June 6, 2007

American Beauty / American Reality

Listening to some Grateful Dead on the way into work today, I was reminded of how amazing American Beauty is.
Along with Workingman's Dead, American Beauty represented a peak for the post-lysergic Dead. Abandoning the sonic experiments that marked their previous albums, the Dead simplified the music, while concentrating on expanded vocal harmonizing. Their most successful album (at least until their mid 80's In The Dark mega-stardom); American Beauty was a synthesis of folk, country, bluegrass and rock. Classic tracks such as "Truckin" and "Sugar Magnolia" are still rock radio staples. The (mostly) Robert Hunter penned lyrics focus on death (There is a terrific dvd available called Anthem To Beauty , which digs deep into the making of the album.

I am posting up a different take on American Beauty. I compiled live versions of the songs (ranging from the acoustic tour of 1970 through the mid 80's) from the album, in the same order as the lp. Quality on the cuts varies from audience to soundboard, but it gives a pretty good overview of the album, and how it evolved over the years.

I hope you enjoy it.
Toonage:

11 comments:

manicgirl said...

I've followed all the prompts to download this album and I can't get thru. WTF?

Nazz Nomad said...

link should work...
i reposted and it works for me

manicgirl said...

doesn't fucking work for me. I keep getting the same "create a collector's account" page even when I press "I don't want to create one now, just give me the fucking link".

Anonymous said...

Oh man, works for me.

With the previous attitude, I'd say: Fuck him!

It's free dude, chill and figure it out, it's so easy even you can do it.

Richard said...

No probs here. Great post.

Mrow said...

Great idea - it sounds/feels wonderful. And nice to see you're tapping the "taper's section" of the GD website. I've yet to explore that.

To me, that's the single most amazing thing about the Dead: the way they prioritized THE LIVE THING over all else. Nobody (outside maybe BLACK FLAG) took it to such extremes. Their studio stuff, as cool as it all is - were ultimately secondary to the live sound/experience.


Your's get's me thinking how a live "Blues For Allah" comp. might come out. That's my fave post-LSD GDead.

manicgirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
a.k.a. Zooomabooma said...

Hey Now, for an interesting look at American beauty live, check out 8-18-70. That night included something like 4 or 5 debuts from the album plus the 3rd ever Sugar Mags and another tune or two that only started to be played earlier in the year. Not the greatest show ever by any means but it really is a historic one on the grand scale of GD shows.

Garciya Later!

manicgirl said...

It just isn't working for me and/or my computer. That's ok, I guess I don't have the required "chill" attitude for the Dead. I *am* manicgirl, after all.

Nazz Nomad said...

The 8-18-70 show is available on archive.org. It's an audience tape, but not too bad. And of course, it is historic.

Davis said...

The Final Episode of FREAKS AND GEEKS had the main character being introduced to and then listening to 'American Beauty' over and over on headphones > giving up being a good girl > Following the Dead with a bunch of hippies in a VW Bus rather than go to summer school > End of series.