I was not a big Dead Head in my youth. Yes these two have always been in my collection but the rest...not so much. To this day I still can't stand Dark Star, The Eleven, The Other One, and don't get me started on the waste of time that is Drums>Space. I love so much of what they did over 30 odd years and at the same time I can't stand the rest of it. Maybe that's why I love the 1977 shows. The Dead were so on and so much more melodic that year. Focused jams and well played songs!
Way back in 1970 the Dead were heading into the studio with very little cash to record their fourth studio album (they had been ripped off) and went with a stripped down, back to basics sound that hearkened back to their roots rather than continue on with their psychedelic explorations. Good choice. This is very much a cousin to the first couple of Band releases but with a more West Coast vibe. How can anyone find fault with these tracks:
Uncle John's Band
New Speedway Boogie
These are some of my all time favorite Dead songs, and I suspect some of yours as well. I never get sick of playing this album and it is probably my favorite Dead album. Now American Beauty, also released in 1970, might also get that award. Slightly more Rock & Roll than Workingman's Dead, it still has that great homespun sound. Great songs played very well. Hell, they even sang some pretty good harmonies. The Dead would never sound this good again on any record (aside from Jerry's first "solo" album).
Box of Rain
Friend of the Devil
Till the Morning Comes
Attics of My Life
The over-all tasty goodness that these two albums delivered got me thinking about other great "one-two punches". So I'm listening again to a bunch of artists who have delivered just that...two great, I mean great not merely good, records in a row. This should be fun. Check back over the next couple of weeks and see what I found.