summer album of the week 08/28/10

grateful dead: blues for allah (released august 1975)

grateful dead: blues for allah (released august 1975)

On its third and final album as a fully independent band, the Grateful Dead looked inward on Blues for Allah by covering multiple musical bases. It served up bright, trippy Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter gems like Franklin’s Tower, Help on the Way and Crazy Fingers that would become staples of the band’s live shows for the rest of its working life. There was also a blatant and quite credible stab at a radio single in Bob Weir and John Barlow’s The Music Never Stopped. But the jackpot was the title track, a three-piece suite that morphed from an Eastern-inspired chant to a bluesy American wail before heading abroad again. Factor in a level of musicianship that was stylistically broad but atypically lean, along with cover art by Philip Garris that was as exact and animated as the music, and you had what still stands as the Grateful Dead’s last truly great studio work.



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