Reviewer:light into ashes
October 31, 2009 Subject:
the birth of Franklin's Tower
At first glance this session is very intimidating, featuring 43 unlabeled tracks, almost all of them fragments and false starts! It has some enjoyable parts, though. It starts with the earliest takes of Franklin's Tower (tracks 1-11), rather slow & cautious, with Garcia singing - these early versions are very interesting since the music is so different than the finished Franklin's, more mellow and reggae-like. Track 6 is a nice complete take; by track 11 they're faster and more assured. A long Help on the Way rehearsal follows (tracks 12-43), still instrumental; eventually they work on the transition into Slipknot. This part is a repetitive slog, since few takes are complete, so skip straight to track 43, the only complete Help>Slipknot here, though it's not very exciting. (The notes claim there's a Stronger Than Dirt in this session, but I didn't find it.)
June 23, 2008 Subject:
This is a fantastic notebook of work to completely immerse one's self into. I get a warm fuzzy with this very cozy groove - so layered too!
April 12, 2008 Subject:
nice, but studio recordings don't do much for me
It's nice to hear all of the musical thought occurring here, but yeah, you hear four songs over and over again without the live show dynamics. Good, but not essential listening.
I was born on June 6, 1975 so this music basically released me from the womb. BLUES FOR ALLAH is my favorite Grateful Dead studio album and it's so cool to hear these sessions. I think Jerry and Co. were really influenced by reggae music at the time (I know he liked Jimmy Cliff's The Harder They Come which was also a popular film shortly before this time)...listen to the reggae groove of "Franklin's Tower", "Crazy Fingers", and "They Love Each Other". These tracks are multiple takes of "Help>Slip!>Franklin", no lyrics for "Help" yet. I've always loved the vibe of the ALLAH music, the Dead at their jazziest (especially thanks to Keith's keyboard work).
November 6, 2006 Subject:
practice makes perfect
There's a nice, easy, mellow groove to many of the tracks that are a bit different from the live performances that we all know so well. Great fun to hear them working out the kinks real-time in the studio. Sound quality is superb throughout, and I was constantly astonished at the variations between takes. The continual start/stop/retake thing eventually gets a bit jarring and repetetive, so four stars from me. If taken in smaller doses it's fun stuff, and proof positive that practice makes perfect!
March 13, 2006 Subject:
OK, I'll admit it. I could actually listen to Franklin's Tower for hours at a time. And in fact I just did. But I agree with dq; pace yourself. Listen to a few minutes at a time. You don't want to destroy your love of franklin, do you? Of course not. So take it easy.
I enjoyed listening to the development of these songs. I never realized how hard the Dead worked at perfecting these gems. It must have been a real drag playing those small snippets over and over. It sure paid off in the end.
The sound quality is excellent. I like the mellow feel to this session. That mellotron (?) rhythm part really makes it. I'm not sure it's even in the final mix; if it is it's buried. I never noticed it before on Blues for Allah. The bass is also very cool; I think a little louder than on the final cut.
Highly recommended if you love the Help/Slip/Franklin's triptych. I'd recommend avoiding these if you're not obsessed with these songs.
March 3, 2006 Subject:
I'm a nerd. I was on my second consecutive listen to this stream, when my girlfriend (who I thought was asleep) asked me why I was listening to the same song over and over. Apparently it was driving her crazy. I had to grab the headphones for the rest of the night. Ha. Great sound, great genesis, great band.
September 27, 2005 Subject:
fun, but too much stop and start and stop and start and stop and start to be a 5 star experience. Cool though......
May 11, 2005 Subject:
I've been to the tower for Jahovas
I was folding crappy pamphlets for Bobby's ma in the watchtower and when I heard this I moved to Franklins tower (ps better catfishing from this tower) gotta go the Jahovas are after me!!!!!!!!!
April 19, 2005 Subject:
I never realized how much Franklin's Tower sounds like Van Morrison's "Cleaning Windows", only pre-dating Van The Man by 8 or 9 years. Was Van a Dead freak? Rhetorical. Rhetorical. Dharma Bums and On The Road indeed. 5 stars if you like studio outtakes, 3 if you don't.
March 26, 2005 Subject:
5 Stars NOT A MISTAKE
If you are a franklins lover, this WILL make your week. I have to agree with the other review, just real mellow like the soundtrack to a more simple life in '75. Don't believe me? Stick it on your mp3, go walk the dog, and see if your ass doesn't start grooveing down the street by the time the little guy takes his 2nd squirt. The sound is crystal clear and it's fun to hear the band work out a new style. Thank You all for the hard work. This site is awsome.
May 15, 2004 Subject:
This is really quite cool. You get to hear them working out arrangments for Franklin's, Slipknot, etc., with slightly different groove / performance variations. Franklin's is especially cool, though; they keep working this very mellow and laid back vibe, a little slower than you usually hear it live, and it's fun to hear them play it like that.
This is worth your time, for sure.