Grateful Dead - Wake of the Flood Vinyl LP (Rocktober 2018 Exclusive)
Grateful Dead Wake of the Flood Vinyl LP (Rocktober 2018 Exclusive)
For the Grateful Dead, Wake of the Flood ushered in an exciting new era of change and potential. The band elected to depart Warner Bros. and start its own record label. A new lineup emerged after keyboardist/vocalist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan passed away and the group landed jazz-schooled pianist Keith Godchaux and his wife, Donna, who gave the ensemble a new option in the form of a dedicated backing vocalist.
Having road-tested a batch of new originals, the collective eagerly sought to expand its broad musical palette in the form of a large-scale studio LP that involves horn sections, violin, and choral figures. Diverse, unique, and mellow, 1973’s Wake of the Flood overflows with the luminous vision, stellar songwriting, and ensemble reciprocity made possible by its historical circumstances and inspired creators.
And every tune here is first-rate, good ol’ Grateful Dead. Two separate albeit symbiotically related songwriting teams—Garcia/Hunter and Weir/Barlow—guide excursions into forget-all-your-troubles country-rock (“Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo”), spirit-boosting funk-cum-psychedelia (“Eyes of the World”), mournfully bracing blues balladry (“Stella Blue), and reassuring folk-rock (“Here Comes Sunshine”). Akin to the album’s overall mood, the latter track progressively unfolds, each passage blooming with additional optimism, fortitude, and purpose.
Similarly, the lyrical clouds and thunder ultimately pass on Weir’s beautifully complex and terrifically executed three-part “Weather Report Suite,” a team effort that represents one of the rare occasions of the Dead pairing with a horn section. A live favorite for many years, the tune never possessed onstage the atmosphere-filling soundscapes and theme-enhancing instrumental elements that it does here. Is there a better way to conclude a masterpiece that subconsciously reflects dawning of a new era and the indefatigable hope that comes with it? Doubtful.
Grateful Dead Wake of the Flood Track Listing:
1. "Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo" (Hunter, Garcia)
2. "Let Me Sing Your Blues Away" (Hunter, Godchaux)
3. "Row Jimmy" (Hunter, Garcia)
4. "Stella Blue" (Hunter, Garcia)
5. "Here Comes Sunshine" (Hunter, Garcia)
6. "Eyes of the World" (Hunter, Garcia)
7. "Weather Report Suite"
"Part I" (Weir, Anderson)
"Part II (Let It Grow)" (Barlow, Weir)
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