Ranking the Discography: Grateful Dead Part 2: Anthem of the Sun

Anthem of the Sun was released in 1968. It was the first album to feature their second drummer, Mickey Hart. The album was a hybrid of both a studio and a live album.


Jerry Garcia:  lead guitar, acoustic guitar, kazoo, vibraslap, vocals, co-lead vocals on “That’s It for the Other One” and “Born Cross-Eyed”

Bob Weir:  rhythm guitar, 12-string guitar, acoustic guitar, kazoo, vocals, lead vocals on “New Potato Caboose”, co-lead vocals on “That’s It for the Other One” and “Born Cross-Eyed”

Phil Lesh: bass guitar, trumpet, harpsichord, kazoo, piano,timpani, vocals

Ron “PigPen” McKennan:  organs, celesta, claves, vocals, lead vocals on “Alligator” and “Caution”

Bill Kreutzmann:  drums, glockenspiel, gong, chimes, crotales, prepared piano, finger cymbals

Mickey Hart: drums, orchestra bells, gong, chimes, crotales, piano, finger cymbals

The Tracks:

  1. “That’s It For the Other One”: This is a 4-part suite: “Cryptical Envelopment”, “Quadlibet for Tender Feet”, “The Rounder We Get”, and “We Leave the Castle”. This is one of their most played songs. This was a great opener.
  2. ” New Potato Caboose “: Pigpen sounds excellent on the keyboard here.
  3. ” Born Cross-Eyed”: This song was written entirely by Bob Weir. It was released as a B-side to “Dark Star”. I really liked this one.
  4. ” Alligator” : This song is just crazy! PigPen sounds nuts on the keys. The rest of the band brings their A-game too.
  5. “Caution (Do Not Step on the Tracks) “: This was a fun way to close the album.

Final Verdict: I never thought I’d hear kazoos in a rock album. This album definitely sounds like the band is coming together.

Grade: A-


Star Wars Visions Review: The Elder

Writer/Director: Masahiko Otsuka

Summary: A Jedi named Tajin and his padowan Dan arrive on an isolated planet in the Outer Rim. While Dan befriends a group of children, Tajin learns of a Sith who is extremely old and is out for blood.

Review: I thought this was a good alternate take on the relationship between Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan in Phantom Menace. Dan was calmer and kinder than Obi-Wan. I loved his scenes with the village children.

The fight between Tajin and The Elder was well-animated. The Elder isn’t just a threat because he wants revenge, but because he has nothing to lose. His anger is the only thing he has left. And that’s what makes him so dangerous.

This story didn’t have a lot to it, but it was good.

Star Wars Visions Review: The Twins

Writer: Hiromi Wakabayashi

Director: Hiroyuki Imaishi

Summary: Using Sith alchemy, two Force-sensitive twins named Karre and Am are created and trained in the Dark Side. But Karre actually wants to use his powers for good, unlike his sister.

Review: I really wanted to rate this higher. On paper, it sounds like a winner. The animation is nice. And even though it has only a half-hour, it tells the story well.

So what brought this down, besides so many other shorts being better? To be honest, the dub. The American version is so cheesily dubbed, I can’t take the story seriously. I wanted to just ignore that, but I couldn’t.

Next: The Elder

Ranking the Discography: The Grateful Dead Part 1: (self-titled)

For a long time, my Facebook friend Clay Gilbert has been wanting me to get into The Grateful Dead. I have listened to two of their albums, American Beauty and Live/Dead. But I’ve been reluctant to dive headlong in because of the countless albums, compilations, and bootleg copies in their discography. He proposed that since I ignore concerts and compilations anyway, it wouldn’t be impossible to do a ranking. Granted, The Dead do have a reputation for being better live than they were in the studio, but that doesn’t mean I should ignore the studio discography altogether. So, as both a Christmas present and a birthday present, I’ve decided to rank their albums.

The Grateful Dead were formed in 1965. Originally, the band was called The Warlocks, but instead changed their name when Jerry Garcia discovered the phrase in a dictionary. The band discovered it was part of an Egyptian prayer, and history was made.

The lineup for the debut is as follows:

Jerry Garcia: lead vocals, guitar

Bob Weir: vocals, rhythm guitar

Phil Lesh: bass, vocals

Ron “Pigpen” McKernan: organ, harmonica, vocals

Bill Kreutzmann: drums and percussion

The Tracks:

  1. “The Golden Road (to Unlimited Devotion)” This is a great opener, and Pigpen’s keys are nice. I enjoyed the harmonies.
  2. “Beat It On Down the Line”: This is a cover of a song originally written and recorded by Jesse Fuller. It’s one of the first songs the band performed live, during their phase as Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions. The song references Georgia governor and president of the Dale Coal company Joe Brown. It’s one of the best songs on the album.
  3. ” Good Morning, School Girls”: This is a blues standard from John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson. The Yardbirds also covered it. Pigpen plays a good harmonica solo.
  4. “Cold Rain and Snow”: This is a folk song dating back to 1917. Jerry’s vocals are excellent.
  5. ” Sitting on Top of the World “: Dipping into the country side of the band, this time covering the Mississippi Shieks. It’s the final cover on side one. Another one of my favorites.
  6. ” Cream Puff War”: I didn’t hate this one, but I wouldn’t call it a favorite.
  7. “Morning Dew”: Side two opens with a song originally written and recorded by Bonnie Dobson about a couple left behind after the apocalypse. Another one of my favorite songs.
  8. ” New, New Minglewood Blues”: Back to the jug band origins. Bob Weir sounds great here too.
  9. “Viola Lee Blues”: Side one closes with a great jam.

