ALB6-8367 Bobby And The Midnites
Produced by Gary Lyons
Released on 1981
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
ALB6-8367 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

I ’ve been living in the prison of the pedant lately (as opposed to, say, the shadow of the hierophant), scratching out terrible reviews for the edification of imaginary readers. Part of the problem is a lack of inspiration; albums like Bobby And The Midnites just don’t kindle a fire under anyone’s tongue. I usually go into the tangential catacombs of the Dead tempered for failure. I may find an authentic, functional piece of pottery (“Josephine”) or a fragment of The Dead’s treasure trove (“Festival,” “Haze”), but nothing that’s going to displace American Beauty. In fact, I’ve been given to administering the Shakedown on tangential Dead records these days; i.e., comparing these works to Shakedown Street, generally regarded as one of the Dead’s less inspired outings from the ‘70s. And the truth is, Shakedown Street is a better record than Bobby And The Midnites. That bit of unpleasantness out of the way, the fact is that Bobby And The Midnites is still a pretty good rock record. It’s more electric and eclectic than Jerry Garcia’s Run For The Roses, while sharing the same affection for reggae on tracks like “(I Want To) Fly Away” and “Book of Rules.” As with many “solo” Dead records (this is correctly billed as a Bob Weir record on the elpee spine), the erstwhile attraction is just another member of the band, mixed in among familiar faces (Matthew Kelly, Brent Mydland) and established names (Billy Cobham, Bobby Cochran, Alphonso Johnson). Despite the presence of some serious chops (who wouldn’t like a rhythm section of Cobham and Johnson?), Bob Weir and the band stick to straightahead rock arrangements. No trippy side paths crop out, no intertwined guitar dances occur and even Weir’s interest in traditional blues songs is held in check. Instead, the music suggests the contemporary work of Pete Townshend, Bruce Springsteen and the small army of San Francisco stars who were inching toward studio rock as a means to stay relevant in the ‘80s (Graham Nash, Jefferson Airplane, et cetera). As these mid-career records go, Bobby And The Midnites is better than expected. Ace is still the place to start, but Bobby And The Midnites is nothing to be scared of.

ALB6-8367 back cover ALB6-8367 lyric sleeve
ALB6-8367 back cover ALB6-8367 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. HAZE    (Music: Bob Weir/Bobby Cochran/Matthew Kelly, Lyrics: Bob Weir/Shaw/Brent Mydland)    5:08
  2. TOO MANY LOSERS    (Bob Weir/Bobby Cochran)    3:50
  3. FAR AWAY    (Music: Bobby Cochran/Matthew Kelly/Bob Weir, Lyrics: Bob Weir)    3:34
  4. BOOK OF RULES    (Johnsen/Llewellyn)    3:31
  5. ME, WITHOUT YOU    (Music: Alphonso Johnson, Lyrics: John Barlow/Alphonso Johnson)    3:12
  6. JOSEPHINE    (Bob Weir)    6:11
  7. (I WANT TO) FLY AWAY    (Bob Weir/John Barlow)    3:55
  8. CARRY ME    (Bob Weir)    4:27
  9. FESTIVAL    (Bob Weir)    4:59

CREDITS

BOB WEIR -- guitar, vocals
BILLY COBHAM -- drums, vocals
BOBBY COCHRAN -- guitar, vocals
ALPHONSO JOHNSON -- bass, vocals
MATTHEW KELLY -- harmonica, vocals
BRENT MYDLAND -- keyboards, vocals
John Barlow -- lyrical supervision
Gary Lyons -- engineer
John Cutler, Gregory Mann, Peter Thea -- additional engineering
Elizabeth Fenimore -- photography
Victor Moscoso -- album cover

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US 1981 Arista LP AL5-8148 lyric sleeve
NET 1981 Arista LP 204175 lyric sleeve
US   Arista LP ALB6-8367 lyric sleeve
US   Arista LP AL-9568  
US   Arista CD/CS ARCD/AC-8558  
US January 4, 2005 Grateful Dead CD 78991 digital remaster

 

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