30 Best Loved Albums - Workingman's Dead/American Beauty

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2007 will bring the 30th anniversary of my first rock concert (Kiss, December 2, 1977 – Metropolitan Sports Center). In honor of that momentous event I have decided to use this blog to review my 30 best loved albums. They will not be in any order or progression but I will try to review them musically and why they mean so much to me. I’ll also note if they made the Definitive 200 List. Here's number 12 on the list:

working dead.jpg beauty dead.jpg
12. Grateful Dead - Workingman's Dead/American Beauty (1970)

I know I am cheating by including two albums here but Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty were recorded about 8 months apart and clock in at just under 70 minutes, which today could fit on one CD. More importantly these two albums are quite similar musically as they cover folk, blues, Appalachia, as well as country and western in a way that is still fresh nearly 40 years later. Furthermore, along with The Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo, these albums ushered in a new era of country-rock that would flourish throughout the 1970’s and is still being felt today.

Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty were huge departures from the Grateful Dead of the 1960’s. Gone was the mind-expanding psychedelica that anchored the San Francisco hippie music scene and in its place the Dead explored traditional-flavored American music with lyrics that were more winsome than mind blowing. However it was these two albums that propelled the Grateful Dead into the mainstream and created a band personae that went way beyond the cult following of the Dead’s early career. The fact that at least 4 songs from these two albums can still be heard on classic rock radio station such as KQRS is a testament to the staying power and popularity of these two albums.

Workingman’s Dead came out in early 1970 and must have been a huge surprise to Dead fans. Uncle John’s Band kicks-off the album and although it is somewhat trippy, it was much more country than anything else previously from the Dead. This song has personal resonance too as it was played at my friend Bill Fadell's funeral. The second song, High Times, is practically Jerry singing acappella with just a bluesy guitar in the background. Cumberland Blues comes straight out of the West Virginny coal mines, while Casey Jones is an acid-washed, country-tinged bluesy train song.

If fans thought that Workingman's Dead was a one album fluke, American Beauty, which came out only 8 or 9 months later, quickly disabused them of that notion. The album starts with one of the singularly most beautiful songs ever written – Box of Rain – which was written and sang by Phil Lesh for his dying father. It’s a song about a son trying to understand the meaning of life in the face of his father’s death. Friend of the Devil, Sugar Magnolia, and especially Ripple (all of which became concert favorites of Deadheads for the next 25 years) are songs that could easily be found on an album from an old-timey folker or from a smart ass alt-country band from Austin, Texas. The songs are that timeless. The album ends with Attics of My Life and its beautiful 3-part harmony and of course the fan (and KQ) favorite Truckin’. With Truckin’ the Dead look back and close the door on the 60’s with the now classic line “What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t musically spare country or folk songs with guitar and rhythm section consigned to the background. No, the songs are highly textured with most of them having at least three guitars, mandolins, etc., playing different parts. It’s pretty heady stuff and I think most Dead fans, then and now, could get their freak on with both these albums. Another highlight is the harmonies. Most songs have at least 2-part, if not 3-part harmonies and Jerry was never in better voice. Garcia’s guitar work is stellar and the rhythm section is top notch, especially during the “boogie? songs such as Cumberland Blues and New Speedway Boogie. These aren't two sides of one album either. Workingman is a little bluesier, Beauty a little more folk and country.

As I mentioned above, these albums, for better or worse, ushered in the era of country rock and bands such as the Eagles, Poco, Linda Rhonstad, etc., would shortly become mainstays on the American pop charts. However, these two albums are as vital and influential today as they were some 27 years ago and are one of the reasons why the Grateful Dead became such cultural icons. For that reason, Working Man’s Dead and American Beauty are on my list of 30 most beloved albums.

What's your favorite Dead Album?

Rank on the Definitive 200: Workingman's Dead - not on the list; American Beauty - 20 on the list.

