Anthem of Sun Import
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"Anthem Of The Sun" captures the psychedelic Dead in its prime and is a mindblower to listen to with headphones. The album itself is a carefully constructed mix of studio and live recordings along with a tedious but rewarding editing and mixing job and wild studio effects.
Tracks such as "The Other One", "Aligator" and "Caution" have since become Grateful Dead classics and are among many a Deadheads favorites.
The bonus material on the Rhino remaster is a complete unedited live recording of "Alligator", "Caution" and "Feedback" captured at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles in August 1968. This is worth the price of the reissue alone as it features the band fully jamming with the ignition turned up to full - a prime example of when the band members were all on the same wavelength, they truly gave it their all.
As a hidden bonus track, an alternate mix of "Born Cross-Eyed" is featured which includes an additional 30-seconds of feedback sound collage in its fadeout.
As mentioned above, The Grateful Dead had already turned a corner with "Anthem Of The Sun" and this was ONLY their second album. It all depends on which Deadhead you talk to when asking what the bands greatest album is.Read more ›
The song list on ANTHEM includes most of the new material the band was performing in concert in '67-'68. Some of ANTHEM was recorded in the studio, the rest is a collage of concert recordings (anywhere from a half dozen to a dozen, it's hard to tell) faded in and out chaotically by Garcia and Lesh. They say they "mixed it for the hallucinations," and that effectively describes the album's ambience.
Apart from the chaos, ANTHEM includes some nice melodies - particularly "Cryptical Envelopment" and "New Potato Caboose."
"Alligator" is the great original Dead jam/dance number. It lurches forward from complete goofiness to a kind of wriggling rhythmic grandeur; then Garcia steps in and propels the tune into Pigpen's bluesy voodoo-love rap, "Caution: Do Not Stop On Tracks." This finale builds gradually, deceptively grows calm and then explodes into feedback & electronic squeaks and squawks, cymbal crashes, just a whole lot of noise.
They don't make albums like ANTHEM OF THE SUN anymore.
The bonus material is of the same vintage as the live TWO FROM THE VAULT recordings, and it demonstrates how these ANTHEM numbers sounded before they received the studio treatment (including, but not limited to, the famous kazoos on "Alligator"). Great performance from start to finish. The CD also includes a hidden bonus track, well worth the search.
Only 4 stars because the ANTHEM mix is somewhat crude & sloppy, though that's a natural outcome when drug-addled amateurs take over the studio. Dick's Picks 22 and Volume 6 of the Dead Download Series make some of album's source material available in the raw, but the artificial ANTHEM is still one of my favorite Dead discs.
Anthem shows an uninhibited originality and a sense of total freedom. The song names are sometimes a bit too far out, but unlike the "sound" names like "Alligator" and "The other one" they mercifully didn't survive.
I love all of the record. Side one starts off with "Cryptical envelopment" segueing into "The other one" and back to "Cryptical" again. These songs hardly need any explanation, as there are many concert versions. The sections that follow are a bit obscure, but beautiful, while the last song on side one, "Born Cross-eyed", should have been performed more often, I think. Curiously enough, the cd ending differs from the lp ending, and I don't think it's an improvement (and where are the liner notes to explain the changes ?). As side one can be dubbed the "studio side", side two is the "live side". Two great songs, "Alligator" and "Caution", really evoke a concert experience, and although the recording is arguably poor, the atmosphere and quality of the playing more than compensate for this flaw.
"Anthem" always seems to be standing in the shadows of its younger brothers (like "Live Dead" and "American Beauty"), which is in itself no shame. But unlike any other Dead album its impact resembles that of witnessing a rare and beautiful flower, sweeping one into a lost and magical world.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is grate that this has been re-released with Bonus Tracks !Published 4 months ago by george jefferson
This has always been one of my favorite GD LPs and in this expanded form it cannot be beat. The way the various sources were mixed on the original release always really intrigued... Read morePublished 5 months ago by jbwelda
This release introduced the excellent improvisations that made the band famous. I bought the LP back in 1972. I think it was actually released circa 1968. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Randy Spotts