Crown Jewel of the Dead's Studio Output Newly Mastered in 2020 for 50th Anniversary 180g Vinyl LP Reissue by Grammy Award-Winning Engineer David Glasser!
The pinnacle of the Grateful Dead's studio output, American Beauty certainly lives up to its name. Made just months after its companion release, Workingman's Dead, the San Francisco legends' second 1970 masterpiece furthers the former work's close-knit relationship between country and folk while adding extra rock and bluegrass currents. Understated amplified passages, graceful melodies, layered singing, and old-time string flavors – including mandolin work from masterful guest David Grisman – bestow the material with easygoing, comfortable vibes.
Again taking advantage of the best songwriting of Robert Hunter's career, the Dead turns in its most collective studio performance, with every individual contributing equally and focusing on nothing but the songs at hand. From Garcia's breathtaking gospel-laden homage to his mother ("Brokedown Palace") to Lesh's healing salve in the form of the groove-based "Box of Rain," from Weir's jaunty and free-wheeling summer escape "Sugar Magnolia" to McKernan's eloquently simple homespun plea "Operator," all the way to the closing autobiographical anthem "Truckin'," American Beauty feels like the warm, spirit-infusing embrace of a loved one after a long journey away.
Jerry Garcia noted that American Beauty had "some of the first things I've written, and that we've performed as a band, that in my opinion are genuinely beautiful" which was confirmed by Rolling Stone's Andy Zwerling who wrote in 1970 that, "A complete contentment shines through the vocal work on this album. A full contentment. The instrumentation is rich with sound that moves through, under, and into the listener...the album is American beauty, of the best possible kind. The positivity of the Dead just can't be kept down."
Newly mastered in 2020 for 50th Anniversary 180g vinyl LP reissue by Grammy Award-winning engineer, David Glasser.