50 Years of The Grateful Dead

grateful dead

The Grateful Dead has the most devoted following of any rock band in history, but also has its fair share of detractors. Jim and Greg reexamine the legacy of The Grateful Dead as the band celebrates its 50th anniversary.

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The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead celebrated its 50th anniversary in July with a series of farewell shows at Soldier Field in Chicago. We’re using that as an opportunity to reexamine the legacy of the controversial band. The Dead formed in the Bay Area in the 1960s and featured a core membership of guitarists Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, keyboardist Ron Pigpen McKernan, bassist Phil Lesh, drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, with important contributions from lyricist Robert Hunter. Though it was the prototypical jam band, The Dead’s sound was much more eclectic and harder to pin down than that sometimes derisive term indicates, incorporating free jazz, psychedelia, bluegrass, blues, early rock ‘n’ roll, and more.

The Dead built a community of devoted fans who would travel with the band from town to town, some of whom would tape the performances and share the recordings, which the band encouraged. Though Deadheads contend the true essence of the band was experienced in its experimental live shows, Jim has little patience for the erratic performances and instead prefers the band’s early studio recordings. Greg argues that The Dead was a consistently great live band during its peak in the ‘70s, before drugs took their toll and the surprise 1987 chart hit Touch of Grey altered the fanbase. Garcia, who died in 1995, was an irreplaceable musical genius, and the band leaves behind a legacy of experimentation, eclecticism, and an unparalleled musical community.

Jim’s Grateful Dead Picks

  • The Grateful Dead
  • Anthem of the Sun
  • Aoxomoxoa
  • Live/Dead
  • The Golden Road (1965-1973)

Greg’s Grateful Dead Picks

  • Workingman’s Dead
  • American Beauty
  • Live/Dead
  • Dick’s Picks Volume 4
  • Dick’s Picks Volume 8

Summertime '06 Vince Staples

Summertime ‘06

The year 2015 has been a prosperous time for rap and hip hop, with Fetty Wap, Wiz Khalifa, A.$.A.P. Rocky, and Silento dominating the charts. However, a new and different kind of artist has emerged with the debut album Summertime ‘06 from California rapper, Vince Staples. An ode to growing up in his native Long Beach, Greg finds Staples to be very talented in both writing and articulating his perspective. He compares Summertime ‘06 to early works by gangster rappers like N.W.A. and likes how he gives a lens into a culture that no one else is really talking about right now. It’s a Buy It from Greg. Jim agrees and says that gangster rap can easily become misogynistic and pro-violence sounding, but that’s not really what Staples is interested in doing. Jim compares him to artists like Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper, but wishes that Vince would write more about the sense of community and positivity in the neighborhoods like Kendrick and Chance do. However, he believes Staples is a very important voice and give Summertime ‘06 a Buy It.

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