Terrapin Flyer soars into Pittsburgh

Опубликовано08.11.2018 в 09:42АвторBam






Terrapin Flyer - Iko Iko

First, a little background. But the Dead were successful enough that there was plenty of interest in them from conventional labels, so when they went looking for a new situation, following a semi-disastrous interim distribution arrangement with United Artists, there were several potential suitors in suits waiting for them. The most appealing was the boss of Arista Records, a successful new label formed by record biz legend Clive Davis. He personally courted the band—especially Garcia, whom he admired tremendously and had tried to sign as a solo act earlier —and managed to convince the group and their managers that he was the guy who could take them to the next level.

Clive believed that lurking underneath that loose, shambling, hippie exterior, lay a chart-topping band with unlimited commercial potential. But you gotta love that kind of optimism. Clive did have one major request. He wanted the band to work with an outside producer for the first time since the boys ran Dave Hassinger off the ranch back in the early stages of making Anthem of the Sun at the end of What, are you insane?

John, and the James Gang. A genuinely nice guy and easy-going on a personal level, Olsen could also be quite the taskmaster, and he wanted something from the Dead that no one had ever asked of them—perfection! He toiled with the group endlessly, trying to break them of what he saw as bad musical habits. He had Mickey and Bill orchestrate their parts in a way they never had before—having Mickey play hand percussion mostly, rather than traps—and he made sure every vocal harmony was completely on pitch, every guitar part in service of the pared-down radio-friendly songs.

Not only had the songs been seriously truncated in a clear attempt to gain radio airplay, Olsen also had added innumerable production touches that fundamentally changed the sound of the band: For the first time ever, the Grateful Dead actually sound pretentious.

Once I got over my inflated expectations for what I felt the record should have been, I started to appreciate Terrapin Station on its own merits—as an example of what a producer with big ideas and commercial inclinations could do with an idiosyncratic outfit like the Grateful Dead.

Recently, after not having heard the album in several years, I gave the disc a serious, headphones-cranked listening, and I came away from the experience quite impressed. It helps that I know much more about both music and recording than I did in , so now I can admire the obvious craft that went into making the album.

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The backing vocals are carefully layered with multiple Donnas left, right and center, blending with Weir and Garcia also doubled or more in places to create a creamy whole.

There was no way he was going to wrangle that sound out Jerry, Bob and Donna, but he did succeed in giving their harmonies an appealing commercial glow.

Get tickets to Terrapin Flyer feat. Scott Guberman at Rex Theater, Pittsburgh, PA on 09/26/

He also used different reverbs in creative ways on everything from drums to vocals. The orchestrations I rather cavalierly derided in my original review sound subtle and sophisticated to me today. Pepper Aoxomoxoa fits that better , but it was definitely a bold stab at something unorthodox, a new way of presenting their music not tied to their performance persona. In the process, however, they lost some of their identity and diluted their essence. Still, its excesses were quickly forgiven and forgotten by the die-hard fans who never embraced it.

Someday, perhaps, well find out.

First, a little background. But the Dead were successful enough that there was plenty of interest in them from conventional labels, so when they went looking for a new situation, following a semi-disastrous interim distribution arrangement with United Artists, there were several potential suitors in suits waiting for them.


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Comments: 4

  1. 19.11.2018
    Gudal

    On mine, it not the best variant

  2. 25.11.2018
    Kezragore

    I think, that you are not right. Let's discuss it.

  3. 28.11.2018
    Kajisar

    Analogues are available?

  4. 29.11.2018
    Tauran

    Very amusing opinion