Shakedown Street [Bonus Tracks]

Shakedown Street [Bonus Tracks]

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by Grateful Dead
     
 

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Since the Grateful Dead were notorious for recording awkward studio albums, it always seemed that the answer to their problem was simply getting the right producer to coax magic out of the band -- and nobody would seem better suited for the position than Little Feat leader Lowell George, whose own band shared the Dead's tendency to wander and jam in a live setting,… See more details below

Overview

Since the Grateful Dead were notorious for recording awkward studio albums, it always seemed that the answer to their problem was simply getting the right producer to coax magic out of the band -- and nobody would seem better suited for the position than Little Feat leader Lowell George, whose own band shared the Dead's tendency to wander and jam in a live setting, yet made almost nothing but good studio records. But 1978 was not a great year for either camp, as the Dead were drifting in their attempts to score a crossover hit for Clive Davis' Arista Records, while George was pushing Little Feat toward disbandment as he was inching closer to his premature death in 1979. Add to that the Dead's sudden, inexplicable fascination with disco, a desire to have Donna Jean Godchaux be an integral part of the record, plus no new songs ready to go at the beginning of the sessions, and it's little surprise that Shakedown Street wound up as a mess. It rambles and wanders all over the place, as the Dead cover the Rascals' "Good Lovin'" before they revive "New Minglewood Blues" (which they originally cut for their debut), as Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter write their own "Stagger Lee" while Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann get a percussion workout on the brief instrumental "Serengetti" and Bob Weir affects a bluesy growl on "I Need a Miracle." In George's hands, this is all given a smooth gloss not all that far removed from such latter-day Feat LPs as The Last Record Album, but since the Dead favor hazy, lazy grooves to Feat's laid-back but tight New Orleans funk -- and since George didn't produce so much as he created an appropriate atmosphere in the studio -- Shakedown Street meanders mercilessly, and its indulgences wind up overwhelming the album as a whole. And there isn't just one kind of indulgence here; there's a plethora of them, ranging from the disco pulse of the title track to the fuzziness of the two songs sung by Donna Jean. This can make Shakedown Street a bit of a difficult, dated listen, since even the good songs boast bad arrangements ("Shakedown Street" and "Fire on the Mountain" were later reworked and revitalized in concert), yet it falls short of flat-out disaster, partially because it's a fascinating listen due to the very things that make it a severely flawed record. The disco flirtations, subdued funk, misguided commercial concessions, and overarching Californian slickness do make Shakedown Street fascinating for at least one spin, even if they'll keep even hardcore Deadheads -- maybe especially hardcore Deadheads -- from coming back to the record more than once every decade or so. [In 2004, Rhino released a remastered, expanded edition of Shakedown Street as part of the exhaustive 12-disc box Beyond Description (1973-1989); in 2006, this expanded CD was released separately. The expanded disc contained five bonus tracks: a studio outtake of "Good Lovin'" featuring Lowell George on lead vocals that was better than the cut that made the LP, but still not great; three solid songs -- "Ollin Arageed," "Fire on the Mountain," and "Stagger Lee" -- from a September 1978 concert in Cairo, with the latter two eclipsing the versions on the studio LP, even if "Fire" stretches out a bit too long; finally, there's a version of "All New Minglewood Blues" taken from a November 1978 concert in Jersey.]

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/07/2006
Label:
Grateful Dead / Wea
UPC:
0081227328023
catalogNumber:
73280
Rank:
26447

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Grateful Dead   Primary Artist
Hamza el Din   Vocals,Oud,Hand Clapping,Taragat
Mickey Hart   Percussion,Drums,Group Member
Jerry Garcia   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Bob Weir   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Robert Hunter   Group Member
Lowell George   Vocals
Jordan Amarantha   Percussion
Donna Jean Godchaux   Background Vocals,Group Member
Keith Godchaux   Keyboards,Group Member
Matthew Kelly   Harp
Bill Kreutzmann   Percussion,Drums,Group Member
Phil Lesh   Bass Guitar,Group Member
Steven Schuster   Horn
Nubian Youth Choir   Background Vocals,Tar

Technical Credits

Hamza el Din   Composer
Mickey Hart   Composer
Jerry Garcia   Composer
Bob Weir   Arranger,Composer
Robert Hunter   Composer
Lowell George   Producer,Audio Production
James Austin   Reissue Producer
John Perry Barlow   Composer
Brett Cohen   Engineer
Donna Jean Godchaux   Composer
Dan Healy   Producer,Audio Production
John Kahn   Horn Arrangements
Bill Kreutzmann   Composer
Bob Matthews   Engineer
Reggie Collins   Liner Notes
Rudy Clark   Composer
Gilbert Shelton   Artwork
Traditional   Composer
Cameron Sears   Executive Producer
David Lemieux   Reissue Producer
Arthur Resnick   Composer
Rip Rense   Liner Notes

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