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There and Back Again

35 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 21, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

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Former Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh's first solo album (not counting Seastones, his 1975 electronic collaboration with Ned Lagin) traffics more in Springsteenian arena rock than in the jazzily extended high-wire improvisations of his live shows. While the music lacks the lilt of Lesh's former combo, the band is tight and Dead lyricist Robert Hunter's verses are as evocative, regretful, and optimistic as ever--usually at the same time. Song after song alludes to a golden age of rock hedonism while simultaneously reassuring listeners that the past can be recaptured in the here and now. "Give it up for love, so I've been told," sings deep-throated Lesh in the barrelhouse "Rock-a-Roll Blues," "It seldom gets younger but it never gets old." Guitarist Warren Haynes, who contributes a handful of downbeat power ballads, smears the record with his signature slide playing while fellow guitarist Jimmy Herring bobs and weaves like Bob Weir to Haynes's Jerry Garcia. It's a nostalgia trip for sure, but it just might do until the real thing reappears. --Hazel Luftglass


1. Celebration
2. Night Of A Thousand Stars
3. The Real Thing
4. Again And Again
5. No More Do I
6. Patchwork Quilt
7. Liberty
8. Midnight Train
9. Leave Me Out Of This
10. Welcome To The Underground
11. Rock-n-Roll Blues

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 21, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000658AT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,614 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 23, 2004
Format: Audio CD
First, buy the package with the bonus disc.
Regarding the studio recordings, read the previous reviews. They cover the disc fairly and well. I won't waste time and space repeating what's already been said.
Now let's move on to the real jewel in this package -- the bonus disc.
On this disc, Lesh steps into his familiar role of anti-frontman. Although he does take a few vocal turns on these live performances, Lesh mostly does what he does best, create bass lines that manage to drive and snake through the music all at the same time. Phil Lesh is a monster bass player. He has been for years and he hasn't lost his touch (Phil, if you read this, please follow Jack Cassidy's example. Make an instructional video).
The disc opens with Passenger, a personal favorite of mine. The cut features burning slide guitar, an extremely hot organ solo and rough, but dead on vocals. With each of the following cuts, the disc just gets better and better.
St. Stephen, Dark Star, The Eleven (another personal favorite) are all warhorses from Lesh's days with the Grateful Dead. If you've listened to the Grateful Dead at all, you've at least heard the clasic versions of these songs as they were captured on "Live/Dead." The performances by Phil and his friends pay homage to the "Live/Dead" versions without aping them. The music sparkles throughout. The closing cut, "The Eleven" is a joyful romp. Like the Dead, Phil and friends can truly swing in meters that would tie most bands in knots.
"There and Back Again" is a solid disc that holds up to repeated listenings. It rates close to four stars. However, as I said earlier, it's the bonus disc that's the real jewel here. It hasn't left my car's CD player since the first time I loaded it. The four live recordings included on this disc all rate as five star road music delux!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. Martin on May 26, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Yes Phil Lesh played bass for the Dead and yes he's been rehashing old tunes live on the music circuit but this CD is mostly original material served on a 70's style platter. It's somewhat of a cross between the Dead and the Allman Brothers with a little bit of Charley Daniels thrown in for flavor. For an old head like me it's quite refreshing to hear above the blur of Puff Daddy (whatever he calls himself) and Britney Spears. Not that I'm knocking them but well... I guess I am.
When I bought this I listened to it over a couple of beers with a friend who hates the Dead and he asked me, "Who is this?" Believe me this guy is a great friend, however, he is not one to convince of anything he wants nothing to do with. When I told him who it was he replied, "Never would have guessed. I think I kinda like it." And with that I found myself at one of lifes moments where you look back and shake your head.
What my point is: this is not just for Dead heads and the like, but anyone who enjoys good old Rock and Roll.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Curly Q. Link on October 29, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Reading the 20 other reviews preceding mine, I'm surprised at how divided the opinions are. I think the formula is... if you're an older Deadhead looking to repeat the Magic that was, and still is, the Grateful Dead, you'll be disinterested in the (first) CD full of wondrous new material, but "Grateful" for Bonus Disc 2 (and everyone agrees that you should get the special Limited Edition), which trods in faithful Dead territory. If you're an open-minded listener thirsting for music that is brand new, yet somehow strikes a familiar chord, then you will love this new CD, which i.m.h.o. is The Best New Album of Good Ol', Downhome, Straight-Ahead Rock in maybe 20 years. I've been following GD music since 1970, heard some awesome live shows, but as a singer-player-songwriter myself, I've always sought diversity. The fact is, it's getting harder & harder to do anything really ORIGINAL in the "pop" music arena anymore, especially since the name of the game is "Give 'em what they want"; I think Phil & co. have succeeded on both counts in a big way. Phil is admittedly proud of this record, as he says in the cyber-interview you can see if you buy the Ltd.Ed.,"...if I had to pick one or two songs from this album, I couldn't, because I think every song stands on its own, makes an impression..." It's really wonderful; 62 years old, after a life-saving transplant surgery, and here's Phil, still rocking with terrific, vital, fresh material, and...ON THE ROAD AGAIN!!! You've just gotta hand it to him; Phil Lesh is a real Rock & Roll Legend, just like Jerry Garcia. And the songs are great---Robert Hunter is in fine form, fabulous guitar playing from Haynes & Herring, grooves you won't lose... To the reviewer who called this "elevator music", I say: TURN IT UP, and you WILL be ELEVATED!!!Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Douglas LaRose on May 25, 2002
Format: Audio CD
How do you describe a Phil Lesh & Friends performance?
Enigmatic, narrative, electrifying, intense. The type of concert that will have you dancing in philisophical harmony, the music and lyrics bringing forth solutions to many unanswered questions that have lain dormant in your unconscious mind. Phil Lesh has a jazzmans creativity, a jaguars soul, and a relentless will to give.
You will not, however, find this type of action on "There and Back Again."
But let us look at the album itself, at the songs for what they are, and we will see that this is a finely executed record, with a lot of really good songs on it. I was never a big fan of the Grateful Dead's studio efforts, nor has anybody else ever been, but this is a damn fine album. "Celebration" brings us into the record, a pulsing song that is just bursting with positive energy, this song is everything that it's title implies. Songs of particular beauty are "The Real Thing," and "Patchwork Quilt," both allusions to the lives of artists, and the tragedy and struggle of expression. "Night of 1000 Stars" is definitely the song with the most commercial chance on this record, although I doubt that Phil Lesh will even pursue that road.
I definitely recommend buying the "Limited Edition" version of this album, because it contains REALLY GOOD live performances on the bonus disc, most notably the 18-minute "Dark Star."
And never forget Phil's message, become an organ donor, give blood, and never forget your dreams.
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