My Favorite Records:3 from the Grateful Dead

This is the another installment in my series of favorite records.

We’re into the G’s, which means that I’m faced with which Grateful Dead records to put on this list.

I am a long, long time Grateful Dead fan. I own most of their studio records and many of their archive releases. I saw them in concert numerous times and named my oldest child after one of their songs.

So which records should I pick for this list?

Aoxomoxoa, with St. Stephen and China Cat is great. Workingman’s Dead is an acoustic masterpiece that cemented the love that Europe ’72, my initiation to the Dead, began.

Mars Hotel has three of my favorite Dead numbers: China Doll, Scarlet Begonias and Pride of Cucamonga. Blues for Allah is an improvisational masterpiece.

Reckoning has my favorite version of Dire Wolf and the version of the song that I named Cassidy after.

It’s a really tough choice.

I’m going to swallow hard and pick just three.

Blues for Allah
Europe ’72

And the one that if you made me pick would be my favorite-

American Beauty

If I was in a fantasy record league, I’d start American Beauty every game. I challenge anyone to find a record with stronger songs from beginning to end. I can honestly say that there’s not a song on the record that I’d rank less than a 9.5 on a 10 scale, and there may just be 10 straight 10’s on this record.

I could easily add several more Grateful Dead records to this list. Then you add all of the archive recordings which have been released over the years and you end up with the most impressive collection of music ever assembled by a band not called the Rolling Stones.

If I had to pick only one band to listen to, the Dead would beat out the Allman Brothers based partially on a larger catalog. Almost every Grateful Dead record is a magical experience. Add in the live recordings and you have a lifetime of great music.