Noel Murray and the Dead

Just something to keep in mind. From the Onion's AV Club:

Similarly, I've always preferred The Band to The Grateful Dead, because The Band boiled all that spooky Americana folderol down to fairly tight little folk-rock songs, while The Dead would start with a good melodic foundation and some mythologically trippy Robert Hunter poem, then squander audience goodwill with indifferent noodling. But then I started to turn around on The Dead, after I read Dennis McNally's book A Long Strange Trip, which humanizes the band's excursions into the cosmic, and allowed me to hear the beauty in their imperfection. Even a simple song like "Bertha" exists mainly as an idea: one that The Grateful Dead could express eloquently some nights, and some nights couldn't get out of their heads. For devotees, there was real drama in waiting to hear what kind of night it could be for "Bertha"—let alone something really way-out, like "Dark Star."

-- Noel Murray

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