Live Dead

click to hear Dark Star

“Live Dead explains why the Dead are one of the best performing bands in America, why their music touches on ground that most other groups don’t even know exists.

“A list of song titles would mean very little in terms of what actually goes on inside the album. Like the early Cream, the Dead in concert tend to use their regular material as a jumping-off point, as little frameworks that exist only for what can be built on top of them. In “Dark Star,” for example, they give a token reading of the song itself, waiting patiently until the vocal drops and Garcia’s guitar comes out front to begin the action. About ten minutes later, if you can manage to look up by then, you might realize that what is happening bears as little resemblance to “Dark Star” as all that rollin’ and tumblin’ stuff did to “Spoonful.” But of course, by that time, it just doesn’t matter, and when the Dead slowing bring the song back around to “Dark Star,” each change made with care and a strange kind of tact, you can only marvel at the distance you’ve traveled in such a short period of time”

I was living in Crow Hall at the time with my wife and two young children. It was an easy-going commune.

I was stoned on either LSD or home-grown grass when I first listened to Live Dead through headphones in pitch darkness in a corner of a bare former ballroom. Dark Star was mesmerizing, beautiful but deeply disturbing; paradise or nightmare, couldn’t decide which. It sounded eerily out of tune; a journey which didn’t know where it was going.

For many years, returning to normal life in the big world, I remembered the ambiguous impression it made at the time but forgot the title and band name. Then some time in the eighties, in my second marriage, someone gave me a copy.

I say “normal life” in terms of having a regular job, living in a pleasant flat of our own: me and my second wife. But something went wrong, I was vaguely dissatisfied. I went to a group therapy thing for many weeks but got dissatisfied with that too.

Finally I booked myself in to a Psychodrama weekend, held in a village hall near Brighton (East Sussex). We got to enacting one another’s hangups, and so getting to know them rather well. I kept in touch with two participants for a while. One of them gave me a copy of Live Dead, and I’ve had it ever since.

Crow Hall, from the rear

As in the previous posts, I’ve two copies of this CD, and the newest one could be yours

If you are interested, here’s how to proceed, as in the previous post:

  • using the “Contact Me” option, you provide your email and geographical addresses, the item(s) which interest you
  • in response, I’ll email you the cost of postage and packing . . .
  • . . . and ask how much it’s worth to you
  • if I accept your offer, I’ll send you my bank details and send you the goods as soon as payment is received

photo showing my son, me holding my baby daughter, Alan Taylor holding his baby daughter Maya. I’ve since been in touch with both by email. Alan designed the geodesic domes, inspired by Buckminster Fuller,and built them with a friend (on my right in the picture)


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