Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead



by Badmoon USER (65 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 63 replies

Release Date: 1967 | Tracklist

Around the mid sixties in the the city of San Fransico, California, five teens to early twenties men got together to form a band that would soon gain world fame and be praised by millions. Before world fame, and before the release of their first album, the soon to be Warlocks were connected in seperate ways. Jerry Garica had worked in the same music shop with Pigpen. Garcia also taught guitar lessons to young Bob Weir. Weir was a friend of young drummer Billy Kreutzmann. And Pigpen and Jerry also happened to be great friends with music major Phil Lesh, who was also the only member to ever even finish high school.

Before each member would get together to play coffee houses and "Acid Tests" (Parties based around the use of acid, and music) as The Warlocks and The Grateful Dead. Three of them were in a band with each other already. Garcia, Weir, and Pigpen were in a Bluegrass jugband known as Mother McCree's Uptown Jugband Champions, which lasted a short amount of time.

Soon enough all the members would join and form The Warlocks, which would then be switched to The Grateful Dead. It would be two years until they released their first album. Till then they would be playing parties, coffee houses, and acid tests, as I said before.

Though, this album is not The Grateful Dead's best, in my opinion. And I doubt that most think it's their best, but either way it does show a side of The Grateful Dead that is rarely seen, and possibly only seen on this album. These are songs coming from seven men (Including managers Rock Scully and Danny Rifken) who live in the same home, do endless amounts of drugs, are poor, and mooch money off of their friend Owsley Stanley III (who is basically known as the father of acid) to buy equipment. The music is highly influenced with combined genres of Bluegrass, Folk, Blues, Rockabilly, Country, Psychedelia, ect. Many of the songs are also old covers, which gives off a sense that The Grateful Dead have a strong knowledge of music, and history. Hope you enjoy :)

I can't think of a more inviting, good feeling, and happy song to open an album with. This psychedelic, oddly happy tune is put together with Pigpen pounding on the organ, the guitars more "noodling" than playing, and the bassing and the drumming playing all over the place. The vocals also seem very urgent, yet happy. And the lyrics basically inbody the sixties if you stop and think about it for a second. It includes a guitar solo that just seems to jump out of no where, very similar to The Kinks "All day and All night" except it is more chaotic and uncontrolable. This song brings a smile to my face every time I listen to it. 5/5

Beat it on down the Line
"Beat it on down the Line" seems like it would fit better in the 50's than 1967. It has a great flow, that the backing vocals match perfect with. It's just an other extremely great feeling songs, with some great vocals by Garcia, and a fabulous solo. Which also seems to come out of no where. The song is a cover, and was originally written by Jesse Fuller, and is just timeless. And is definatley one of my favorites. 5/5

Good Mornin' Little School Girl
This song includes a great flow, and some very odd, and obscure lyrics, that give off a very offensive feeling. The song is very Bluesy, and is sang with great emotion. I particularly like the drumming, and Pig's Bluesy singing, and fabulous harmonica solos. Now this is an extremeley odd song, the reason why is because it is about lust, and it is sang by Pigen. Now, I'll show a picure of Pigpen and let you judge how you would feel if he was singing about your young school daughter. 4/5

Cold Rain and Snow
Here is a choppy song with high pitched guitar playing, and some great organ playing. Compare to some other songs on this album, it doesn't particulary stand out, but it's not bad. It's just kind of mediocre. 3.5/5

Sitting on Top of the World
Now, I'm sure most of you have heard a version of this song, whether it was by Cream on Wheels of Fire, or whatever. It was written by Walter Jacobs and Tim Rose and is oftenly covered. In my opinion, The Dead do it great. The song has some great guitar solos (As usual), and the songs flow extrodinarily well. I'd pick this version over Cream's anyday. 4/5

Cream Puff War
"Cream Puff War" is supposebly the first song Jerry wrote while with The Grateful Dead. The songs combines many different speeds, feelings, and tempoes. It is led by Pig's organ, and it includes Jerry singing. It's a Blues influenced song, and seems to be more influenced by British Blues than American Blues. I do love Lesh's approach on playing the bass as a lead instrument (Which shows in this song), just like Jack Bruce. It's odd how much Cream and The Grateful Dead have in common. 3.5/5

