Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's a buck dancers choice my friend (Grateful Dead)

Two purchases from Kings' Recordings were live Grateful Dead albums: Europe '72 I have in a variety of formats; I first taped a version of it way, way back in the day. I also have a fairly scratched triple vinyl copy and now a double CD set with loads of bonus tracks (including a stupendous version of Truckin').

It was one of the first things I ever heard by the Dead and it made an impression. All those long druggy noodling versions of songs on Live Dead never did it for me - instead I loved the relatively shorter, more coherent, noodling versions of songs on Europe '72.

I love the space in these versions. I'm not sure how they achieved that but it is there - a lightness of touch that is absent from Live Dead.

The second set from Kings' was Nightfall of Diamonds and picks up a set from 1989.

I love this one even more and it may well be my favourite live Dead experience (Workingman's Dead and American Beauty are the best studio sets by some distance but I also love Terrapin Station). There must be well over 50 live sets of the band that have been released over the years, and I've certainly not heard them all (who has?) but this one stands out for me from what I've heard.

On Nightfall... the band is tight as a drum (haha, and what else would you expect - they can play these songs in their sleep) and they are battle scarred (Garcia's voice on Dark Star is about shot), yet it's a magnificent collection of songs. Gotta say I love their version of Dylan's Stuck inside of Mobile with those Memphis blues again too. I turn this one up really loud in the car on the way home from work!!

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