Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Blow Away - Grateful Dead Song Review

I admit that I just had to go to to hear Blow Away because in my mind I was thinking... "Wait, which Brent song is that again" (all I was able to locate was a studio version from Built to Last).

I love Brent Mydland playing with the Dead. In fact, I love all the Dead's keyboardists. I think Jerry had a great relationship with Brent and you can clearly see them enjoying playing off of each other a lot in the DVDs that I've bought (like the Alpine Valley show). I wonder if Jerry's affinity for Brent helped Brent get a lot of his material on Grateful Dead albums? Some of Brent's songs don't really sound like Dead songs to me, and this is one of them. It's not bad at all, it just sounds like something that Michael McDonald or Starship would play.

Built to Last is a little bit overproduced and the studio version of Blow Away has a "Top 40" background chorus. Jerry's guitar leads sound good on this track. This song get's credit for being an original song (as opposed to a blues song). I am going to seek out a couple of live versions of Blow Away and may change my opinion after hearing them but I'd say this is for the most part just an "okay" song.

Blow Away Song Rating on a Scale of 1-10: 6.4

Disclaimer: This is part of my review of every Grateful Dead song from A-Z. Music is a beautiful thing because it is so personal and subjective, so keep in mind that this is one man's opinion (and be sure to read my blog manifesto to understand a little more about where I'm coming from).


Jon W. said...

Holy cow....this is your site and everything, and I wasn't moved to comment until now; however, just because this song isn't characteristic of the Dead's sound doesn't not make it a dynamite song - which it clearly is. The album version of this song happens to be some of the most smokin stuff the Dead have ever recorded in the studio. This may not be an opine you'd hear from the deadhead crowd, but it's true nonetheless. Brent Mydland was a gifted songwriter and singer. If he could have sobered up and straightened out his personal life, memories of his impact on the Dead probably wouldn't be so short, and his work wouldn't be getting such short shrift, either.

GDmike said...

Jon, since writing this I did see a screening of the DVD "Crimson White & Indigo" at a movie theater in Los Angeles, and the performance Brent gives during "Blow Away" is epic, making me appreciate the song more fully. It's easy to find this on youtube, and if you haven't seen it, I bet you'd love it.

Truthfully though, Brent's greatest songs in my opinion are Hey Pocky Way and Dear Mr. Fantasy - both covers. I love his voice, I love his era, and the Dead really had some major peaks during his stint at the keyboard. But most of his original songs (in my opinion) are just taking a slot away for a Jerry tune.

easywind111 said...

Geez. Facepalm. Blow Away=Best Brent Song! Another smoker of which you totally missed.