Buzz Poole “The Grateful Dead’s Workingman’s Dead” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016)
Coming out of heavy psychedelic freak out of the late 60s, there was a retreat to a more pastoral mode for a time. Dylan’s Basement Tapes, the rise of country rock, it was all part of the same thing.
The Grateful Dead chose to sit back and release an album of quieter, more traditional songs that almost all became classics. Chances are, if you’ve spent any time around their music, you’ve heard some of these songs.
Part of the appeal of this series is that a reader really doesn’t know what to expect in any given book. Poole has chosen to use the tracks of this album as a stepping off point to discuss the band and the phenomenon of the band.
He does a good job introducing the Dead, the scene, and the history of the Dead to a casual listener. I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed at a lack of fresh insights, but I’ve been listening to this music for 30+ years, & know that it’s not always about my experience.
If you are a baby Deadhead or someone just interested, this is a nice introduction to the band. If you are a more seasoned Deadhead, well, let’s face it, you’re going to buy this anyway.