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Wake of the Flood

Grateful Dead

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Album Review

After satisfying their nine-title/dozen-disc deal with Warner Brothers, the Dead began their own record labels: Grateful Dead Records (for group releases) and Round Records (for solo projects). Wake of the Flood was the first Dead disc issued entirely under the band's supervision — which also included manufacturing and marketing. Additionally, the personnel had been altered as Ron "Pigpen" McKernan had passed away. The keyboard responsibilities were now in the capable hands of Keith Godchaux — whose wife Donna Jean Godchaux also provided backing vocals. It had been nearly three years since American Beauty — their previous and most successful studio album to date — and, as always, the Dead had been honing the material in concert. A majority of the tracks had been incorporated into their live sets — some for nearly six months — prior to entering the recording studio. This gave the band a unique perspective on the material, much of which remained for the next 20-plus years as staples of their concert performances. However, the inspiration and magic of the Grateful Dead's music has always been a challenge to capture in the non-reciprocal confines of a studio. Therefore, while Wake of the Flood was certainly as good — if not arguably better than — most of their previous non-live efforts, it falls far short of the incendiary performances the band was giving during this era. There are a few tracks that do tap into some of the Dead's jazzier and exceedingly improvisational nature. "Eyes of the World" contains some brilliant ensemble playing — although the time limitations inherent in the playback medium result in the track fading out just as the Dead start to really cook. Another highlight is Bob Weir's "Weather Report Suite," which foreshadows the epic proportions that the song would ultimately reach. In later years, the band dropped the opening instrumental "Prelude," as well as "Part One," choosing to pick it up for the extended "Let It Grow" section. The lilting Jerry Garcia ballad "Stella Blue" is another track that works well in this incarnation and remained in the Dead's rotating set list for the remainder of their touring careers.

Customer Reviews


Nice. I liked Here Comes Sunshine the most of all tracks on here. However, the Dead have made several way better albums like Mars Hotel, American Beauty, and Workingmans Dead.

Wake Of The Flood

Very good studio album by The Grateful Dead. You can obviously tell some changes have been made, Pigpen is gone, and Keith Godchaux has replaced him on keyboards. This leads the band to do more jazz influenced music than country and blues as the band did previously. You have two Jerry Garcia ballads- Row Jimmy and Stella Blue, standard dead songs like Mississippi half step, Here Comes Sunshine, and Eyes Of The World, then the album ends with the excellent Weather Report Suite. This album was a new direction for the dead, but that is why the Grateful Dead are THE Grateful Dead, right?


Jonny and I had planned to go to Mount Shasta and climb to the summit. Somehow we ended up in San Francisco instead. We immediately went to Tower Records on Columbus Street. When we entered, they were playing the new Dead album "Wake of the Flood". We both bought copies. Still listen to it. Just gets better with time.


Formed: 1965 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Rock's longest, strangest trip, the Grateful Dead were the psychedelic era's most beloved musical ambassadors as well as its most enduring survivors, spreading their message of peace, love, and mind-expansion across the globe throughout the better part of three decades. The object of adoration for popular music's most fervent and celebrated fan following — the Deadheads, their numbers and devotion legendary in their own right — they were the ultimate cult band, creating a self-styled...
Full Bio

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