Monday, August 1, 2011

The Grateful Dead--Truckin (1971)

     The legend of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead has grown to the point where it almost overshadows their musicianship. All we hear about anymore are the endless tours, the drug abuse, and the deadheads. Unfortunately, this media whitewashing has obscured a dammed good band. Interestingly, they weren't really rock and roll, (at least not on vinyl), nor were they country, but there were elements of rock, country, folk, bluegrass, and reggae in a mix that was truly their own. As good as their musical output was however, it truly was the live show that became the stuff of lore There was an ebb and flow from one song to the next...from one concert to the next. Obviously, some of this was drug induced, however this overlooks the fact that the band had strong improvisational skills.    

      Today would have been Garcia's 69th birthday and one has to wonder what would have happened had he not be affected by drug addiction from the late 70's until his death in 1995. Not only beyond his work with the Dead, he was in numerous side bands, and worked on countless albums for other. This along side the constant touring.   As it was, he was one of the most influential artists of the rock era, as a singer, guitar player, and personality.

      "Truckin" is no doubt the song that defines their group philosophy and although it was only in 1971, the line, "what a long strange trip it's been" not only summed up their career up to the moment, but defined their future as well. It was their highest charting single, other then the one shot 80's single, "Touch of Grey". The music clip here was from a 1972 concert (we show it any other way) in Denmark.


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