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Workingman's Dead (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
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Workingman's Dead (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
WORKINGMAN’S DEAD: 50th ANNIVERSARY DELUXE EDITION is available as a three-CD set and digital equivalents featuring the original album with newly remastered sound, plus an unreleased complete concert recorded on February 21, 1971 at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY. The show was mixed from the 16-track analog master tapes by Jeffrey Norman at Bob Weir’s Marin County TRI Studios, David Glasser, along with restoration and speed correction by Plangent Processes. 2/21/71 delivers a plethora of songs from both Workingman’s Dead and the band’s follow-up album, American Beauty. Some highlights include Weir’s moving vocal take on “Me and Bobby McGee,” Pigpen’s whiskey-seasoned growl on “Easy Wind” and a stellar run through “Uncle John’s Band” to close out the show.
This three-CD set includes the original album with newly remastered sound, plus an unreleased concert recorded on February 21, 1971 at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY. The show was mixed from the 16-track analog master tapes by Jeffrey Norman at Bob Weir’s Marin County TRI Studios and mastered by Grammy® Award-winning engineer, David Glasser. A departure from Grateful Dead’s historically psychedlic & experimental works, WORKINGMAN’S DEAD brought the song craft of Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter to the forefront in this now iconic Americana album, which will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2020.
- Product Dimensions : 5.47 x 5.04 x 0.91 inches; 6.63 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Grateful Dead Production
- Original Release Date : 2020
- Date First Available : May 5, 2020
- Label : Grateful Dead Production
- ASIN : B0882NXWCX
- Number of discs : 3
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This is the first time that the band really focused on their vocals (after hearing what Crosby Stills and Nash were doing) and it paid off in a big way. Along with the American Beauty album (with cover graphics that can also be read as "American Reality"), the band went in a different direction with a more relaxed kind of sound and feel. And each of the eight tracks on the original album stand alone as some of the nicest sounding music the band ever made.
Disc 1 is the original album in cleaner remastered sound. If you're reading this then you're no doubt familiar with the album, so not much has to be said about how good it is. And while I wish that the accompanying extra music represented more of the original album, this show from '71 is pretty darn good, with four songs from Workingman's Dead and three from American Beauty. Throughout this show are tunes from those albums along with other songs that represent where the band was starting to head. Good versions of "Bertha", "Ripple", "Sugar Magnolia", and other tunes help lay out the band's newer sound. But also here are songs from earlier days like the band's nod to the blues with "I'm A King Bee", plus early stuff like "Cold Rain And Snow", "Beat It On Down The Line", and their take on rock 'n' roll with "Johnny B. Goode". There's a great almost ten minute version of "Wharf Rat", a nice "Truckin'", plus 17 minutes of the dance tune "Good Lovin'". The show ends with a good version of "Uncle John's Band". Taken as a whole this is a great snapshot of the band live in '71.
The discs snap into trays inside the four-fold cardboard package that has a slot for the 14 page booklet plus a track list for each live disc. There's a fairly lengthy essay by noted rock writer David Fricke, a note from producer David Lemieux, and small period photos of the band. Everything fits into a cardboard slipcase which has a really nice looking lenticular graphic of the original cover photo on the slipcase like previous 50th Anniversary editions. And look for the 50th Anniversary edition of of "American Beauty" coming in late October.
"Workingman's Dead" illustrates Robert Hunter's enduring sense of frontier myth that dovetails perfectly into Jerry Garcia's living of folk, blues and country and western that's always routed through him. And every one of Jerry's melodies is a knockout. Robert's allusions to the Altamont debacle in the blues groove of "New Speedway Boogie" could have been written during the Gilded Age yet his words have equal pertinence in 2020 - "One way or another this darkness got to give". The riveting "Black Peter" is facing the end of the line. Never has Jerry's voice sounded more emotive than on this cut. It's a cry from the heart and one of the most chill-inducing songs I've ever heard in all my years. And that's a lot of years. This newly remastered sound is brighter than my 2003 copy which was great for then. Now, the guitars and voices ring more clearly.
Discs two and three embrace the Dead's continued fixation in Americana tradition by bringing it to the Capitol Theater stage at Port Chester, NY. Yes, it road-tests new songs such as "Bertha" and "Playing in the Band" which they would improve along the way. In fact, this show documents an emerging picture to their famous "Skull and Roses" live album.
Down one drummer with Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann picks up the slack with his jazzy inflections. Though the concert is more song-oriented, the Dead don't entirely abandon their improvisatory nature. Old standby "China Cat Sunflower" and newly-tried "Bird Song" leap out for the guitar-bass interplay between Jerry and Phil Lesh. Then there's the unforgettable Pigpen who's a magnetic presence on this show. His vocal/harmonica work on Slim Harpo's "I'm a King Bee" is a marvel. Add to that Jerry's extraordinary guitar solo and you get a version that's wholly more believable than the one the Rolling Stones covered in 1964. Pig also injects new life in a great eight-minute blues workout of "Easy Wind". You just know he's got that audience right in the palm of his hand.
In conclusion, "Workingman's Dead" is one of those rare records in my collection that I've always regarded as a stone-cold classic but whose aura has actually intensified. In a cool paradox, it sounds older and fresher each successive time I listen to it. You can safely crack open your wallets for this latest release by this crucially human band. Come hear Uncle John's Band once again.
Top reviews from other countries
Donc ici nous avons outre le disque original de 1970 , un concert datant du 21 février 1971 dans son intégralité soit 24 titres venant bien sûr de "Workingman's Dead" mais aussi d'"American Beauty" qui comme mentionné auparavant était sorti fin 70.
Remarquable en tous points comme souvent avec les archives du Dead, le son est fabuleux , remarquablement restauré , la basse de Lesh nettement mise en valeur . Le répertoire a délaissé (momentanément) les titres aux résonances psychédéliques pour des morceaux folk/blues/rock plus ramassés . Le second batteur Mickey Hart est absent , ayant préféré se mettre en retrait après la découverte des détournements de fonds dont son père s'est rendu coupable au détriment du groupe. En revanche Pig Pen est toujours là (plus pour longtemps hélas...) son timbre de voix si caractéristique et son harmonica apportent une empreinte blues bienvenue ,sur "Easy Wind" et "I'm a king bee" entre autre.
Les Deadheads auront remarqué qu'un autre concert donné au Capitol Theatre de Port Chester est déjà paru en 2007 sous l'appellation "Three from the vault" , show du 19/02/70 soit deux jours avant celui ci , avec une set list assez différente .