19 Comments

If not met with small-hee, I do not have today. Of course, small-hee will not leave! This is the future of things.
goodbye is tears! I say no cry of their own! After all, we are different! Hee I want to help small companies not only buy her home, but also to recapture her lost!
two years gone, little change in Nanjing, the city never seems to be so old, not much fresh air. rather send clothing enterprises accounted for almost half of Nanjing, Ningbo, Wenzhou and other places of the clothing brand occupies in Nanjing the other half of the country, the garment enterprises in Shenzhen are still unfamiliar with the Nanjing! can only just entered.
small Hee family business ; Zhengkai Group workshop to create business lost all the glory!
for Nanjing clothing company, we have the advantage that our brand mark, and garment enterprises in Nanjing was roughly equal for all, not leading enterprises, the clothing brand is not strong! us The deployment is done in Nanjing to build their own brands and compete against a rather camp clothing!
how to fight this battle, and how to eat a small Kai Hee back to home company, a company to be considered, one is my own to consider. two are going to win.
down from the plane, a small foam always holding my hand, she happily said to me: This school ah, this place looks pretty broken! let the little foam play. small foam very happy.
I was also happy, I want a small foam is not the company, not with me, I started my intention was better!
temporary office in Nanjing has long been engaged in Well, the new company site selection in the mountain south, is under construction. where the company from a small home close hee. got off the plane, from the Nanjing International Airport to Metropark Hotel, just 30 minutes, I and small Mo temporarily living in the Grand Metropark Hotel, which is where the original small-hee married ---- Hilton!
I so choose these places for a reason, I cooked this place. and where I saw someone else's bride a little hee! hotel was renovated, but still see the old look. still magnificent!
when the car is about to close, my heart sour, seemed excited, small Mo sitting next to me, kept talking to me, but I just deal with pop star, my mind think of things, she would not understand, I never talk to her, then, more than two years ago,Justin Bieber Headphones, in this place, I looked at the small-hee became the bride of others, I ran all the way left, I was like, small foam must guess not, I think once people do not know.
now, all changed This year, I feel like a dream-like, never seem to leave, but across the millennia, Nanjing, sunny, autumn will just discuss the upcoming trade. you can see some of the banners, while I will also participate in the Fair In the above display our products!
step foot on the hotel, it seems that place, but some buildings have changed and I will be standing there stunned, turned to the distance, I had looked over the place station , somewhere, I seem to see then where I was watching while I watched and small foam is not true that some are still brothers and sisters cry for love!
small foam look at me, said: !,
came today, everything can be changed, in which small-hee, I do not know, she moved back to live in it? is the old house you /
room had given good, the waiter came to greet, I show the documents, she smiled and brings us into it, I kept waiting to see the inside, looking for the place had a small Hee married. deluxe double suites! this hotel in Shenzhen, when I am resident in, can be different at the moment. small Mo kept asking me how, and what she does not look new, like to follow up their own home.
into the room, a small foam to the bed, which is still in a daze, small foam, said: I and a small foam lying in Metropark Hotel, I could think of is past, are small-hee, those situations constantly emerge, and small-hee first met, first with noodles, go to her house see her parents, they had said. hee small wedding scene, I almost all night.
the next day, I met and small Hee. looking at my wife lying in bed, a small foam , my mind was thinking of small-hee, is difficult to forget!
Finally, I climbed up from the bed, going out, hanging around in the hallway, and aides have contacted a small Hee, hee I have a small phone,, I want to call a small-hee, I want to know the news of her, would like to know everything, to ask whether she would also like me, think of all that she has a child that? what it was like, boy or girl, is healthy! can I did not call her, no, although my heart very excited!
I still come back and continue to lay in bed, this is a sleepless night, Nanjing, the name in my heart left a deep scar, I think if It has life, it has been looked at me, 93 years since the day I came to this school, just watching me, and now I look like, do not know if it is satisfied!
everything is quiet in sleep! awake to another bright day, I will meet again with the small-hee!
morning I got up early, and a small foam still asleep, the sun shines on her face, rosy and smooth, very healthy. I did not wake her, quietly wash, brush your teeth, standing in front of the mirror, spent a full ten minutes, kept his hand rubbing the face in the mirror narcissism, all night, but the color is not so bad, I think I had more handsome than before, the body's temperament is quite satisfactory to himself! Put on the set of more than ten thousand pieces of brand-name suits, the whole people have been lifted! This five-star hotel with very dissonant.
is ten o'clock appointment to meet, is the location for the meeting Metropark Hotel. This is my assistant to the proposed small Hee agreed. Specific arrangement is first signed, after dinner, I do not know such an arrangement would not proceed smoothly, if I can, I do not want this occasion to see the small-hee, one can, according to the company's practice, such a major contract, I have arrived at the scene, and the second is that I want to see small-hee!