Morning Dew
Here is another cover that flows well, and is oftenly covered by other bands. Garcia and Weir's playing intertwines very well, similar to how they do it on "Friend of the Devil". Each member's playing really seems to bounce off of each other on this number, and the vocals are done very smoothly. "Morning Dew" is probably the more epic track on the album compared to all the other songs. Great song :) 4/5

New, New Minglewood Blues
I actually really like this song, it's kind of like a beach tune. The vocals are sometimes shouted. And it has a great line "My number one occupation is stealing women from their men". It is of course led by the organ which gives it a nice psychedelic sound, like many of their other songs. And of course the song contains some great guitar solos. It also has another great leading line, which is "I was born in a desert, raised in a lion's den" which always seems to get stuck inside my head. 5/5

Viola Blues
Many would say this is the best track on this self titled album. Though, I believe it is a great songs, I wouldn't say that. It's a cover, and was originally written by Noah Lewis. The lyrics are completley sang in unisen, which The Grateful Dead are known to do time to time. The solos on this track are really toned down, and very bluesy. The song also really seems like it was recorded live, in The Dead's natural habitat. 4.5/5

I'm going to give this album a 4/5, for the reason that it shows how diverse The Grateful Dead are, and because it shows how great they are musically. It also shows a side of them which was rarely seen, if never seen. So, buy this album :thumb:

Jerry Garcia-Guitar
Ron "Pigpen" Mckernan - Organ, Harmonica
Bob Weir-Guitar
Phil Lesh-Bass
Bill Kreutzmann - Drums

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Comments:Add a Comment 
May 22nd 2004


Come on kids :mad: You have no idea how important this album and band are to music.

The Strokes are bringing in more fans than The Grateful Dead!!! :upset:

May 23rd 2004


I liked the way you included pictures in this review.

The Dead's first album sounds completely different than anything else they would do for the next 30+ years. So its an interesting album, not one to start with though if you are new to them.

IMO "Cold Rain and Snow" is one of the dead's best songs.

May 23rd 2004


A great review by a band so unique only Phish could copy them.

June 25th 2004


I loved this album, I recently purchased it and was expecting it to not be that great because of what people have said about it. I went to buy it so that I would have every Dead studio album. What happened was that this ended up being one of my favorite dead albums.

December 5th 2004


good review.

Most people don't realize just how psychedelic this album is. I do though :D 5/5!

December 19th 2004


This album is one of my top 5 favorites, I love the sound of this album, excellent review.
EDIT: Top 5 of the Dead not like overall.

Tv Party
August 20th 2006


I need to get one of The Dead's early, psychadelic albums. Which one should I get, this or Aoxamoxoa?

August 28th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review. I really like this album, but it isn't their best, as you said.

November 10th 2007


from "the golden road" to the end, this album is pure 60's garage punk... songs are short and sweet, fast paced and filled with fuzz-drenched guitar solos and wailing vocals... certainly not an album that many would expect to come from the Dead, and a sound that would drastically change by "Anthem". Not my favorite Dead record by any means, but its definitely one of my top 5.

November 10th 2007


tv party, if you want to get an early Dead album, you should probably go with Aoxamoxoa first if you want something that resembles the sound that would become synonymous with them... this record is classic as all hell with many concert staples and well known songs, but as the review said, its totally different from anything else they would ever do.

December 29th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

It sucks that the Dead really cut a lot of there early songs out of there concerts in the mid '70s to the end of there career. A real shame.

Activista anti-MTV
September 27th 2011


Need to get into this band. Where to start?

Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

Great album. Psychedelic and bluesy at the same time.

June 13th 2013


This is really underrated on Sput. One of the band's best studio albums imo.

June 13th 2013


June 13th 2013


No we didn't.

June 27th 2013


agreed hard JT

May 3rd 2015


Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Great songs, but frantically bad pace, the band hated it, the band said they should of laid off the speed during recording

June 28th 2015



July 8th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

walk me out

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