WS 1790 Aoxomoxoa
Arranged by The Grateful Dead
Released on June 20, 1969
US CHART POSITION #73 . . . GOLD RECORD (5/13/97)
Find it at GEMM
WS 1790 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

A nagrams, epigrams and laidback jams . . . oh my. Aoxomoxoa marks the beginning of the band’s best music, exemplified on tracks like “St. Stephen” and “Dupree’s Diamond Blues.” Much of the credit belongs to new lyricist Robert Hunter, whose pithy observations would help to define the Dead. And yet, the psychedelic touches are still too pronounced, too precious on Aoxomoxoa, diluting what would otherwise be a hearty endorsement. Specifically, Jerry Garcia as cosmic cantor on “What’s Become of the Baby” is exactly the sort of song that CD makers had in mind when they invented the skip button. That sideshow and “Rosemary” could sink a lesser album; fortunately, Aoxomoxoa is buoyed by tracks like “Doin’ That Rag” and “Cosmic Charlie.” Even the brittle “Mountains of the Moon” makes for a pretty musical box. I tend to listen to the first side of this and leave the second side alone (if I could swap “Cosmic Charlie” with “Rosemary” I’d never flip it over at all). Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty are albums you listen to end to end; Aoxomoxoa’s genius comes in spurts and fits. Although the Dead always remained psychedelic in spirit, it didn’t confine them, it didn’t define them the way it does here. Yet when I tally up my favorite Dead albums, this invariably makes the list. Not everyone likes it, but “one man gathers what another man spills.”

WS 1790 back cover
WS 1790 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. ST. STEPHEN
  2. DUPREE'S DIAMOND BLUES
  3. ROSEMARY
  4. DOIN' THAT RAG
  5. MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON
  6. CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER
  7. WHAT'S BECOME OF THE BABY
  8. COSMIC CHARLIE

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  9. CLEMENTINE JAM
  10. NOBODY'S SPOONFUL
  11. THE ELEVEN JAM
  12. COSMIC CHARLIE (LIVE)

    Words by Robert Hunter, Tunes by Jerry Garcia & Phil Lesh

CREDITS

TOM CONSTANTEN -- keyboards
JERRY GARCIA -- guitars & vocals
MICKEY HART -- percussion
BILL KREUTZMANN -- percussion
PHIL LESH -- basses & vocals
RON McKERNAN -- Pig Pen
BOB WEIR -- guitars & vocals
Debbie -- supporting musician
Peter Grant -- supporting musician
Marma-Duke (John Dawson) -- supporting musician
Mouse -- supporting musician
David Nelson -- supporting musician
Wendy -- supporting musician
Bob Matthews -- executive engineer
Betty Cantor -- engineer (hot dog!)
Dan Healy -- consulting engineer
Owsley -- consulting engineer
Ron Wickershim -- consulting engineer
Rick Griffin -- cover illustration

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REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US June 20, 1969 Warner Bros. LP 1790  
UK October 1969 Warner Bros. LP K 46027  
US September 1971 Warner Bros. LP WS 1790 remixed in 1971
US 1987 Warner Bros. CD/CS 1790  
UK 1989 WEA CD 927178  
US February 25, 2003 Rhino CDX 74394 digital remaster w. bonus tracks

 

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