Hee in small circles when agreement was signed, the company completed the acquisition agreement. In order to avoid the small foam, I left a note to her: film around the circle, looked around, and calm his excitement.
9:30, I came back, assistant to call me that everything has been arranged, Liu Xiaoxi immediately to. I got out, step by step walk to the rooms. I have to wait in front of a small-hee, maybe so, I will not be too nervous, I go, I suddenly found a small foam has been with the company's financial assistant and sat there.
I do not know how small foam will know, I have been today without the knowledge of her activities. Little Mo to see me: Each other are used.
I embarrassed smile, said: I called out assistant, asked him: know, she asked me why? I accidentally said, so she pestered to hard, you do not do not know her temper ---nothing would happen to it!.
I shook my head in time to take a small foam is impossible, and the four of us sat down.
we three men did not speak, kept a small foam twitter, assistant silence next asked me: Little Mo said: divorced, I was worried about you, only to watch it!
I ignore the small foam, I was thinking of something, knock on the door came.
assistant, said: I am excited body tears, small foam not speak.
Before this, I imagine in my mind over and over small Hee present form. At the moment, my mind went blank. Time is very short, small Hee walked around followed by a small secretary! Girls, aged 20, left and right.
small hee it? I kept asking themselves, what really is a small-hee? Come this person is missing a small Hee ** What night? Yes, she is small Hee. Hee has changed little, so I have some sad change, it seems naive small-hee did not, after two years gave me a little weak Hee, her eyes had faded, and lost a lot of hair tied into a Guduo, wearing a white suit, his chest pierced a bow tie. Which is fine plaid shirt. The skin was carved softened. But she is still beautiful, charming, she married, had children, and divorced, and now to take care of parents, children, but also support the company, which put all the pressure of her body, how she can change it !
but almost did not give me much time to describe, when she did not immediately seem to find me, come in, sit down, exposing only the eyes of the kind of terrible pain. She ineffectively, expression tweaking, she is not ready, and sometimes can not control their own expression. I do not know how people around look at this scene. I think they are silly, but no one said nothing. Little Mo some silly, she will not think about these things. In the next first hand, said: .
my heart better than a small Hee loose, my body in a slight shake. They shook hands, and most of my life between the two women shook hands, compared to 28-year-old me, they are still small, two girl with body contact. That seems to indicate a kind of fails to account for something. About time, about fate, about reincarnation, who do not know.
small Hee painful death, her head slightly lower, then the ED also look around. Finance and assistant are wondering, and I hope to come, suddenly understand what I am and they have said, the proposed acquisition of small companies hee, no matter much effort should be, (I do not want one person suffering a small-hee, I want to help her to bear.), they are all over the people, the hearts of all sense, know what a woman must have a relationship with me.
Financial little older, his smile said: : you! But still laugh. We shook hands, then, financial, said:
agreement already prepared, financial and assistant, said: opportunities.
small Hee said: seemingly more money, but if the company removed shareholders, as well as wages, plus plant and equipment, small Hee left should fail to get even one million.
I spoke, smiled as follows: Our company values ​​so much, you will suffer that he had attended school in this, Nanjing have feelings, just doing!
aides with a smile: the next, I said nothing. The situation is very bad, small-hee seems bent to do so.
or I speak,
small Hee smiled, looked my eyes said: Then we signed, my writing some exceptions. Xi is small, with each other very quickly. Hardly the above content without looking.
wine is ready, toast a few people together, things settled quickly, much faster than I imagined. Then the waiter
Cook end up with, dine with us.
dinner, a lot of small foam honest, after all, this is a very important occasion, but she was very enthusiastic and kept to small-hee take their food, have popped up a young and admire! The three of us men do not know what to do.
Because of the small foam call, the atmosphere much better. Small Hee also easier to adapt to such environment.
small foam, then more and more, I told her about the things said out of Nanjing, and small-hee, said: ?, I feel more and more small foam
no big or little, I do not know if she realized I had a small Hee special relationship.
small foam smile, said: I understand the idea of ​​small foam, she was only joking, so be sure to leave suspense, and then an explanation will be very humorous.
small Hee and looked at me, smile down, then up. Little Mo to speak out the truth, saying how we love, how to get married. Briefly the next, small Hee laughed, Hehedexiao, Mo would say no big or small number of words. I did not expect she would so small foam other customers to do business in our time, is not the case, can the day is very unusual.

Anoche hicimos un partidazo!! Pudimos hacer el primer gol muy rápido y eso nos ayudó mucho.

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