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Grateful Dead

Song Review by Matthew Greenwald

If there is one singular recording that defines the Grateful Dead's musicality and experience, this is it. Opening up the seminal Live Dead album, this track -- clocking in at over 20 minutes -- creates a sense of psychedelic atmosphere that was the band's trademark. Free-form jazz, folk, country, rock, and blues all melt together in one cohesive whole here. Obviously, the core of the melody is defined by Jerry Garcia's electric guitar and Phil Lesh's bass, however, it is the band's ensemble looseness that creates the feeling, and it is both subtle and striking. There are lyrics as well, and Robert Hunter's free-form acid-prose reflects the music perfectly like another instrument. Difficult to describe but certainly easy to listen to, it captures the band's appeal in, believe it or not, one composition. If readers are curious to the band's overall legacy and phenomenon, this song is an absolute must.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Zabriskie Point [Original Soundtrack] 1970
Original Soundtrack
Rhino 2:30
What a Long Strange Trip It's Been: The Best of the Grateful Dead 1977 Warner Bros. 2:41
Grateful Dead Documentary 2001 Grateful Dead 3:31
The Dreamers 2004
Original Soundtrack
Nettwerk America / Nettwerk 9:02
The Best of the Grateful Dead 2015 GC / Grateful Dead / Rhino 2:42
Long Strange Trip: The Untold Story of the Grateful Dead [Motion Picture Soundtrack] 2017 Rhino 23:51
Smiling on a Cloudy Day 2017 Grateful Dead / Rhino
Grateful Dead, Celebrating Jerry Garcia & the Days Between [Live] 2017 Grateful Dead / Rhino
Long Strange Trip: The Untold Story of the Grateful Dead [Motion Picture Soundtrack Highlights] 2017 Grateful Dead / Rhino
Woodstock: Back to the Garden 2019
Various Artists
Rhino 19:18
Complete Studio Rarities Collection Grateful Dead / Rhino 2:43
Starship: Psychedelic Compilation
Various Artists