Various Artists

Furthur Most

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For anyone getting to the party late, "Furthur" (misspelling intentional) was the destination listed on the school bus that those '60s scenesters the Merry Pranksters took across the U.S. back in the days of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The Grateful Dead were a part of that scene, of course, and when in the year after Dead leader Jerry Garcia's death (1996) the remnants of the band and various others began mounting summer tours together, they dubbed them "the Furthur Festival." Hybrid, a division of Metropolitan Entertainment, the booking agency that handled the tours, issued Furthur, a sampler containing tracks by the participants. Furthur More followed in 1997, and here we have Furthur Most, marking the 2000 tour featuring the Other Ones (a band of former Dead members and associates) and Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers.

The album contains two live performances by the 1998 edition of the Other Ones (a slightly different lineup from the one that toured in 2000), the Dead favorite "Ramble on Rose" and a new original, "Easy Answers." Bruce Hornsby, who guested with the Dead and became a member of the Other Ones, is featured on a live performance of the Dead song "Loser." And Jazz Is Dead, a jazz group specializing in Dead covers and featuring bassist Alphonso Johnson (who became a member of the Other Ones in 2000), plays a medley of the Dead song "Eyes of the World" with Johnson's "Two Sisters" from the Jazz Is Dead album Laughing Water. All of this music, naturally, is reminiscent of the Grateful Dead, though much of it sounds like a Grateful Dead clone band instead of the real thing. Nevertheless, especially in the lengthy "Loser" and "Easy Answers," there is much of the Dead's improvisational feel. Ziggy Marley is represented by "Beautiful Day," a folk-rock song from his album The Spirit of Music, and a live version of his father Bob Marley's "Natural Mystic."

The missing element may seem to be Jerry Garcia, and that's why the album closes with a track from a newly discovered 1973 album by Paul Pena on which Garcia guests on pedal steel guitar. Since Garcia's death, Deadheads have had to subsist on the kind of leftovers represented by this album, but that isn't to say there aren't some enjoyable performances.

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