Ranking the Discography: The Grateful Dead Part 6: Wake of the Flood

In 1973, The Grateful Dead started their own label, Grateful Dead Records. To start things off, they released this album on it. This was also their first album without PigPen, who had died of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage in March of that year. His replacement, Keith Godchaux, had joined them for three (official) live albums prior to recording. In fact, five of the songs were already in live rotation.

Members:

Jerry Garcia: guitar, pedal steel guitar, vocals

Bob Weir: bass, vocals

Keith Godchaux: keyboards, vocals

Donna Jean Godchaux: backing vocals

Bill Kreutzmann: drums

The Tracks:

  1. “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo”: This is a great bluesy tune, with great keyboards from Keith. I especially like Vassar Clements ‘ violin work.
  2. ” Let Me Sing Your Blues Away”: Keith sings lead on this song, which he co-wrote with lyricist Robert Hunter. It’s a beautiful start for him. One of my favorite songs.
  3. “Row Jimmy”: Jerry brought this complex song into the studio, and it was difficult to play at first, according to Kreutzmann. “It’s trickier than it sounds. But once I locked into it, “Row Jimmy” became one of the best songs in our repertoire. ” I’m inclined to agree.
  4. “Stella Blue”: Great song to end side one.
  5. ” Here Comes Sunshine “: This is the song that inspired the album’s title, coming from the lyric “Wake of the flood, laughing water, ’49 Get out the pans, don’t just stand there dreaming, get out the way,” . The reference comes from a flood in Oregon.
  6. “Eyes of the World”: This and “Let Me Sing Your Blues Away” were released as singles, but neither charted.
  7. “Weather Report Suite”: The prelude to this suite was often part of the live set prior to its inclusion. It’s a pretty suite.

Final Verdict: Keith gets a great start and proves to be a great fit for the band.

Grade: A-

Star Wars Visions: The Ninth Jedi

Writer/Director: Kenji Kamiyama

Summary: The Jedi Order is nearly extinct. Margrave Juro, ruler of Hy Izlan, invites seven apprentices to his temple to receive new lightsabers, each one having a design lost to time. One is given to Ethan, the youngest, as proof that the rest will receive theirs when they are complete.

Meanwhile, sabersmith Lah Zhima is captured by the Sith. But his daughter Kara manages to escape with the finished lightsabers, which she delivers to the Jedi. It is then revealed that all of the apprentices –with the exception of Ethan–are Sith impostors sent to murder Juro. Kara and Ethan save Juro, but it’s revealed that one of the impostors is Homen, an old friend of Juro. The three set out to rescue Zhima.

Review: This one was beautiful and action-packed. Like The Village Bride, it had one of the best scores of the entire series. I liked the pacing of this story. It felt longer than it actually was, almost as if I was watching a pilot for another series. Out of all of the shorts, this is the one that I wouldn’t mind seeing turned into a series.

One more to go! I’m sure you can all guess which one is next. To be honest, both this and the next one are tied for the best out of all of them.

Book of Boba Fett Episode 4 : The Gathering Storm

Writer: Jon Favreau

Director: Kevin Tancharoen

Summary: The story starts with the flashback this time to when Fett met Shand, saving her from a gut wound. She agrees to help retrieve Slave I.

In the present day, Fett recruits Krrsantan after seeing him fight Trandoshans. Fett tries to get the crime bosses to unite against the Pykes, but to no avail.

Review: I’d been waiting to see how Fett and Shand met. I thought their first battle together was cool.

I like that Fett is not able to convince the bosses to fully unite with him. This is a great way to raise the stakes.

We’re at the halfway mark, and I’m still enjoying the season. I won’t say this was the best episode of the season so far, but I did enjoy it.

Grade: A.

Ranking the Discography: Grateful Dead Part 5: American Beauty (1970)

American Beauty is one of Grateful Dead’s most celebrated albums. It has “Truckin'”, one of the few Grateful Dead songs that receive radio airplay. It’s included in 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Members:

Jerry Garcia: vocals, guitar, pedal steel, piano

Bob Weir: guitar, vocals

Phil Lesh: bass, guitar, vocals

“PigPen”: harmonica, vocals

Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann: drums and percussion

Robert Hunter: lyrics

  1. “Box of Rain” : This song has beautiful harmonies between Weir and Lesh. The guitars are nice.
  2. “Friend of the Devil”: One of the most celebrated Dead standards, and some beautiful melodies. David Grisman plays a great mandolin. The song has been covered by Counting Crows, Bob Dylan, and many others.
  3. ” Sugar Magnolia “: Some great vocals from Bob Weir.
  4. ” Operator”: Pigpen sings lead this time. Although I prefer Weir and Garcia, this is good.
  5. “Candyman”: Ned Lagin’s piano is great on this.
  6. ” Ripple”: This was the B-side for “Truckin'”. The melody and Garcia ‘s vocals sound wonderful.
  7. ” Brokedown Palace”: Another one of my favorite songs on the album. I like the rhythm on this.
  8. “Till the Morning Comes”: Some beautiful harmonies on this one.
  9. ” Attics of My Life “: More great vocals and rhythm.
  10. ” Trucking”: This song is a bit overplayed, but I still enjoy it. It’s Grateful Dead’s “Freebird”.

