Album of the Day: Grateful Dead (9/1/75)

51CMC2QFHAL._SL160_I am not a tie-dyed-in-the-wool Deadhead, but I’ve always been a big fan of the Grateful Dead, particularly their “middle years” and the run of excellent albums from Workingman’s Dead (1970) through Shakedown Street (1978). Like so many, I waited for the September 1, 1975 release of Blues For Allah, with much anticipation. Its predecessor, the generally upbeat From The Mars Hotel (1974) was one of their finest studio albums, and was to be a tough act to follow until Blues For Allah came around. From the 12-minute opening track fusing three musically disparate songs (“Help On The Way”, “Slipknot!” and “Franklin’s Tower”), Blues For Allah delivers almost an hour of vintage Dead, not their best but certainly a top notch mixture of the fluid, bluesy country-tinged rock that was their hallmark. The album marked the return of drummer Mickey Hart and the resumption of the two-drummer line-up that had been absent on the Dead’s studio albums since American Beauty in 1970. Blues For Allah also marked the highest chart position (Billboard Pop Albums #12) of any Dead record to that point, a mark that would stand until In The Dark (with the Top 10 single, “Touch Of Grey”) in 1987. Blues For Allah is available at Amazon and iTunes and the Dead’s best (from my perspective) are in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault.

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