Grateful Dead Workingmans Dead on DVD Audio
Okay, well try to minimize the puns about death and gratitude.
And well admit up front that we were never big fans of the Dead, not
so much that we didnt care for their music (in fact, the singles we knew
of superficially were quite good, though these guys are no Who) but because
they flew below our "rock horizon" much as they did with others.
That said, from what we understand, if you only have one Grateful Dead album,
Workingmans Dead is apparently the one. So say other reviewers, which
of course must make it right, right?
This makes the DVD-Audio release even more pleasant, if not important, and
as is so often the case the DVD Audio release sounds as if the Dead were still
alive and well, with all members intact.
This is not hard rock, but is rather an interesting blend of blues, jazz, rock,
pop and folkiness with the whole being a unique weaving of the genres
that gives the Dead its own sound and its own niche in music history.
Non Deadheads like us will immediately recognize "Casey Jones," which ends
Workingmans Dead, but to get there you get to sit though a highly interesting
and entertaining batch of tunes.
And once youve gotten around these Dead melodies youll find them
cropping up in your consciousness as their hooks sneak into your head and keep
wriggling around there.
And now, of course, we have a DVD-Audio version whose sound makes us, well,
grateful for the format.
As with many DVD-A releases, we get 192 Khz/24 bit stereo and 96kHz/24 bit
surround mixes, and heres one case where we preferred the stereo mix.
Theres an intimate sound to the Dead on this album, and spreading the
instruments around the room seems to make the sound thinner, more like a group
of musicians surrounding you than a band you're sitting in front of, listening
to. This isnt always true. On Queens A Night at
the Opera, for instance, we preferred the 5.1 mix because that albums
lush abundance of overdubs lent itself to the surround treatment.
Not so with the Dead, at least with Workingmans Dead. Not that theres
really anything wrong with the surround mix; we just liked the stereo better
in this case. And it isnt as if this were a live album that benefited
from the immersive surround treatment: but its a classic album
that benefits just fine from the enhanced audio capabilities of the DVD-Audio
medium without the extra channels.
So in all, the DVD-A remastering provides beautifully clean sound, and the
high resolution audio allows the band's musical force to come through as well.
Theres a sense of immediacy and intimacy we really liked.
Theres also a pretty good liner booklet that includes an essay about
the album, as well as the normal technical info.
You also get a video interview as well as the lyrics from the songs and a photo
1. Uncle Johns Band
2. High Time
3. Dire Wolf
4. New Speedway Boogie
5. Cumberland Blues
6. Black Peter
7. Easy Wind
8. Casey Jones
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