Final Verdict: I already knew how excellent this album was because of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. My opinion hasn’t changed.

Grade: A+

Star Wars Visions Review: The Village Bride

Writers: Takahito Oonishi & Hitoshi Haga

Director: Hitoshi Haga

Summary: On a remote planet, a village chief ‘s daughter named Haku and her lover Asu wish to surrender themselves to bandits who have reprogrammed Sepratist droids to raid their village, despite her sister’s objections. A fallen Jedi named F and an explorer named Valco intervene when Haku’s sister faces execution.

Review: One of things I love about anime is how beautiful it can be. Kinema Citrus gives this story a rich palette.

The music for this short was the best I’ve heard in the entire series. Not to sell any of the others short, because they had excellent scores too.

As for the story, it was great. I liked the relationship between Haku and Asu. Their selflessness for their village made me want them to be together. I loved F and Valco’s fight with the droids.

Two more to go, and in reality, they could be tied.

Book of Boba Fett ep. 3: The Streets of Mos Espa

Writer: Jon Favreau

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Summary: Fett is tasked by water-monger Lortha Peel to punish cyborgs stealing his wares. Instead of punishing them, Fett employs them.

In the flashbacks, we learn that the Nikto gang massacred the Tuskens. The flashbacks are interrupted by Krrsantan, who makes short work of Fett’s security until Shand and the cyborgs gain an upper hand. The Twins return, saying they will leave Tatooine, and leave a Rancor behind. Fett wants to train the beast.

Fett and his new employees go to Shaiz and discover he is working for the Pykes. Fett realizes he must now prepare for war.

Review: I’m beginning to like that the more Fett tries to rule his way, the more complicated the situation gets. The fight with Krrsantan was excellent.

I loved seeing Danny Trejo and the Rancor. Trejo just looks like someone who could tame something that huge. I can’t wait to see Fett actually ride it.

Keep up the great work, everyone!

Ranking the Discography: Grateful Dead Part 4: Workingman’s Dead

Workingman’s Dead reached #27 on the Billboard Albums. It was certified Platinum in 1986.

Members:

Jerry Garcia: lead vocals, lead guitar, pedal steel guitar, banjo

Bob Weir: vocals, guitar

Phil Lesh: bass, vocals

Pigpen: keyboards, percussion, vocals

Bill Kreutzmann: drums, percussion

Mickey Hart: drums, percussion

The Tracks:

  1. “Uncle John’s Band”: I like the bluegrass style of this and its harmonies. The song has also been covered by the Indigo Girls and Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
  2. ” High Time”: More great harmonies on this one too. It’s got a good country feel.
  3. “Dire Wolf “: A great concert staple with a good folksy feel. One of the best songs on the album.
  4. “New Speedway Boogie”: A great romp with a fun rhythm.
  5. “Cumberland Blues”: An excellent bluesy tune. Another one of my favorite songs.
  6. “Black Peter”: This is the song I like the least, but it’s still good.
  7. ” Easy Hunter”: Some good vocals from Pigpen here. This has some great instrumentation.
  8. “Casey Jones”: Another one of the most famous songs on the album. Robert Hunter has said that the song just popped into his head. One of my favorites.

Final Verdict: This album was excellent. I wish I could have been in the studio to watch it all happen.

Grade: A

Star Wars Visions Review: TO-BI

Writer: Yuichiro Kido

Director: Abel Góngara

Summary: An armless inventor named Professor Mitaka has created a sentient robot named T0-B1, who dreams of becoming a Jedi. While searching for a kyber crystal to power a lightsaber, T0-B1 accidentally sends a signal into space, attracting a Sith Inquisitor to its presence. We eventually learn Mitaka is actually a former Jedi and TO-B1 is powered by a kyber crystal, meaning he is Force-sensitive.

