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Dave McMurray: Grateful Deadication 2


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Dave McMurray: Grateful Deadication 2
Yet another Grateful Dead tribute will probably invite the same reactions from devotees and anyone else—either "oh, these songs again? " or "Hmm, these songs again?" For anyone willing to take a look, it will (of course) come down to the way the material is presented and retooled, which in Dave McMurray's case means the sound of Detroit. His saxophone reflects his roots in Motown and soul no matter what he does, and so Grateful Deadication 2 flavors these songs with B3-tinged funk and an occasional dash of Motor City madness.

There is room for some authentically Dead-like touches along the way; "China Cat Sunflower" gets an interlude of light pastoral flute, and Jamey Johnson croons "To Lay Me Down" with from-the-heart simplicity over the kind of warm pedal-steel guitar Jerry Garcia always wished he could play. Overall, though, it leans more toward urban street party than hippie jam, from a "Truckin'" reggae-fied by way of Booker T. Washington to the N'awlins street romp of "Scarlet Begonias" for a sunshine-filled highlight.

The stereotypical helping of stoner's psychedelia would not really fit with this sound (and is not the important thing about Dead music anyway), so any offbeat wildness comes from the band's own cooking chemistry instead. The semi-atonal structure of "The Other One" cannot help feeling a little odd even when played with no weird effects. "Crazy Fingers" steams to the finish with McMurray simply wailing his head off. The spirit behind this Deadication is one of love and soul, and this particular dressing provides plenty to enjoy.

Track Listing

Playing in the Band; China Cat Sunflower; Bird Song; To Lay Me Down; Truckin’; The Other One; If I Had the World to Give; Scarlet Begonias; Crazy Fingers.


Dave McMurray: saxophone; Wayne Gerard: guitar; Maurice O’Neal: keyboards; Luis Resto: piano; Ibrahim Jones : bass; Jeff Canady: drums; Larry Fratangelo: percussion.

Additional Instrumentation

Jamey Johnson: vocals (4); Greg Leisz: pedal steel (4); Larry Campbell: guitar (4); Don Was: bass (4); Bob James: piano (6-7); Oteil Burbridge: vocals (8).

Album information

Title: Grateful Deadication 2 | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

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