Garcia’s solo album Reflections is superb from start to finish. One unique aspect about
this CD is that it is half his solo band and half the Grateful Dead.
With two different bands playing it is amazing
that the flow of the songs run seamlessly
together, especially since they are not sequenced separately.
the songs on this CD were regular rotations live, some with the
Jerry Garcia Band and some with the Grateful Dead. The songs devoted
to the Jerry Garcia band are among the strongest in his repertoire.
They include one original Garcia and Hunter composition “Mission in the Rain,”
and three covers, “Tore up Over You,” I'll Take a
Melody," and “Catfish John.” These four songs all
include Nicky Hopkins on piano, best known for his work with the Rolling
Stones. Garcia's interaction of the cover songs make them sound
as if they are his own, and the chilling tone he adds to
"Catfish John" is pure Jerry.
Hopkins and Garcia obviously had a strong musical
connection. Does anyone else think that Hopkins interaction with Garcia
brought the best out of him, especially with blues material?
question, this ranks with the best Jerry Garcia or Grateful Dead
studio releases. There are some jaw dropping live versions of some
of these tracks on the live CD Don't
Let Go that was recorded on May 26, 1976. by Barry
unreleased album Outtakes
the five bonus tracks the keyboard players vary. The first four
songs feature the Jerry Garcia Band; two with Nicky Hopkins, and two
with Larry Knechtel. The final track "Orpheus" is the
Grateful Dead with Keith Godchaux on keyboards.
first four tracks all offer a nice complement to the album and are
tracks that were never released before with this personnel. The rendition of
"Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie" sounds nothing like the
acoustic renditions he would perform in various settings including
the Jerry Garcia Acoustic
Band, both vocally and instrumentally. The other three
songs were concert rotations of the Jerry Garcia Band when Hopkins was a
member, August through December 1975, and they perfectly fit Hopkins
blues based style, though, Hopkins is not on this version of
final track, "Orpheus" features the Grateful Dead
personnel, and the track did not jump out as special. The tone is
much more Blues
For Allah based than Jerry Garcia Band. My opinion is
the track would be better served for that albums bonus material
which will likely occur in the future. Additional material featuring
Hopkins would have been my preference and would have slightly
improved the Reflections bonus material.
Good Things box set's sixth disc, Outtakes, Jams, and
Alternates has quite a few pieces from the Reflections