Oh, goody: they’re re-releasing all the official albums for iTunes. This marks the 22nd straight format I haven’t given a shit about Go To Heaven in.
I can understand why they keep doing things with these albums, these weak sisters: paper-thin footnotes the vast majority of them. They’re product. Nice art. Everything’s already done, and if you’re a record company guy, well, those deck chairs won’t rearrange themselves, will they?
But they made shitty albums. Even their greatest studio record American Beauty wasn’t near the league of the great and important rock masterpieces of the time. Maaaaan.
There was no such thing as a grateful Dead “song”. There was the tremendous Sugaree from Lake Acid, but there is no “Sugaree”. None is more or less true than any other. Some, however, much longer than the others, and as we’ve discussed, there is no such thing as too much Sugaree. There was a “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”: it was the last song on Let It Bleed, which is the Stones best album. There’s the bit with the French Horn and then the choir sliding into that dissonant seventh chord right before Charlie Watts tumpTHWACKtumpTHWACKs right into the double-time vamp as the children resolve the chord and that’s a fucking SONG. Maaaaan. Every other version, live or whatever, is just a comment on that actual “song”; not all renditions are equal.
One of the reasons for the Stones (among others) producing albums that maybe could almost sorta stand up as art for quite a while, but not the Dead was that the Stones records were made by two, maybe three guys. Mick, Keith, Glyn Johns in the Rolling Truck Mobile Stones Thing. A lot of people played the songs, but the record? That was two guys. The drummer was not allowed anywhere near the console. Bill Wyman once wandered in the control room, and Mick was rude to him until he left. Those Brits!
In the Dead, however (it seems like when you’re comparing the Dead to standard business or musical practices, the phrase “In the Dead, however” gets used a lot), the aggressive equality practiced onstage backfired in the studio.
This sort of thing doesn’t get Dark Side of the Moon made: