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Workingman's Dead [Bonus Tracks]
     

Workingman's Dead [Bonus Tracks]

4.6 3
by Grateful Dead
 

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The release of 1970's Workingman's Dead marked a departure from the psychedelic rock that the Grateful Dead helped define in the 1960s to a more acoustic sound. Emphasizing structured tunes over improvised jams, Workingman's Dead is loaded with powerfully imagistic songs and strong vocal harmonies that harken back to the band's folk roots. The album

Overview

The release of 1970's Workingman's Dead marked a departure from the psychedelic rock that the Grateful Dead helped define in the 1960s to a more acoustic sound. Emphasizing structured tunes over improvised jams, Workingman's Dead is loaded with powerfully imagistic songs and strong vocal harmonies that harken back to the band's folk roots. The album kicks off with "Uncle John's Band," a sweetly sung Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter composition that became an anthem during the band's 30-year career. The bouncy, country-pickin' coal-mining classic "Cumberland Blues" continues the vocal bliss, bringing forth the unique three-part singing of guitarists Garcia and Bob Weir and bassist Phil Lesh. Original keyboardist and bluesman Ron "Pigpen" McKernan takes command of the back-busting, down-to-earth grit of "Easy Wind," and Garcia's newfound finesse on the pedal-steel guitar sleeks and shimmers its way through the gorgeous "High Time" and the life-fearing "Dire Wolf." "Casey Jones," the fast-chugging, anticocaine anthem, which also became one of their most popular songs, serves as a perfect closer. Deemed one of the classics in their recording catalogue, Workingman's Dead successfully captures a dramatic shift of style and clearly helped establish the Dead as an essential American musical-roots ensemble.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jason Ankeny
The Grateful Dead were already established as paragons of the free-form, improvisational San Francisco psychedelic sound when they abruptly shifted gears for the acoustic Workingman's Dead, a lovely exploration of American roots music illuminating the group's country, blues, and folk influences. The lilting "Uncle John's Band," their first radio hit, opens the record and perfectly summarizes its subtle, spare beauty; complete with a new focus on more concise songs and tighter arrangements, the approach works brilliantly. Despite its sharp contrast to the epic live space jams on which the group's legend primarily rests, Workingman's Dead nonetheless spotlights the Dead at their most engaging, stripped of all excess to reveal the true essence of their craft. [The 2003 reissue on Rhino contains expanded liner notes with lots of photos. It also includes a previously unissued alternate mix of "New Speedway Boogie" and six live tracks: "Dire Wolf" recorded at Santa Rosa Veteran's Memorial Hall on 6/27/1969, "Black Peter" recorded at Golden Hall Community Concourse in San Diego on 1/10/1970, "Easy Wind" recorded at Springer's Ballroom in Portland, OR, on 1/16/1970, "Cumberland Blues" recorded at the Oregon State University Gym on 1/17/1970, "Mason's Children" recorded at the Civic Auditorium in Honolulu on 1/24/1970, and "Uncle John's Band" recorded at Winterland on 12/23/1970.]

Product Details

Release Date:
02/25/2003
Label:
Rhino
UPC:
0081227439620
catalogNumber:
74396
Rank:
2778

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Grateful Dead   Primary Artist
Mickey Hart   Drums
Jerry Garcia   Guitar,Pedal Steel Guitar,Vocals
Bob Weir   Guitar,Vocals
Tom Constanten   Keyboards
Bill Kreutzmann   Drums
Phil Lesh   Bass,Vocals,Background Vocals
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan   Harmonica,Keyboards,Background Vocals
David Nelson   Acoustic Guitar

Technical Credits

Jerry Garcia   Composer
Grateful Dead   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Bob Weir   Composer
Robert Hunter   Composer,Lyricist
James Austin   Reissue Producer
Phil Lesh   Composer
Bob Matthews   Producer,Audio Production
Gary Peterson   Liner Note Coordination
Betty Cantor   Producer,Audio Production
Steve Silberman   Liner Notes
David Singer   Poster Design
Alembic   Engineer
Daniel Goldmark   Editorial Research
David Lemieux   Reissue Producer

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