Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Dead Revival?

Growing up a fan of Bruce Hornsby and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, I always liked music from the same general world as the Grateful Dead. But I never got to love the Dead, and that may have been because I was wary of Deadheads; I subscribed (and still do) to the view that once Jerry Garcia died, some Deadheads invaded Bruce Hornsby concerts expecting him to take up Captain Trips' mantle. My Deadhead English teacher, who played recordings of Dead concerts every day in the classroom, even game me a tape of the The Other Ones, who were led by Hornsby and let Deadheads pretend their band still existed.

Well, while at the beach recently, I picked up a biography of Jerry Garcia for no reason other than the cover looked nice. The day I returned to Philly, I bought four Dead albums at Tower, including Live/Dead and Skull & Roses. When track 1, "Bertha," of the latter came on, I lost myself. I thought I was in 10th grade again, getting set for the start of a Macbeth discussion. As I listen, I'm impressed, giving the band a chance based on Phil Lesh's twisty basslines and the songs' generally nice, feelgood, happy springtime feel. I don't know if I'll become a Deadhead, but I do know that I'd ask Bruce Hornsby to play his own stuff before requesting "Wharf Rat."


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