American Beauty

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Fred Thomas
With 1970's Workingman's Dead, the Grateful Dead went through an overnight metamorphosis, turning abruptly from tripped-out free-form rock toward sublime acoustic folk and Americana. Taking notes on vocal harmonies from friends Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Dead used the softer statements of their fourth studio album as a subtle but moving reflection on the turmoil, heaviness, and hope America's youth was facing as the idealistic '60s ended. American Beauty was recorded just a few months after its predecessor, both expanding and improving on the bluegrass, folk, and psychedelic country explorations of Workingman's Dead with some of the band's most brilliant ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Fred Thomas
With 1970's Workingman's Dead, the Grateful Dead went through an overnight metamorphosis, turning abruptly from tripped-out free-form rock toward sublime acoustic folk and Americana. Taking notes on vocal harmonies from friends Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Dead used the softer statements of their fourth studio album as a subtle but moving reflection on the turmoil, heaviness, and hope America's youth was facing as the idealistic '60s ended. American Beauty was recorded just a few months after its predecessor, both expanding and improving on the bluegrass, folk, and psychedelic country explorations of Workingman's Dead with some of the band's most brilliant compositions. The songs here have a noticeably more relaxed and joyous feel. Having dived headfirst into this new sound with the previous album, the bandmembers found the summit of their collaborative powers here, with lyricist Robert Hunter penning some of his most poetic work, Jerry Garcia focusing more on gliding pedal steel than his regular electric lead guitar work, and standout lead vocal performances coming from Bob Weir (on the anthem to hippie love "Sugar Magnolia"), Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (on the husky blues of "Operator"), and Phil Lesh (on the near-perfect opening tune, "Box of Rain"). This album also marked the beginning of what would become a long musical friendship between Garcia and Dave Grisman, whose mandolin playing adds depth and flavor to tracks like the outlaw country-folk of "Friend of the Devil" and the gorgeously devotional "Ripple." American Beauty eventually spawned the band's highest charting single -- "Truckin'," the greasy blues-rock tribute to nomadic counterculture -- but it also contained some of their most spiritual and open-hearted sentiments ever, their newfound love of intricate vocal arrangements finding pristine expression on the lamenting "Brokedown Palace" and the heavenly nostalgia and gratitude of "Attics of My Life." While the Dead eventually amassed a following so devoted that following the band from city to city became the center of many people's lives, the majority of the band's magic came in the boundless heights it reached in its live sets but rarely managed to capture in the studio setting. American Beauty is a categorical exception to this, offering a look at the Dead transcending even their own exploratory heights and making some of their most powerful music by examining their most gentle and restrained impulses. It's easily the masterwork of their studio output, and a strong contender for the best music the band ever made, even including the countless hours of live shows captured on tape in the decades that followed.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/25/1990
  • Label: Warner Bros Uk
  • UPC: 075992719025
  • Catalog Number: 927190
  • Sales rank: 34,134

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Box of Rain (5:19)
  2. 2 Friend Of The Devil (3:24)
  3. 3 Sugar Magnolia (3:19)
  4. 4 Operator (2:25)
  5. 5 Candyman (6:13)
  6. 6 Ripple (4:09)
  7. 7 Brokedown Palace (4:09)
  8. 8 Till the Morning Comes (3:09)
  9. 9 Attics of My Life (5:14)
  10. 10 Truckin' (5:05)
  11. 11 Truckin'
  12. 12 Friend of the Devil
  13. 13 Candyman
  14. 14 Till the Morning Comes
  15. 15 Attics of My Life
  16. 16 Truckin'
  17. 17 Ripple
  18. 18 American Beauty Radio Spot
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Grateful Dead Primary Artist
Mickey Hart Percussion, Drums
Jerry Garcia Guitar, Piano, Pedal Steel Guitar, Steel Guitar, Vocals
Bob Weir Guitar, Vocals
Ned Lagin Piano, Keyboards
Howard Wales Organ, Piano, Keyboards
David Grisman Mandolin
Bill Kreutzmann Drums
Phil Lesh Bass, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan Harmonica, Keyboards, Vocals
David Nelson Electric Guitar
Dave Torbert Bass
Dave Nelson & the King's Men Electric Guitar
Dave Torbet Bass
Dave Nelson Electric Guitar
Technical Credits
Mickey Hart Engineer, Sound Design
Jerry Garcia Composer
Grateful Dead Producer, Audio Production
New Riders of the Purple Sage Contributor
Bob Weir Composer
Robert Hunter Songwriter, Composer
Greg Allen Reissue Design
Stephen Barncard Producer
John Dawson Composer
Tom Flye Engineer
David Gans Liner Notes
Steve Hall Mastering, Stereo Master
Phil Lesh Composer
David McLees Executive Producer
David Nelson Contributor
Jeffrey Norman Engineer
Rachel Gutek Reissue Design
Dave Collins Pre-Mastering Assistant
Daniel Goldmark Editorial Research
Rudson Shurtliff Engineer
Robin Hurley Producer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The title says it all

    One of the most underappreciated albums in American music history. It's amazing how little credit this band got as songwriters, all anyone seems to care about is how much drugs they used. Just on this one album you have ''Friend of the Devil'', ''Truckin''', ''Sugar Magnolia'', and ''Box of Rain''. And of course, ''Ripple'', one of the loveliest tunes ever strummed on guitar. Maybe somewhere down the line the Dead will get their due, we'll see.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews