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Articles Home » 1977 Articles » Grateful Dead - 1977 Terrapin Station
Grateful Dead - 1977 Terrapin Station

ARTIST: Grateful Dead
ALBUM: Terrapin Station
LABEL: Arista
SERIAL: 8329
YEAR: 1977
CD REISSUE: 1986, Arista, ARCD 8065


LINEUP: Bob Weir - guitar, vocals * Jerry Garcia - guitar, vocals * Phil Lesh - bass * Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann - drums * Donna Godchaux - vocals * Keith Godchaux - keyboards, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Estimated Prophet * 02 Dancin' In The Streets * 03 Passenger * 04 Samson And Delilah * 05 Sunrise * 06 Terrapin Station Part 1: a) Lady With A Fan * b) Terrapin Station * c) Terrapin * d) Terrapin Transit * e) At A Siding * f) Terrapin Flyer * g) Refrain


Oh god, I can just hear the groans and sighs wondering what the heck are the Grateful Dead doing here at Glory Daze? Has Eric finally gone bonkers? Well the truth is I'm not a fan of the Dead. I've never understood their appeal or their gigantic tie-dyed fan base and singles like 'Casey Jones', 'Truckin', and 'Touch Of Gray' usually forces me to turn the radio off or throw it out the window entirely. That said, I do own 1977's 'Terrapin Station' which I first heard in High School and have kept in my collection in some shape or form ever since.

The Songs
Why you ask? Well, take a looksee around Google and read what hardcore Dead fans think of the record. Not good, many call it their worst album ever citing orchestration, throwaway tracks and oh dear - prog rock. That's right; this is the band's onetime stab at Yes, The Moody Blues and Genesis. Produced by Keith Olsen the A-side is for the most part the usual run-of the mill boogie, country and blues stuff we came to expect from Garcia and company including a laughable cover of 'Dancin' In The Streets', but the album turns for the better on the final cut 'Sunrise'. With lead vocals from Donna Godchaux, the song sounds very British folk rock ala Sandy Denny, Fairport Convention and 'On the Shore' era Trees. Very nice and very un-Dead but it's the flipside that really wins me over. The seven movement 'Terrapin Station Part 1' opens with a typical Dead melody but there is nothing blues rock about it as strings and Sgt. Pepperish horns courtesy of Paul Buckmaster and the Martyn Ford Orchestra soon make an appearance. This is the Grateful Dead at their most complex at times sounding instrumentally like late period Gryphon or even prime-time Sky but really they managed to come up with sound of their own and it's too bad they returned to their bland boogie jams on future releases.

In Summary
So there you have it, a Grateful Dead album worthy of a listen or at least three quarters of it. I love borderline prog albums that come from the least likely sources. 'The Elder' from KISS is a good example, 'Sideways' from Men Without Hats and 'Slave To Rhythm' from Grace Jones, two albums which I hope to review eventually are excellent and for the more adventurous worth seeking out as well.

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#1 | jefflynnefan on May 31 2015 20:54:18
I have to admit I haven't heard this one. I try to avoid anything Grateful Dead. But I sure got some laughs from the first paragraph - that's exactly what I was thinking!
#2 | gdazegod on May 31 2015 23:38:48
I could be interested in giving this a go.. lol!
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