Grateful Dead – the illustrated trip (Dorling, £19.99)

This huge book – 480 large format full colour book weighs in at around 3kg and contains everything you need to know about the Grateful Dead (a quite well-known North American popular music combo of the psychedelic era).

When I was very young I wanted to be like the Dead – take lots of drugs, live in a sort of communal family, play in a rock’r'roll band and sleep with many women, all of whom would have long straight hair. Maybe even wear a bandana. Fortunately I grew up, but do still like the music of the Dead and their artwork so found my way to this book “Celebrating 50 Years Dead”.

The book tells you everything you need to know about those fifty years, the comings and goings of members, the spin-off groups and is full of tremendous photographs. But after ten minutes of reading mini-reports of every gig every played and inserts such as “The Band & Co barnstormed across Europe aboard two buses: The Bozo bus and the Bolo bus. As Willy Legate described the vehicles in his liner notes to Europe ’72, ‘The subtle differences in character and import and atmosphere between the two omnibuses was so profoundly hidden and enigmatic that you could never understand it.’ In fact the Bolo/Bozo factionalism was rather pronounced. The Bozo bus was the party wagon, equipped with gag-shop masks and props… The Bolo bus was mostly occupied by the crew and those (like Phil Lesh) who preferred to catch as many Z’s as possible between shows…” it felt like time to catch a few Z’s myself. Besides, tie-died makes anyone look a dick.

Ross Bradshaw

 

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