Grateful Dead- Shakedown Street

We’re moving on here to 1978 when the Grateful Dead may have reached a bit here. You can definitely hear the rise of soft rock and disco influenced by the late 70s in this album. Grateful Dead came out with ‘Shakedown Street’ just 1 year after ‘Terrapin Station.’ Only a few great songs on this album.  Grateful Dead were soon on their way to just not having the best new songs.  But that artwork on this album is just superb, love the cartoon drawings.
You can hear the “Good Lovin” cover sung by Bob Weir in track 1. It is an odd rendition of this song, a song sung by Pigpen many years back during the 60s tours.  A song that stays on the concert rotation. “France” is just an odd song that Donna (not my favorite) sings on with Weir. Thankfully this was her last album.
The title track “Shakedown Street” is a ball of fun and has some funky ass beats.  Everything about this song is what I love about Grateful Dead. Deadheads later took this title track and made into what the lot outside of concerts was called.  An excellent job by the wooks and Deadheads alike naming their own tailgate after this song. Finishing off this side is another masterful piece of work, “Fire on the Mountain.” Often paired with “Scarlet Begonias” at shows, this is a great way to end Side A.

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Definitely soft rock sound that seems to be hitting the Grateful Dead here they put out “I Need a Miracle.”  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining here, but it’s totally soft rock. After this kick it to another Donna song “From the Heart of Me.” “Stagger Lee” an old folk song Jerry sings here is quite good. “New Minglewood Blues” is probably the only track on this side that is really enjoyable however.
Grateful Dead hit some hard times after this album came out. Donna left the band with her husband Keith, who died in a car crash soon there after.  Running into the 80s the studio music the Dead put out was never the same.  The band was touring a shitload and just didn’t have that same inspiration. I am happy that ‘Shakedown Street’ did have a few and was quite enjoyable to listen to again.

-Matt

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