Bloody hell that was a quick two weeks, some clichés unfortunately happen to be true, especially the one about holidays being the fastest two weeks of the year.
As well as supervising the younger son's exploits on his bodyboard (no need for the elder who decided to spend two weeks in the caravan re-watching the Wire, a step up from last year's viewing, old episodes of Coronation Street on YouTube), I managed to read a few books and can thoroughly recommend David Ross's Welcome To The Heady Heights. One of the other two was "In Search of The Lost Chord - 1967 and the Hippie Idea, as the title suggests the book was all about the year that was the high water mark for the 60s counterculture movement. As you would expect there was quite a bit of emphasis on the music of the time, including of course the Grateful Dead.
I have to be honest I am not a Dead Head and never really got into them the same way as I did with other bands from the late 60s. I did own a couple of albums when I was a young teenager. The first thing I bought was Shakedown Street, if I'm honest, I bought for the cover which was by Gilbert Shelton responsible for the Freak Brothers and Fat Freddy's Cat. It was pish, to my 14 year old brain this had nothing to do with psychedelia or what I expected. I also bought a copy of the first album which failed to bowl me over either and I ended my investigations there, deciding that LSd was obviously needed to get this guff.
Fast forward twenty five years and I'm sitting at a table in a hotel in Bothwell after the end of a couple of friends wedding and another of the guests is waxing lyrical about "the Dead" and of course I had to stick my neb in, "hippy pish at is noodling, self indulgent worst" was my constructive input. But Jim gave a vigorous, impassioned defence of Garcia, Weir, Pigpen etc" So much so that a couple of weeks later I followed up on his recommendation to buy Live/Dead as this is about the best representation of what the Grateful Dead were all about in the early days and listen to it especially Dark Star. And you know what, I rather liked it. The lyrics are embarrassing nonsense but the music is pretty good and I have listened to Dark Star in particular pretty often since, the tune would be a hell of a lot better in my opinion if it was an instrumental.
I have never felt the need to investigate further but I have gone back and listened to Shakedown Street and it's not half bad too.
The Grateful Dead - Dark Star