Circles Around The Sun
Interludes For The Dead
For their “Fare Thee Well” concerts the Dead enlisted fellow traveler Neal Casal (Chris Robinson’s Brotherhood, Phil Lesh and Friends, Hard Working Americans) to provide break music to be played between sets at the mammoth concerts, and boy, did he deliver. Out of the five hours requested Rhino has assembled a two CD set, and while it ain’t the Dead, it maintains the same groovy vibe and stellar musical prowess that Jerry Garcia and crew were known for.
Casal brought along Adam MacDougall, keyboard player in both the CRB and Lesh’s Friends, bassist Dan Horne (Beachwood Sparks) and drummer Mark Levy (The Congress) and together they went into a studio and wrote the songs as it flowed, collectively and live. And it works. Totally instrumental, it reminds you at times of the longer, improvised sections of Dead shows -particularly the sun-drenched “Saturday’s Children”- and at other times the funky interplay between Garcia and Bay Area keyboardist, the late Merl Saunders on those late ’70s records.
The record ends with their version of the Garcia- Robert Hunter song “Mountains of the Moon”, originally on the 1970 Dead release AOXOMOXOA, redone acoustically, which provides a fitting end to this unique collection. For something that was conceived originally as background music, Interludes for the Dead stands on its own both as a musical work, and as a testament to the lasting influence- and continuing inspiration- of what the Grateful Dead achieved. I think Jerry would be proud.