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To the Editors of the Crimson:
I thought I would get out of town relatively quietly. Unfortunately you decided to publish Jim Krauss's missive on the Dead (Dec. 15). Couldn't you have held it until Friday, when most everyone was home and wouldn't have had to face Krauss's edifying remarks? Wasn't there any news at all? Not even a story on Tricia?
I suggest that Mr. Krauss get his head out of his ass. It's okay to be pseudo-intellectual, but about the Dead? Bespeaking the "underbelly of the acid experience"? "A cathartic ooze slid over the hall." Aw, c'mon...
Sure the early Dead albums are good, but they're also poorly recorded and ungainly. If you reject their recent stuff purely because it has become popular, you are a sad elitist indeed. Their recent work is tighter, more controlled, and less prone to self-indulgence--in short, more mature. The mixing and recording has been excellent, and Lesh's bass work shows a maturity unrivalled by all but Casady's. The vocals are immeasureably better and we have on record some of Garcia's fantastic pedal steel. Hunter's lyrics today are far superior to his earlier attempts. And if you know, Mr. Krauss, anything about music, you would realize that recent Dead material is far more complex than any of the 'space music' of Anthem and Live Dead. Thus, this new material, like "Fourth Day of July" and "Don't Cry Now". The Dead aren't different, just more subtle. They're smarter musicians now.
And, as for the concert, I agree the Riders were superfluous, but the Dead are still the only group who give you your money's worth at a concert. Five, six, seven hours of listening to Garcia and watching that good-lookin' dude Pigpen--who could ask for more? Especially with Godcheaux, who really fills out their sound well--a welcome addition indeed. After the concert, there are some pretty great tapes about that the Dead have let circulate, which is much more than I can say for most groups.
If the Dead are popular, it is to their own credit as artists. When the Dead came to town they made lots of people fucking happy, and if that bugs you. I'm sorry for you. You are one sad buckaroo. Robert Alan Rosenberg '73
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