Thursday, November 29, 2012

Golden Road - Grateful Dead Song Review

Ahh, the "Golden Road," the full title is: The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion).

Everytime I hear this jumbled ball of energy, I am transported to pushing "play" on my Skeletons in the Closet cassette the first time (my first Grateful Dead album). It's the first song on side A and it just sounds like the Summer of Love come to life.  This song was also the first song off of the debut album for The Grateful Dead (called simply, The Grateful Dead) released in 1967.

This song is only 2:13 long and extremely catchy. There's a lot of overdubbed sounds on the track, many of which I can't identify.  During the chorus you can really hear Phil singing backup clearly and there is a lot of the band "singing over each other" during the song which is why I describe it as "jumbled" (in the best possible way).  This amount of vocal shouting kind of leads me to consider this song as a "chant" of sorts... and the title (the part in parentheses) also lends itself to this perception.  The lyrics as quoted on for the chorus seem lacking: 

Hey hey, come right away
Come and join the party
Every day

I can't even hear these specific lines being sung in particular but I can hear a lot of other shouting and chanting going on. 

The First Shot Fired in the Grateful Dead Revolution 

I think of this song as "the first shot fired" in the Grateful Dead revolution. It's literally about the culture of San Francisco in the 60s that the band would embody and carry forth for decades.  The music and lyrics are credited to The Grateful Dead (as a whole, instead of individuals) and that's perfect.  

This line seems especially prophetic: 

Nobodys finished we ain't even begun...

How true was that statement? Wow.  Also, this one became kind of iconic for The Grateful Dead: 

Everybody's dancing in a ring around the sun

I remember often seeing a very particular sticker with this quote, I will try to dig up a picture and post here.

I always thought this song deserved more reverence in the Grateful Dead echelon of music, but I suppose that it wasn't really a live concert standby through the 70s/80s/90s.  

It's definitely 2:13 of pure bliss and a great way for me to have been introduced to The Grateful Dead - more than just a rock band.

The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion) Song Rating on a Scale of 1-10: 9.3

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.

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