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The Grateful Dead

The Reckoning

Review by Gary Hill

The Grateful Dead were always at least three different bands stylistically. There was "the rock band", "the folk band with country leanings" and "the psychedelic space rock band". Although there are a few moments of space there, this album captures a live show by the folk band side of The Grateful Dead. It is certainly a fine album in that genre, and quite a nice listening experience. On this album, The Grateful Dead were Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Donna Godchaux, Keith Godchaux, Bill Kreutzman, Phil Lesh and Brent Mydland.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
Dire Wolf
A somewhat countrified, folky Dead classic performed in their laid back, easy going style.
Blood Roses
This is a harpsichord-based cut with rather gritty lyrics. It features some very unusual vocal work at times.
The Race Is On
This is a bit twangy, fast paced and bluesy folk cut.
It Must Have Been The Roses
Pretty and moody, this is a slow-paced folk rock number. The chorus here is quite strong and the piano at times weaves a wonderfully beautiful path around the melody.
Dark Hollow
Dark Hollow is a bluesy, folk rock number.
China Doll
Beautiful textures and moods dominate this slow, sedate rock piece. This is definitely a standout cut.
Been All Around This World
This is another folky rocker with countryish leanings.
Monkey and The Engineer
A train song, this is another strong and fun folk tune.
Fast tempoed and quite entertaining, this one is a bit in the mode of Arlo Guthrie`s "City of New Orleans".
Deep Elem Blues
This fun tune is groove oriented and bluesy.
Definitely a Dead standard, this mellow rocker has all the trademarks of the band.
To Lay Me Down
This slow and bluesy Dead jam features some particularly tasteful acoustic guitar work.
Rosa Lee McFall
This is another fast paced and fun country based folk cut.
On The Road Again
Featuring a nice groove, this is a very entertaining acoustic rock composition.
Bird Song
Yet another Dead classic, this is a wonderful excursion into spacey acoustic rock with a magical texture. This features a wonderful jam that is in a trademark Grateful Dead style.
A great slow acoustic piece, this is another Dead standard, and a very good way to end the album.
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