Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dylan and the Dead (1989)

Released February 6, 1989
During the summer of 1987 Bob Dylan joined The Grateful Dead for a stadium tour of six shows.  Nearly two years later, Columbia released a live album with a meager seven selections from those performances.  The confluence between these two gigantic forces in rock and roll/pop culture history promised unlimited potential -unfortunately the live album yielded disappointing results. The two gospel songs, "Slow Train Coming" and "Gotta Serve Somebody" are the only highlights.  The rest leaves much to be desired: "Joey" is a mess and "I Want You" goes all over the map. I'll assume the live album may not be the best representation of their concerts.  Guess you had to be there. In saying that, Dylan reportedly enjoyed his time with the Dead and even considered becoming a full time member.  When Dylan began the so called "Never Ending Tour" in the summer of 1988, I think he took some inspiration from the Grateful Dead - steady touring backed by a full time band willing to reinvent old and new material on a nightly basis.  Unlike most of his contemporaries Dylan emerged as a road warrior late in his career and would build an entirely new audience.


  1. Dylan's worst album by a country mile.

  2. Joey’ without Emmylou Harris is interminably dire, and apart from a few moments at the tail-ends of ‘Gotta serve somebody’ and ‘Knockin’ on heaven’s door’, there is really nothing here that I would ever want to hear again. Poor song choices, too short even back in the days of the LP, mangled lyrics – and with a belated release halfway between the positively received ‘Traveling Wilburys Vol 1’ and ‘Oh mercy’ albums, it seems like an act of self-sabotage. Truly regrettable.

    1. Agreed, I suspect it was a simple cash grab by Columbia. Surprisingly it sold well and reached #37 on Billboard according to Wikipedia. I'm sure many fans were disappointed.