Roland and Nina’s DECADES IN MUSIC – 1970 – GRATEFUL DEAD – American Beauty

Review by: Nina A
Album assigned by: Roland Bruynesteyn


The Grateful Dead sound excellent on this record, and I can definitely see why it gets such high ratings everywhere. In fact, were I an American dadrocker, listening to American Beauty would bring a proud tear to my eye. But I am not, and the most I can come up with is “wow, this sounds so real – it’s really cute how it oozes american country sensibilities and roots rock earnest steadiness”.
Steady is the rhythm section here, of course, while the close harmonies throughout the record soothe your soul and the folksy guitar work really brings it home. In fact, the effect of the close harmony really stands out on the penultimate track “Attics Of My Life”, where there are a lot of chords held for long enough to achieve maximum effect by the vocals crew. There is a good variation of rhythms – even the blues makes an appearance on “Candyman”, and the bluesy shuffle closer “Truckin’” is one of the highlights on this album.
My initial impression of this album is that it really belongs in your car audio, at dusk, while you are eating mile after mile of the wide american prairie (my father likes to call every unpopulated stretch of land in the US “the prairie”), which stretches out to the horizon. But after some relistening and reconsideration, I’d say it is perfect for other even not that highly romanticised situations. Just be sure to have a quiet enough environment that will not overpower the delicate nuances on here, and you will too have a chance at some american beauty.