio Album
email@example.com | 12/11/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album is the first commercial release by the Dead in 1966, was release by Warner Brothers at the time. The opening songs, "The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)", first verse starts off with "Everbody's dancin' in a ring around the sun, nobodys finished we ain't even begun..." seems prophetic in that the Dead were around for almost another 30 years and 2000 plus concerts. Beat it on down the line is fun to listen to and then Pigpen does "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" which is also alot of fun. I especially like "Cream puff War", "Morning Dew" (always) and the "Viola Lee Blues" at the end is fantastic, although I have heard better on bootlegs. Bill Kreutzman is on this album as the only drummer and is referred to as Bill the Drummer. This is because there was a warrant for his arrest in Texas at that time."