187

Grateful Dead: Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 2: April Fools' '88

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Grateful Dead: Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 2: April Fools' '88 Adorned with some of the most colorful packaging in the Grateful Dead's Road Trips archive series, Vol. 4 No. 2: April Fools' '88Jerry Garcia's survival of a near fatal coma in 1986 and the Dead's penetration into mainstream culture in 1987 following its hit, "Touch of Grey."

This was also a year after the group collaborated with Bob Dylan, so it's not surprising four covers of his songs appear on these three discs. The convoluted lyrics of "Ballad of a Thin Man" allows Bob Weir to channel the relish he brings to his singing that sometimes, as on his own "Estimated Prophet," leads him to become grievously overwrought, while Garcia's vocal on "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" sounds as heartfelt as if he wrote it with composing partner Robert Hunter.

That fruitful a partnership created the elegiac ballad "To Lay Me Down," and there the tenderness in the voice of the titular leader of this band is as noticeable as the frenzied vigor with which he rips through his closing statement on "Deal." On both the April 1st show, here in its entirety, and the previous night, from which the whole second set and more appear, Garcia's presence inspires both his band mates and the audience: hardly a vocal or a solo of his begins that is not greeted with hearty acclamation from the Meadlowlands' audience in New Jersey.

Near the end of the '80s, the Grateful Dead was ascending to a pinnacle of performing comparable to its best days in the previous two decades. On disc two, the ambitious interweaving of vintage original material, as well as covers including Traffic's "Dear Mr. Fantasy" (sung so emotively by keyboardist Brent Mydland), benefits tremendously from the excellent recording originally overseen by engineer Dan Healy. In addition, Jeffrey Norman's HDCD mastering brings out the detail in the septet's musicianship, including the snappy interaction between drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart—and not just on pithy "Rhythm Devils"/Space" interval, but their locked in tandem work during "I Need A Miracle."

Vol. 4 No. 2: April Fools' '88 features the same uniformity of design as the rest of the series, but this package does allow for the inclusion of some great full-color photos of the Grateful Dead onstage, mirroring the enthusiasm in its playing on the CDs. The shot of bassist Phil Lesh, smiling broadly across the stage at Garcia, is as moving, in its own way, as the solemnity on Mydland's face, as he gazes fondly at his elder comrade, while the shot of the latter with his arm raised high above his head is more than a little noteworthy for a man not usually so demonstrative. Jerry Garcia's energy is as palpable in the photograph as in his singing and playing on this release.


Track Listing: CD1: Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo; Jack Straw; To Lay Me Down; Ballad Of A Thin Man; When Push Comes To Shove; New Minglewood Blues; Cumberland Blues; Deal; When I Paint My Masterpiece; Let It Grow; Brokedown Palace. CD2: Scarlet Begonias; Fire On The Mountain; Samson and Delilah; Terrapin Station; Rhythm Devils; Space; Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad; I Need A Miracle; Dear Mr. Fantasy; Hey Jude; All Along The Watchtower; Knockin' on Heaven's Door. CD3: China Cat Sunflower; I Know You Rider; Estimated Prophet; Eyes Of The World; Rhythm Devils; Space; The Other One; Wharf Rat; Throwing Stones; Not Fade Away.

Personnel: Jerry Garcia: lead guitar, vocals; Bob Weir: rhythm guitar, vocals; Phil Lesh: bass, vocals; Brent Mydland: keyboards, vocals; Bill Kreutzmann: drums; Mickey hart: drums.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Grateful Dead/Rhino


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Like a Bird or Spirit, not a Face" CD/LP/Track Review Like a Bird or Spirit, not a Face
by John Eyles
Published: March 4, 2016
Read "Life After Life" CD/LP/Track Review Life After Life
by Troy Collins
Published: March 5, 2016
Read "Brass Tactics" CD/LP/Track Review Brass Tactics
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 28, 2016
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "The Space Between" CD/LP/Track Review The Space Between
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Miniatures" CD/LP/Track Review Miniatures
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!