CK 45056 Dylan & The Dead
Produced by Jerry Garcia and John Cutler
Released on January 30, 1989
US CHART POSITION #37 . . . GOLD RECORD (8/3/89) . . . UK CHART POSITION #38
Find it at GEMM
CK 45056 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

A tantalizing tag team to be sure, starring Dylan as the cranky saboteur and The Dead as his deferential backing band. We know the bard to be a creature of whimsy, enigmatic in his offhand performances of the old standards, but I had hoped that the Dead would rouse Dylan from sleepwalking through these once-green fields. Speculating that the singer couldn’t mind his wheel is nonsense, since I saw Dylan perform around this time and it was smooth sailing from beginning to end, but it was a mercurial wind that prevailed on this live outing with The Dead. The substance was there for greatness, but likely so was the substance abuse for failure. The Dead provide some pungent touches to Dylan’s music, as did The Rolling Thunder Revue (whom I’d give the nod here). The real albatross is Dylan’s voice, slurring through the words with all the conviction of a street bum, lumbering in a jagged line with the Dead at a reverential distance careful not to lap the leader. While the performance of “Joey” is easily dismissed, it did get me running to Desire again, and I’m thankful for that. But sitting through this is largely a thankless task for both factions. It does right itself some at the end with a lively version of “All Along The Watchtower” and the intriguing “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” (where Garcia had earlier knocked on Run For The Roses). Whether that’s enough of a carrot depends on how hungry you are. No doubt seeing Dylan and The Dead share a stage was worth the price of admission, but as an audio-only experience this is less than compelling. Dylan & The Dead isn’t awful, but relative to the talent in attendance (physically if not mentally) this live disc is a major disappointment.

CK 45056 back cover
CK 45056 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. SLOW TRAIN
  2. I WANT YOU
  3. GOTTA SERVE SOMEBODY
  4. QUEEN JANE APPROXIMATELY
  5. JOEY
  6. ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER
  7. KNOCKIN' ON HEAVEN'S DOOR

CREDITS

BOB DYLAN --
JERRY GARCIA --
MICKEY HART --
BILL KREUTZMANN --
PHIL LESH --
BRENT MYDLAND --
BOB WEIR --
John Cutler -- engineer
Guy Charbonneau -- engineer
Gary Hedden, David Roberts, Peter Miller, Billy Rothschild, Chris Wiskes -- additional engineers
Dan Healy -- concert sound
Rick Griffin -- cover art
Herb Greene -- photograph
Allen Weinberg -- layout

return to GRATEFUL DEAD discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US February 1989 Columbia LP/CD OC/CK 45056 picture sleeve
UK January 30, 1989 CBS/Sony LP/CD/CS 463381  
BRA 1989 CBS LP 177130 picture sleeve

 

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