Friday, 10 January 2014

Terrapin Station Part 1 (Grateful Dead, 1977)

Grateful Dead are not exactly what you could expect in my blog, but after all they released a prog album and, more than this, a prog suite, just the one. And it happens to be a very good one, so here I go. As you know, Grateful Dead are a very original band, so no surprise if they decided to do some prog when it was no way fashionable and they created a complex, richly arranged 16 minutes suite titled "Terrapin Station Part 1" even if a second part doesn't exist. Finally, if you consider how late this track comes in the golden era of the genre, it's also strange how proto-prog it sounds.

Some old GD's fans didn't like "Terrapin Station". I did and still do.

The suite begins with a catchy and well written mid tempo ballad, not so far from the band's usual material, but then the orchestra comes in and everything gets strangely trick for Jerry Garcia and his friends. The long instrumental passage marking the middle section of the song is progger than prog, really, with the group and orchestra interplays, a dramatic choir à la "Atom Heart Mother" and even a pinch of baroque'n'roll. The band seem to have the time of their lives mixing acid guitars and piano, classical music and New Mexico. Please don't waste your time and listen to this: it's surely better than I can explain. And far more surprising.