Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Easy Answers - Grateful Dead Song Review

Boy I've been dreading writing this one.... 

This song's popular "lot" nickname "Cheesy Answers" really says it all.  

How did this song go so wrong? It has Robert Hunter helping on lyrics (not common for a Bobby tune), it has a bouncy upbeat rhythm and nice keyboards.  It sounds a bit like an 80's tune  - like something one of the solo Eagles would've made (but probably never released). And when I say '80's tune' I don't necessarily mean that in a derogatory way as some of the Dead's '80's sounding' tunes were great - like Feel Like a Stranger.

But the song just sucks. Also, it was usually played in the 2nd set, robbing the audience of a much better tune that could've been slotted there. It reminds me of Corrina (which I hate much less), Way to Go Home, Wave to the Wind and a the rest of the other 1990s "new" Dead tunes that fell really short. One thing I'd like to point out is that Jerry was still spinning gold during this  period (Lazy River, Days Between, etc).

I remember reading a review of the 1995 Grateful Dead experience that specifically pointed out the digust of the Deadheads when after 5 minutes of the Gyuto Monks onstage at Shoreline when Bobby pulled this tune out it was a real disappointment (because apparently there was magic in the air that was squandered on this song).  You can hear that entire show here (and a great setlist that show is, I will check it out in full later).

Rob Wasserman is also credited as a composer on this song and it was originally recorded with the help of Neil Young (who helped write it too), on this page I found Wasserman's recollection: 

"I remember thinking that the song must be pretty good when I saw Neil simultaneously washing dinner dishes at the studio sink and dancing non-stop while he listened to the playback."
I hate to rain on Wasserman's parade but I am not so sure I buy this. Why would old Neil be washing dishes if he loved the song so much... I would be curious to know if

a)Neil Young has ever performed  the song
b)if Neil ever worked with Rob (or Bobby) again after recording Easy Answers... if the answer to boh questions is "no" then perhaps Rob Wasserman misread Neil's feelings about Easy Answers.

In my research for this blog entry I did come across the website which I guess crowdsources the best versions of jamband songs and I love this idea.  you can see the entry for Easy Answers here and if you are feeling adventurous you could listen to the versions on to try and find a smokin' version of Easy Answers.  I think I'll pass on this.

Easy Answers Song Rating on a Scale of 1-10: 0.0
Disclaimer: This is part of my blog that reviews all things Grateful Dead for fun. 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).

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