Don't be fooled by first impressions
James W. Kovic | Norwich, CT United States | 11/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a die-hard deadhead. I'm absolutely addicted to their music, so much that I seldom tire of listening to their music again and again. With that said I thought "Cats Under The Stars" really sucked when I first heard it. But, then again, that was the case with Jerry's other solo, "Reflections" and "Shakedown Street" as well as "In The Dark". But over the years I've learned that The Grateful Dead and all that Jerry, Bob, Phil, Micky, Billy and Donna and Brent and who the hell else there is, have produced music that is just ahead of it's time, meaning that it is an acquired taste. "Cats Under The Stars" is a very well done album but as Jerry says in the linear notes, it was never a successful album but according to him it was the best work he had ever done up to that time. So, what I suggest to you; if you don't want to put down the bread to buy it here, search for it at your local library. The library system these days is online and you can request something thats in another library. That's how I got a hold of cuts. If you're able to get a copy of it at your local library then do it, listen to the album at least 4-6 times. What you will notice is that the more time you invest listening to it the more you will grow to really like this great album. Then you might feel better purchasing the album here on Amazon.com."
Bonus Tracks Make This One A Keeper
Chris Luallen | Nashville, Tennessee | 11/24/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The album opens strong with "Rubin and Cherise". I have always liked this song. But after reading David Dodd's "Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics" I have come to appreciate it even more. Dodd explains the song's connection to Greek mythology, specifically the journey of Orpheus to the underworld to save his wife, Eurydice. I interpret it as a song about the need for trust when it comes to matters of the heart. The album's closing tune, "Gomorrah", also echos this theme, as Lot's wife is turned to salt for looking back rather than having faith.
Unfortunately, the six tracks in the middle don't maintain the same high quality typical of most Garcia/Hunter collaborations. The production is way too slick, the lyrics are bordering on cheesy and after 2 or 3 listens I found myself no longer interested.
The original LP I would only give 3 stars.But what makes it a worthwhile purchase are the bonus tracks on the CD. Jerry was fond of joining in gospel sing-alongs at the home of his bandmates Keith and Donna Godchaux. Their practice time pays off big on great versions of old religious numbers like "I'll Be With Thee" and "Mighty Here". The classic soul tune "The Way You Do The Things You Do" is also nice. But the highpoint has to be the outstanding jamming on "Don't Let Go", a song that continued to be played over the years as part of the JGB repertoire."