The Grateful Dead – Workingman’s Dead (LP)
Label: Warner Bros. Records – 46049
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue
Rights Society: SACEM SDRM SACD SGDL
Price Code (Circled): U
Original cat number: WS 1869
Matrix / Runout (Label side A): 39719
Matrix / Runout (Label side B): 39720
A1 Uncle John’s Band 4:42
A2 High Time 5:13
A3 Dire Wolf 3:13
A4 New Speedway Boogie 4:05
B1 Cumberland Blues 3:15
B2 Black Peter 5:42
B3 Easy Wind 4:59
B4 Casey Jones 4:24
Record Company – Warner Bros. Records Inc.
Distributed By – Kinney Filipacchi Music S.A.
Printed By – Offset France
Artwork, Design – Mouse Studios, Toon N Tree
Recorded at Pacific High Recording Studio, San Francisco
(C) 1970 – Warner Bros. Records Inc.
Vinyl and Cover in very fine condition.
++++++++++++++++ A classic album even non-Deadheads could enjoy, the first record they made as a group. Though it took months of writing and practicing it’s a simple and direct album about “work”, recorded in just nine days. The cover photo is of the DeaD with Robert Hunter. During these days the group introduced acoustic sets in their concerts. Gram Parsons, C,S,N & Young and The Band influenced the DeaD. The songs display a balance of caution and optimism and the album received an inordinate amount of air-play on the radio in America. An ‘extremely positive’ record despite the things happening at the time; the bust in New Orleans with a threat of a jail sentence plus all the hassles involving Lenny Hart. NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE was written after the Altamont drama. HIGH TIME is a mourning abouth the death of the Haight-Ashbury scene. Pigpen issues his self fulfilled death in EASY WIND, which was entirely written by Robert Hunter. BLACK PETER is a blues about a man on his death bed and a plaintive cry of life. CASEY JONES is an cocaine song, it actually begins with a snort. UNCLE JOHN’S BAND is a sing a long about people pulling together into a brave and loving community in frightening times. These last two songs became regulars on FM Radio ++++++++++++++++
nr. 1 Off course they don’t sing as pretty as C,S,N & Y, prettiness would trivialize these songs. There is a naturally stoned bemusement in their good times. ROCK ALBUMS OF THE 70’S, Robert Cristgeau. (rating: A)
nr. 2 Third rate next to SWEETHEART OF THE RODEO, much less anything Gram Parsons ever recorded on his own, but it has a sweet ingenuousness that renders it bearable. * * * Mr. Dave Marsh of R.S. RECORD GUIDE again
nr. 3 This album marked the band’s big switch to acoustic, country- orientated material. This album was really Robert Hunter’s “coming out” as a great lyricist too. There are no weak songs on this album, and most are bona fide DeaD classics. HIGH TIME, though awkwardly sung, is one of Garcia’s prettiest melodies, EASY WIND is a neglected masterpiece. * * * * * BLAIR JACKSON, THE MUSIC NEVER STOPPED, 1983
nr. 4 From the grainy cover shot to the pared-down arrangements to the work-a-day concerns expressed in the lyrics, marks a definitive move back to basics. None more so than CUMBERLAND BLUES, the rollicking bluegrass tune about hardworking Appalachian miners that’s most likely a metaphore for the itinerant musician’s life. For the first time in their musical lives, Grateful Dead were going in the same direction. JAMIE JENSEN
nr. 5 A beautiful album that takes some time to get into. Quite a change in compare to ANTHEM and AOXOMOXOA. Very simple in approach, with nice harmonies and a beautiful mix between acoustic instruments and percussion. Much of these songs became Grateful Dead standards. Their first successful studio album. BLACK PETER is a gem, very delicate, a natural born Garcia/Hunter song. EASY WIND is a reminder that the band hasn’t lost it power and CASEY JONES is a nice DeaD/NRPS crossover. * * * * ERIK SCHOTHANS, July 1992
nr. 6 Like a lot of the music of the day, WORKINGMAN’S DEAD reflected a more basic approach, a more human sound. True. after Dylan’s John Wesley Harding’s and Crosby, Stills and Nash’s debut, the DeaD were late in getting on the bandwagon, but it probably took them a little longer to come back down to earth. Though it’s lacks the knock-you-on-your-fucking-ass attack of EXILE ON MAIN STREET or the anthemic bombast of DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN, WORKINGMAN’S DEAD makes up for it with its quiet humility and honest lack of pretension. Recently, my girlfriend was out of town (she likes Jane’s Addition, Pearl Jam, you get the picture), so as I did my review, I was able to listen to my subject without feeling too emberrassed. I’ll tell you, with some of the shit that’s been going on lately, these tunes ring truer than ever. Twenty-two years later, I’ll take NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE over COP KILLER any day. “One way or another, this darkness has got to give…” BRIAN BELLEN, HOBOKEN, USA (ROLLING STONE, nov. 1992)
