Phil Lesh & Friends
There and Back Again
Surprisingly enough, this is only the second solo record from the former Grateful Dead bassist. With as much product as that organization puts out, I figured I had missed a few. If it’s Dead music you want, generally you can skip this disc. It’s more Allman Brothers, due, in large part, to the presence of former Bro’s guitarist and Gov’t Mule leader Warren Hayes. On the songs he takes the lead, such as “Night of a Thousand Stars” and “Patchwork Quilt” (which feels like a goodbye to Jerry Garcia), things roll along nicely in a sort of Little Feat boogie vein. The rest of the record isn’t bad, it just isn’t much. For all of Lesh’s prowess as a bassist, he’s pretty far down in the mix, and having Robert Hunter (Dead songwriter) provide lyrics might have been a mistake. His stuff reads like prose, but sings like a phone book. Edit, dude, edit. For those of you still on the road, this will go down well pre-show, but for those of us who have a hit and miss relationship with all things Dead, it=EDs a pass.
Columbia Records: http://www.columbiarecords.com