of the Sun
Anthem of the Sun shows the Grateful Dead vastly improved from their first album in
both in their development as musicians and
songwriters. As far as personnel they added a second
drummer to the mix, Mickey Hart. Interesting, this album is a
compilation of different live performances
and studio tracks meshed together.
Where their first album
is primarily cover
versions Anthem of the Sun is all original material. The compositions like "New Potato Caboose," "Alligator" and the "Cryptical Envelopment" suite
are complex and open ending. The songs were perfect for in concert improvisation, which is
the Grateful Dead's forte.
Overall the tone of Anthem of the Sun is psychedelic and is often
referred to as primal Dead.
Certainly the 1968 era of the Dead has
it's fan base. However, it is probable that if the Grateful
Dead did not change their tone from a psychedelic and blues they would have been another
forgotten 1960's San Francisco band.
The bonus material included on Anthem of
the Sun is a perfect complement not only to this release, but to their double
live CD Two From the
Vault. The additions were recorded at the same venue one a day
apart from this classic release.
The 30 minutes of "Alligator" > "Caution (Do not
Stop on Tracks)" is one of the best versions of the song.
For fans of Primal Dead, Anthem of the
Sun is a nice addition to a collection. For fans of the song
"Alligator" this album is essential. by Barry
Original Album - C +
Bonus Material - A
Final Grade -
The remastered version of Anthem of the Sun is
available in the box set The