nr. 7 Contained in one of the most beautiful and distinctive sleeves you’ll ever see…one that matches the music perfectly. The Dead have finally made a near-enough perfect studio album. All eight tracks are excellent, mature country-flavoured songs, concisely arranged and meticulously performed. They managed to condense every unique element of their style into songs, revealing themselves to be immensely disciplined musicians… Their vocals had improved beyond all recognition as well, the result of hanging out with Crosby, Stills & Nash who were working with complex harmonies at the time. Seen in its proper context, WORKINGMAN’S is just one part of the Dead’s vast repertoire of styles and musical forms. It wasn’t meant to represent any new trend but is what Garcia calls ‘one of the possibilities’. ANDY CHILDS, ZIG ZAG Magazine
nr. 8 A brilliant finely-edged jewel, made with the warmth and energy of people playing to their family. Dick Lawson of Friends nr. 9 LIVE/DEAD’s antithesis, but almost as good. The songs are constructed so traditionally they sound as if they were written 100 years ago. The band’s folk and bluegrass influences lend a sweet lyricism toclassics like UNCLE JOHN’S BAND and CUMBERLAND BLUES. But what distinguishes the album is the dark, sorrowful temperament that underpins songs like BLACK PETER and NEW SPEEDWAY BOOGIE. MALCOLM JONES, NEWSWEEK, aug. 21, 1995
nr. 9 Workingman’s Dead (Warner Bro. WB 1869) Released on June 14, 1970. Robert Hunter appears in the drawing on the front cover of this album. The back cover is upside down on the original releases. Stanley Mouse took the cover photograph and did all the graphics, including the charcoal sketches for the back cover (check Garcia’s right hand in the back cover sketch). The front cover photograph was taken near the rendering plants by Barney’s Beanery in San Francisco on a very hot, almost 100 degree, day. The album was recorded and mixed in a nine day period. “Mason’s Children” was recorded for this album but never released. “Uncle John’s Band” contains a fragment of a Bulgarian tune, music to which Garcia was listening at the time. The “…please, don’t murder me…” lines in “Dire Wolf” were inspired by the Zodiac killer, who murdered over a score of people in San Francisco between 1968 and 1978. The songs used for the album were rehearsed in one to two days, the songs were then re-arranged to have a beginning of Side 1, end of Side 1, a beginning of Side 2, and a finale, and the album was recorded. I. W. Slabicky, 1993
nr. 10 WORKINGMAN’S DEAD (1970) *****
“That was the year we got turned onto singing,” Garcia explained in the early 70s. Outsiders pegged the shift of direction as the influence of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, whose acoustic harmonies had sent gentle shockwaves through the rock industry in 1969. But nothing on “Workingman’s Dead” was as tightly constructed as CSNY’s records. Instead, the Dead tied elements of folk, bluegrass and country into a rich, loose tapestry of Americana.
The majestic three-part harmonies of “Uncie John’s Band” – more human, some how, than the multi-dubbed work of CSNY – were an obvious highlight, while Robert Hunter’s lyrics for “New Speedway Boogie” represented the – Dead’s response to the Altamont disaster. “Cumberland Blues” crossed Sun rockabilly and Garcia’s bluegrass roots to great effect. Ultimately, though, the record worked as a suite: “T felt that they were all good songs”, said Garcia with a welldeserved smile.
AMERICAN BEAUTY (1970)
Though it repeated the acoustic textures of “Workingman’s Dead”, “American Beauty” was an altogether smoother record. Indeed, with the popular “Box Of Ram” and “Ripple”, the Dead came close to the post-Gram Parsons output of the Flying Burrito Brothers, radio-friendly country-rock at its best.
The exception was Pigpen’s “Operator”, which looked back to the Dead’s jug band roots. “Sugar Magnolia” was quickly outstripped by live renditions, but “Friend Of The Devil” matched the best country-tinged work of the Band. And the record ended with an autobiographical anthem in “Truckin’ “, the Dead’s first real shot at a Top 40 single.
from Record Collector