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Monday, October 19, 2015

After almost fifty years of trying I found a Grateful Dead album I really like

Always preferred the concept of the Grateful Dead to the sound of them. I tried their albums over the years and could never get past the bloodless voices and the lack of whomp in the rhythm section. "You have to see them live," said people. I did that a few times but always felt like an unbeliever at a revival meeting.

That's all changed now. In the spirit of Alan Bennett's parents who delightedly announced "we've finally found an alcoholic drink we like"  – it was bitter lemon –  I've found a Grateful Dead album I can listen to all the way through. Well, apart from the drum solo.

The band wanted to call it "Skull Fuck". The official name is "Grateful Dead". The fans call it "Skull & Roses". It's live, of course. Most of the songs are standard blues band warhorses like "Not Fade Away", "Going Down The Road Feeling Bad", "Johnny B. Goode" and "Big Boss Man". It's a delight to find that here they finally achieve that benign shuffling sound I've read about so much and never heard.

When was it made? 1971, of course.