Dire Wolf - The Grateful Dead (1970)
Many people (outside of the colorful world of Deadheads) consider Workingman's Dead and its sister album American Beauty as the finest albums The Grateful Dead ever recorded. While Blues For Allah, Terrapin Station and Anthem Of The Sun all hold special places in my heart, I have to agree with this broad statement. In a career that inspired every Jam Band that came after, the Dead truly represent their soul on these two albums (Much in the way that The Band could easily be summarized by the back-to-back twins of Music From The Big Pink and their self-titled second disc.). Today's track could have been written a hundred years before on the wild prairie, but it was written in California in 1970 with the aftertaste of the sixties hanging heavily on the nation's tongue. The Dead's back-to-basics approach wasn't the first of its kind (That would be Dylan), but it inspired just as many artists as its predecessors. Listening today to this milestone is just as fresh as it must have been way back when, thanks to rhino's exhaustive reissuing campaign. Enjoy this music on a spring afternoon,on the porch, with a fine craft beer in your hand. You'll feel the smile creep over your face right before you sing along to the chorus.