Sundown on the Forest

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Who's in a name? When it's Kingfish it could contain practically any configuration or variation of what began as a Grateful Dead spin-off band during the mid-'70s, which had been co-founded by Bob Weir (guitar/vocals). Although he left the group before they recorded their second studio LP, Trident (1978), Weir returned periodically for guest shots and live shows. As such, Sundown on the Forest (2000) includes a few of his overdubbed vocals and guitar parts. Although boldly credited on the cover as "also present," Jerry Garcia (guitar) was in reality absent, having passed away half a decade prior to the release of this disc. His efforts are included on a retread of "Ridin' High." The track, which initially appeared on Matthew Kelly's Wing and a Prayer (1987) solo release, is remixed and copiously overdubbed for inclusion here. Garcia's fretwork had been recorded in 1973, and the remainder was reconfigured around it. As one might imagine, the results are decidedly mixed. The remainder of the disc fairs about the same. This could be due to the variety of personnel featured on each track. With the exception of Weir and Kelly, none of the other founding members make an appearance, although the mid-'80s incarnation of the band is featured sporadically. Among the more noteworthy participants are Barry Flast (vocals), Barry Sless (guitar), and Anna Rizzo (vocals). For the most part the cuts are primarily up-tempo rockers, with the exception of "Ridin' High," "Tennessee Blues," and "Every Little Light." One of the highlights is the cover of Bob Dylan's "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry," which is given a honky tonk reading fitting the lyrical content perhaps better than many of the more prominent versions. Deadhead completists may want to check Sundown on the Forest out.

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