THE DEAD RAISE SPIRITS OF LISTENERS
Talk about the beginnings of acid-rock music and you inevitably hit upon the Grateful Dead. The Dead, along with a couple of other existing groups (the Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and the Fish), were in on the ground floor when the San Francisco music scene exploded in 1967.
And yet, the Dead still remain one of the most undefinable groups around. Their sound is good yet, upon hearing a record of theirs for the first time, you would not be able to guess it was them.
They have no distinctive style because they borrow from a number of types of music. Yet the sound, indistinctive as it may be, is their own.
They put it all on display Sunday night at the Labor Temple. The Dead provided a pastiche of styles and a uniqueness of sound.
Within the structure of one song, which lasted an hour, they crammed in rhythm and blues, bossa nova, country and western (ala the Everly Brothers), and acid rock.
They began with "Turn On Your Love Light," a rhythm and blues classic. They turned it around and twisted it into a half an hour of instrumental work.
A triumvirate, consisting of bass player Phil Lesh, rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, and lead guitarist Jerry Garcia, worked tightly together to produce an exciting combination that brought the audience to its feet, perhaps prematurely, before the group had been on five minutes.
Occasionally, when playing low-tempo sections, they got boring. But the minute they brought the tempo up, hands started to clap and feet to stomp and the crowd would not let them go.
Preceding the Dead was the Bobby Lyle Quintet. Lyle's group seemed totally out of place, playing jazz that would have been appropriate in a supper club. The group borrowed heavily from such jazz artists as Herbie Mann and Jimmy Smith, but gave a nice change of pace to the Temple crowd.
(by Marshall Fine, from the Minneapolis Star, 28 April 1969)
Thanks to Dave Davis.
Dick's Picks 26