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Aoxomoxoa
     

Aoxomoxoa

by Grateful Dead
 

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While it's often been said that this legendary band had difficulty taking its "X-factor" genius from the stage to the studio, this album proves the Dead could indeed produce in any setting. Peppered with several tunes -- including the breezy "China Cat Sunflower" and the ominous "St. Stephen" -- that would become enduring concert staples for See more details below

Overview

While it's often been said that this legendary band had difficulty taking its "X-factor" genius from the stage to the studio, this album proves the Dead could indeed produce in any setting. Peppered with several tunes -- including the breezy "China Cat Sunflower" and the ominous "St. Stephen" -- that would become enduring concert staples for Jerry Garcia and company, the palindromic disc ranks with the Dead's finest moments. Aoxomoxoa strikes a nice balance between the band's jug-band roots -- clearly in evidence on shuffles like "Doin' That Rag" -- and the headier sonic explorations that would come, notably the hypnotic "What's Become of the Baby." Oddly, that latter song, like the poignant "Rosemary," never turned up in a single live performance, but that doesn't negate the offbeat appeal of both. Also notable for the full integration of nonperforming lyricist Robert Hunter, Aoxomoxoa provides both a vivid snapshot of a young band finding its place and a clear sense that great things lay just over the horizon.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Lindsay Planer
The Grateful Dead's third studio effort was also the first that the band did without any Warner Bros. staff producers or engineers hampering their creative lifestyle and subsequent processes. As they had done with their previous release, Anthem of the Sun, the Dead were actively seeking new forays and pushing envelopes on several fronts simultaneously during Aoxomoxoa (1968) -- which was created under the working title of "Earthquake Country." This was no doubt bolstered by the serendipitous technological revolution which essentially allowed the Dead to re-record the entire contents when given free reign at the appropriately named Pacific High Recording facility. As fate would have it, they gained virtually unlimited access to the newly acquired Ampex MM-1000 -- the very first 16-track tape machines ever produced -- which was absolutely state of the art in late 1968. The band was also experiencing new directions artistically. This was primarily the net result of the budding relationship between primary (by default) melodic contributor Jerry Garcia (guitar/vocals) and Robert Hunter (lyrics), who began his nearly 30-year association with the Grateful Dead in earnest during these sessions. When the LP hit the racks in the early summer of 1969, Deadheads were greeted by some of the freshest and most innovative sounds to develop from the thriving Bay Area music scene. The disc includes seminal psychedelic rockers such as "St. Stephen," "China Cat Sunflower," and "Cosmic Charlie," as well as hints of the acoustic direction their music would take on the Baroque-influenced "Mountains of the Moon" and "Rosemary." The folky "Dupree's Diamond Blues" -- which itself was loosely based on the traditional "Betty & Dupree" -- would likewise foreshadow the sound of their next two studio long-players, Workingman's Dead (1969) and American Beauty (1970). The too-trippy-for-its-own-good "What's Become of the Baby" is buried beneath layers of over-indulgence. This is unfortunate, as Hunter's surreal lyrics and Garcia's understated vocals languish beneath the soupy sonics. In 1972, Aoxomoxoa was overhauled, and the original mix -- which includes several significant differences such as an a cappella vocal tag at the tail end of "Doin' That Rag" -- has yet to be reissued in any form. When the title was reworked for inclusion in the Golden Road (1965-1973) (2001) box set, three previously unreleased and incomplete studio instrumental jams -- respectively titled "Clementine Jam," "Nobody's Spoonful Jam," and "The Eleven Jam" -- as well as a live rendering of "Cosmic Charlie" from a January 1969 performance were added as "bonus material(s)."

Product Details

Release Date:
10/25/1990
Label:
Warner Bros Uk
UPC:
0075992717823
catalogNumber:
927178
Rank:
38250

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Grateful Dead   Primary Artist
Mickey Hart   Percussion,Drums
Jerry Garcia   Guitar,Vocals
Bob Weir   Guitar,Vocals
Tom Constanten   Keyboards
Bill Kreutzmann   Percussion,Drums
Phil Lesh   Bass,Vocals
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan   Keyboards,Vocals,Organ,Conga

Technical Credits

Jerry Garcia   Composer
Grateful Dead   Arranger
Robert Hunter   Composer
Peter Grant   Contributor
Bob Matthews   Engineer,Remixing
David Nelson   Contributor
Dave Collins   Pre-Mastering Assistant
Betty Cantor   Engineer,Remixing

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