Washington, DC — Lewis Libby, an interesting Republican with a free spirit, is known to enjoy the reputation of being a long time Colorado ski bum who likes to swill a little tequilla and write novels. It is also said that Scooter likes to listent to a little Grateful Dead every now and then.
With Washington on the edge of its seat just after 12 noon waiting for the Fitzgerald indictment to come down on Libby, an excellent album review of “Garcia Plays Dylan” from Des Moines Register music critic Kyle Munson just crossed over the electronic transom.
DC Spectator just ordered this excellent highly recommended album for Libby off of Amazon.com and is being sent to Libby’s home address. Hope he gets it and hopes he enjoys it.
Here’s the review:
Garcia covers Dylan’s music in his style
By KYLE MUNSON
REGISTER MUSIC CRITIC
October 25, 2005
Dylan’s towering legacy as a peerless songwriter and cultural revolutionary has been rehashed yet again (gloriously so) in Martin Scorsese’s recent “No Direction Home” documentary.
And the pace with which archival Dead recordings has been released has only intensified this year — more installments in the “Dick’s Picks” and “Pure Jerry” series, more concert DVDs, more downloads at Dead.net, etc.
But where Dylan’s pen met the Dead’s continuously recording tape machine is worth a listen in the new two-CD set, “Garcia Plays Dylan” — 15 previously unissued live cuts (more than two hours’ worth) from not only the Dead, but also the side projects of late Dead singer-guitarist Jerry Garcia.
Start with Garcia’s blistering guitar solo in the opening track, “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” backed by Merle Saunders’ organ in 1973 in San Francisco. If that sounds plodding or drowsy to your ears, then this isn’t the set for you. Garcia, probably the most consistent source of Dylan covers in concert until his death in 1995, excelled at adapting his boogie-shuffle groove to the likes of “Tangled Up in Blue.” He also could deepen the emotional resonance in Dylan’s songs with his soulful tenor and signature guitar.
“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” stretches past 17 minutes on this set as shimmering gospel by Garcia and his band (recorded in 1976, with background singer Donna Godchaux).
The tracks included span most of Garcia’s career, from 1973 up to a July 8, 1995, recording of “Visions of Johanna” by the Dead in Chicago — the next-to-last Dead show before Garcia’s death. Recording quality varies but always is adequate, and who’s more intimate with tape hiss than a Deadhead? Blair Jackson’s liner notes help illuminate Dylan and Garcia as peers who inspired each other.
Of course this isn’t the first Dead-Dylan merger on record. “Dylan & the Dead” in 1989 was the uninspired document of the actual pairing of the two acts on tour. And last year’s “Postcards of the Hanging: The Grateful Dead Perform the Songs of Bob Dylan” was a single-CD, 11-song compilation from the vault.
“Garcia Plays Dylan” trumps both of those previous releases. A broader view across two CDs offers better perspective (no surprise for the godfathers of the jam scene). But also, it always seemed that many of Garcia’s finest Dylan covers were captured with his own bands rather than as part of the Dead machine.