ARTIST: The Grateful Dead
TITLE: Anthem of the Sun
YEAR RELEASED: 1968
CHART ACTION: #87
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: That’s It for the Other One, Alligator
LINEUP: Jerry Garcia, Tom Constanten, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, Pigpen McKernan, Bob Weir.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second album by the Dead records them at their trippiest, and uses an unusual blend of live and studio recordings that works at times but is off-putting at other times.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This record finds the Dead exploring the studio and trying to replicate their live sound and feel as best they could. To do that, the band decided to integrate some live performance into their studio songs. That way the sound could be trippy, chaotic and as psychedelic as it could be.
It works a bit, though the vocals from the live shows sound flat compared to the studio vocals. There are four long tracks here, plus a single B-side. Those long tracks are the essence of the Dead in 1968. They start on a theme, then devolves into solos, freakouts and other shenanigans, and it may come back to the original theme, it may not.
“Alligator” is more typical of a Dead instrumental workout that everyone knows and loves. “That’s It for the Other One” ends with madness and noise. Those are the highlights. The other tracks seems to be lesser versions of those two ideas.
Again, this isn’t a ‘starter’ Dead album but one for fans that understand the points of their jams and also don’t mind trippy sidelights.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Dark Star” – the famous song that has produced many 20+ minute jams, was released as a single about this time – a single that timed at 2:44.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Live cuts, the single mix of “Born Cross-Eyed” and “Feedback”.
GRADE: B: There are many interesting parts here, and they outnumber the head-scratching parts. But they let it all hang out, man.