Final Verdict: Even though it’s loaded with covers, I thought this was a great debut. It truly showcases the many facets of the band’s sound.

Grade: A

Star Wars Visions: Tatooine Rhapsody

Writer: Yasumi Atarashi

Director: Taku Kimura

Summary: A rock band called Star Waver is being targeted by Boba Fett because their bassist, Gee, doesn’t want to participate in the Hutt criminal empire.

Review: This was the short that felt the least like Star Wars to me. Now not being 100% like Star Wars isn’t bad, in fact, quite a few of the higher-up shorts didn’t seem “like Star Wars” .

My main problem is this style. I’m not a fan of chibi animation, and hearing the adult voice for Boba Fett seemed wrong. If it had been the voice actor for his younger version, Daniel Logan, I might have not had a problem.

That being said, I did like the band. I especially liked the drummer being a conjoined triplet. It had a more light-hearted feel, but I didn’t mind that.

Overall, I didn’t hate this one. It was different, which isn’t always bad.

Ranking the Discography: Deep Purple Part XXI: Whoosh! (2020)

Whoosh! Is Deep Purple’s most recent album that I am counting for the purpose of this series. (I’m ignoring the 2021 Turning to Crime because it’s a cover album) Three singles were released: “Throw My Bones”, “Man Alive”, and “Nothing At All”) It charted at #4 in both the UK and the US.


Ian Gillan: vocals

Steve Morse: guitar

Roger Glover: bass

Dan Airey: keyboards

Ian Paice: drums

The Tracks:

  1. “Throw My Bones”: This is a good opener, and Morse and Airey put on good riffs.
  2. ” Drop the Weapon “: This has some great rhythm from Paice.
  3. ” We’re All the Same in the Dark”: I like the message of this song, and it’s one of the best songs.
  4. “Nothing at All”: I feel this is the weakest of the 3 singles.
  5. “No Need to Shout” : Another weak one for me, although the drumming is good.
  6. “Step by Step “: A decent song, but not much else.
  7. ” What the What”: I feel this is the worst song overall. It’s got a bad title, and the lyrics are ridiculous.
  8. “The Long Way Around”: The album begins to pick up with this one.
  9. ” The Power of the Moon “: Another favorite song on the album.
  10. ” Remission Possible”: This is just a prologue for the next song.
  11. “Man Alive”: Everyone gives an excellent part to this, making it one of the best.
  12. ” And the Address “: Of the two instrumentals, this is the one I like the best. The guitars and keyboards are great.
  13. ” Dancing in My Sleep” (bonus): This was a decent closer.

Final Verdict: Although I did enjoy this album a lot on first listen, I feel like the band is trying to play it safe. It still rocks, but I wouldn’t call it phenomenal.

Grade: C+

Star Wars Visions Review: Akakiri

I’ve decided that for the next 9 weeks, I’m going to review all of the Star Wars: Visions anime shorts, in order from least liked to most liked. I didn’t hate any of these, so don’t think that me placing an episode this low means it’s the worst ever. So let’s start with the one I liked the least, “Akakiri”.

Studio: Science SARU

Examples of Anime created by the Studio: Inu-Oh and The Heike Story (both released in 2021).

Summary: A Jedi named Tsubaki has received visions that his lover, the princess Misa, will die in his arms. He rushes to save her, but is ambushed by her aunt Masago, who is aligned with the Sith.

Review: I felt this one was too short, and I didn’t like the animation style. The beats were too similar to Anakin and Padme’s fates, and I felt the story was too bleak and predictable.

Ranked: #9

Ranking the Discography: Deep Purple Part XX: Infinite (2017)

Infinite reached #105 on the Billboard Albums Chart and 6 in the UK. It had 4 singles( “Time For Bedlam”, “All I Got is You”, “Johnny’s Band”, and “The Surprising” )


Ian Gillan: vocals

Steve Morse: guitar

Roger Glover: bass

Don Airey: keyboards

Ian Paice: drums

The Tracks:

  1. “Time For Bedlam “: The first single is an impressive opener. I’m becoming more tolerant of Gillan’s changes in his voice due to his age.
  2. ” Hip Boots”: A dirty tune (and not just because of the cursing) with a good bass and some excellent guitar riffs. One of my favorite songs from the album.
  3. “All I Got Is You”: A great rocker, and some excellent drumming from Paice.
  4. ” One Night in Vegas”: Airey sounds great on this.
  5. “Get Me Out of Here”: This one’s not bad, and it has a fun sound to it.
  6. ” The Surprising “: This song took more than one listen, but I liked it.
  7. ” Johnny’s Band”: A nice cool rhythm for this one.
  8. “On Top of the World” : More sneering vocals from Gillan and solid guitar work.
  9. “Birds of Prey “: Another favorite, with one of the best solos.
  10. ” Roadhouse Blues”: I didn’t much care for this cover. But Steve d does have a good solo, and Airey seems up to the challenge of the original.

Final Verdict: The best offering from this iteration of the band so far.

Grade: B+