Grateful Dead Road Trips Vol. 3 No. 2
Grateful Dead: Road Trips Vol. 3 No. 2--Austin 11-15-71 (2-CD Set)
Keith Godchaux's only been with the band a month but already he is fitting in like a glove. This fall 1971 show captures the Dead dancing down their improvisational high wire like only they can. On one side of the precipice are the free form jams of their earlier incarnations. On the other are the country-inflected tunes of American Beauty and Workingman's Dead, both released the preceding year. And no sequence captures the tension between the two quite like the first set's 'Dark Star'/'El Paso' sequence, during which the band improbably (and seamlessly) veers from their spaciest song to their most cowboy cover and back again. A true marvel of a medley. Then, speaking of cowboy, the second set goes full-on boots 'n' spurs (the show is in Austin, after all) for its first half-dozen songs, winding up with a barn burning 'Cumberland Blues.' And then another sublime medley of 'Not Fade Away' segueing into a 'Jam' that toys with the 'China Cat Sunflower' theme, followed by a rip-roarin' 'Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad' and back to 'Not Fade Away.' Blair Jackson's liner notes chart the course. HDCD sound mastered by Jeffrey Norman, too'never before available in stores!