Postcards of the Hanging: Grateful Dead Perform the Songs of Bob Dylan

Postcards of the Hanging: Grateful Dead Perform the Songs of Bob Dylan

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by Grateful Dead
     
 

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The Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan were part of a mutual appreciation society. The Dead began covering Dylan songs in their live sets early in their career and continued until the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995. Dylan, for his part, admired the group and particularly its lead guitarist ("His playing was moody,…  See more details below

Overview

The Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan were part of a mutual appreciation society. The Dead began covering Dylan songs in their live sets early in their career and continued until the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995. Dylan, for his part, admired the group and particularly its lead guitarist ("His playing was moody, awesome, sophisticated, hypnotic and subtle," Dylan once wrote of Garcia) to such a degree that he joined the group for a landmark tour in the summer of 1987. Postcards of the Hanging captures nearly 20 years of live Dead renditions of classic Dylan songs, starting with "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" in 1973, with the San Francisco band joined by two of its southern jamming buddies, guitarist Dickey Betts and drummer Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band, and stretching to "Desolation Row" from 1990. The majority of the performances date from the '80s (by 1988 the Dead were including a Dylan song in almost every show). And the band picked wisely, sinking their teeth into the cream of Dylan's wide repertoire; highlights include impassioned takes on "All Along the Watchtower," "Just like Tom Thumb's Blues," "She Belongs to Me," and "Ballad of a Thin Man." As an added treat, two tracks with Dylan fronting the Dead from tour rehearsals in 1987 are included.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
Manfred Mann has stated that since Bob Dylan's versions of his own songs are so idiosyncratic, it is easy to approach his material from a fresh angle. Perhaps, but few bands would return to Dylan as frequently and successfully as the Byrds and the Grateful Dead. Interestingly, collections were issued from both bands in 2002, each featuring a disc full of the master's covers. Postcards of the Hanging: Grateful Dead Perform the Songs of Bob Dylan gathers 11 live cuts from the Grateful Dead over a span of 27 years, reaching back to 1973 for a version of "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" and including a 1990 version of "Desolation Row." A quick glance at the song list reveals that the Dead chose their covers carefully, sticking to jewels like "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" and "Ballad of a Thin Man." Jerry Garcia delivers soulful vocals on "She Belongs to Me" and "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry," and the band stretches both songs to pass the seven-minute mark. One of the joys, in fact, of the Dead's interpretations of Dylan is how they give a song room to breathe. Bob Weir allows "When I Paint My Masterpiece" to unwind at a leisurely pace, allowing the lyric to slowly unfurl as the band chugs along. There are also a couple of surprises. Phil Lesh offers a rare vocal on "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" and Dylan himself shows up on "Man of Peace," which is handled much better than the material issued on Dylan & the Dead. Postcards of the Hanging is a fun collection that lovingly documents the Dead's appreciation of rock's most celebrated poet.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/31/2004
Label:
Grateful Dead / Wea
UPC:
0081227894627
catalogNumber:
78946

Tracks

  1. When I Paint My Masterpiece
  2. She Belongs to Me
  3. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
  4. Maggie's Farm
  5. Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again
  6. It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry
  7. Ballad of a Thin Man
  8. Desolation Row
  9. All Along the Watchtower
  10. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
  11. Man of Peace

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Grateful Dead   Primary Artist
Mickey Hart   Drums
Dickey Betts   Guitar,Track Performer,Guest Appearance
Bob Dylan   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Jerry Garcia   Guitar,Vocals
Bob Weir   Guitar,Vocals
Keith Godchaux   Piano
Bill Kreutzmann   Drums
Phil Lesh   Bass,Vocals
Brent Mydland   Keyboards,Vocals
Butch Trucks   Drums,Track Performer

Technical Credits

John Cutler   Engineer
Geoff Gans   Art Direction
Emilie Burnham   Illustrations
Billy Candelario   Engineer
Mikal Gilmore   Liner Notes
David Lemieux   Tape Archivist

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Postcards of the Hanging: Grateful Dead Perform the Songs of Bob Dylan 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
after hearing Dylan and the Dead i was skeptical about this release. But it's fantastic! my favorite tracks are anything from Highway 61 Revisisted. It's a really great album, you can tell the band really loved Dylan's work because Garcia really gives it his all on vocals and the band plays great. What's great about the grateful dead is how flawlessly they pull off these covers, they sound like Grateful Dead originals. highly recomended for Deadheads and Dylan fans!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Here's the problem: the Dead always rock. They remain my favorite band. But who picked these versions to be representative of their best renditions? The best ''Maggie's Farm'' is when they all sing - not just Bobby and Jerry. The best ''She Belongs to Me'' is not one in which Jerry leaves out the ''egyptian ring'' verse, only says the last lyric once, and then abruptly ends the song. The best ''Just Like Tom Thumb's'' is not when Phil forgets a verse and cracks his voice as if first going through puberty. And although the guitar work is beyond reproach, I feel this album just did not capture the Dead's finest lyrical work with Dylan's musical poetry. I listen to it all the time, don't get me wrong. I just can't stop thinking how I'd do it differently. These guys had the ability to transport me to a new level with their stellar renditions, but not with their occassional flubs. I have to wonder why these versions were chosen to immortalize on an album when I have several audio boots on the verge of extinction with better versions.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some tasty tracks here by the Dead. The Dead archivists have done a fine job of picking standout versions of Dylan cover songs from the Brent period. ''She belongs to me'' from Chula Vista 9/15/85 (in my opinion, one of their best shows) truly makes me verklempt every time I hear it.
Timhrk More than 1 year ago
Although a posthumous release, Postcards of the Hanging might well be considered the last Grateful Dead album. They bring out the best in Dylan songs and the Dylan songs bring out the best in them. Garcia's vocal on She Belongs to Me is heart breaking, his best vocal ever. Weir does some remarkable vocal turns as well, particularly on Desolation Row, a lyric from which provides the CD's title. Even Lesh has some fun with Tom Thumb Blues. Dylan shows up with a great version Man of Peace. Sadly, the Dylan & the Dead release is terrible. If you like either the Grateful Dead or Bob Dylan, this release is pretty darn near essential. Please visit: timothyherrick.blogspot.com/