Review: We Americans have Walt Disney, and the Japanese have Osamu Tezuka. Tezuka may not have started the manga industry, but he was one of the most prolific creators in both manga and anime. One of his most beloved creations was Mighty Atom, or his more famous name Astro Boy, which has been adapted into 3 series and a CG movie. This short is basically a love letter to the boy robot. Not only does T0-B1 bear a slight resemblance to Astro, but its name is similar to the name of the son of Dr. Tenma, his creator. In the story, Tenma’s son is killed by an oncoming car, and he creates Astro to replace him. Mitaka is modelled after Professor Ochanomizu, a colleague of Tenma who is head of the Ministry of Science, who becomes Astro’s surrogate father after Tenma rejects him (I’m currently watching the 80’s version of the anime). As a fan of Astro Boy, I loved this concept. I thought the idea of a Force-sensitive robot was a great way to pay tribute.

Next up are my top 3 favorite Visions shorts. Either one of these could be the best one, but I decided to put The Village Bride next.

10 Things I Hate

Believe it or not, I’m not 100% positive about the media I consume. I’ve been accused of this, but really it’s just that I’d rather talk about something I enjoyed. But just because I want to show that yes, there are some things I hate, here we go.

  1. “Ice Ice Baby ” by Vanilla Ice. Vanilla Ice was a thief who tried to claim David Bowie and Queen’s “Under Pressure” riff that he used for “Ice Ice Baby” was all his own. What makes this even more annoying is it was the first rap song to hit #1. Why couldn’t that honor have gone to someone with actual talent?
  2. Super Milk-Chan. This anime series aired on Adult Swim and stars Milk-Chan, a lazy crimefighter with an annoying nasally voice. I watched a few episodes and was sure I could hear my brain cells crying in agony.
  3. I Am Sam. This movie stars Sean Penn as an intellectually disabled man who is in danger of losing his daughter because the state doesn’t think he can raise a child after her mother dumps her on his lap. It’s another one of those awful stories that want you to think disabled people can’t lead productive lives.
  4. Batman: The Killing Joke. Now, let me make this clear. I’m not referring to the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland. That’s excellent. No, I’m speaking of the animated movie that started with an unnecessary and unwanted sex scene between Batman and Barbara Gordon.
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. This miserable story about an autistic boy who witnesses a dog being killed doesn’t deserve any of the praise it’s received. Many autistic people have come out against the book because it’s not a positive portrayal of autism, and it was based on stereotypes rather than actual research.
  6. Anything by Ted Nugent. This talentless hack only has fans because these morons agree with his views and want to “own the libs”. He’s even pushed fake cures for COVID!
  7. Anything by Kid Rock. I can say the same thing about Kid Rock that I can about Ted Nugent.
  8. The God’s Not Dead movies. I’ve covered my stance on this right -wing propaganda masquerading as a Christian movie series on this blog. Christians are not being persecuted in America! The GOP are not your saviors! Don’t think I didn’t notice that not a single movie was made during Trump’s tenure, and now that we’ve committed the “sin” of electing another Democrat, another movie was released last year. Oh, that review is coming!
  9. Left Behind. This 12-book post-apocalyptic series is based on Rapture theology and anti-Catholicism. I could get into the bad theology behind both of these, but that’s for someone more qualified.
  10. Teen Titans Go! This cartoon is an insult to fans of the comics and the original cartoon. It’s as if Cartoon Network made the cartoon to insult people who don’t like the way the network is run these days. Look, I know cable networks change. But don’t insult people like this.

There, that should prove that I’m not like that kid from the Life cereal commercials. (Although I do like that cereal. 😏)

Ranking the Discography: Grateful Dead part 3: Aoxomoxoa

Aoxomoxoa was one of the first albums to be recorded using 16-track technology. According to manager Rock Scully, the title is pronounced ox-oh -mox-oh-ah. This is the only album where Garcia sings lead on every track.

Members:

Jerry Garcia: guitar, vocals

Bob Weir: guitar, vocals

Ron “PigPen” McKernan: organ, percussion

Tom Constanten: keyboards

Phil Lesh: bass, vocals

Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart: drums, percussion

The Tracks:

  1. “St. Stephen”: This song references the first martyr of the Acts of the Apostles. I like the rhythm of the song.
  2. ” Dupree’s Diamond Blues “: An excellent bluesy number with some good keyboards.
  3. ” Rosemary”: This song was too short.
  4. “Doin’ That Rag”: Probably my favorite song from the album. This song just rocks.
  5. ” Mountains of the Moon”: Really like the vocals on this. Some excellent guitar riffs.
  6. “China Cat Sunflower “: One of the weirdest songs I’ve ever heard. I like it.
  7. ” What’s Become of the Baby”: This is supposed to be about Jesus’s birth, but the lyrics are difficult to understand. Luckily, a friend provided me with the lyrics.
  8. “Cosmic Charlie”: A pretty good trippy closer for the album.

Final Verdict: Despite having trouble understanding some of the album, I liked this one a lot.

Grade: A