2023 REMASTER + 2022 LIVE SHOW
Het solodebuut uit 1972 van de gitarist en zanger bevat meerdere nummers die later highlights van de vele liveset van de Grateful Dead werden.
Deze luxe 50th anniversary ediitie bevat de 2022 geremasterde versie en een tweede cd met live-opnames.
In the early 1970s, the Grateful Dead
were playing the most exciting music of their long career, writing many
of the songs that would sustain them for the next two decades, but they
weren’t spending much time in the studio. A newcomer might take a look
at their discography between ’70’s American Beauty and ’73’s Wake of the Flood
and conclude that the famously stage-centric band had abandoned studio
albums entirely: a pair of live records and a solo outing each from
singer-guitarists Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir.
Though Garcia’s solo debut often sounded like the work of the Dead, and
contained several songs that the band would make their own in concert,
in practice it was a hermetic affair, with Jerry playing nearly all of
the instruments himself. Weir’s, on the other hand, features the full
lineup, save for keyboardist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, still an official
member but in ill health at the time.
19 years old at the time of the Dead’s founding in 1965, Weir was the
band’s youngest member, and spent its earliest years as a support
player, adding shards of harmonic accompaniment to Garcia’s liquid lead
guitar lines. Over time, he grew into a sort of second frontman: affable
and workmanlike, the guy onto which the audience could project
themselves, his easy relatability a natural foil to Garcia’s gnomic
mystique. Ace marks Weir’s transition from mere rhythm
guitarist to a full-fledged composer and driving force of the band.
Despite its origins as a receptacle for surplus Weir material, all of
its songs but one became beloved staples of the Dead’s live sets.
was writing songs steadily in the early ’70s: “I got a lot of material,
and I just can’t use all of it for the Grateful Dead,” he told a Crawdaddy interviewer months after Ace’s
release. But soon after he began working, the other members started
showing up, asking if they could contribute: “Everybody gets wind of the
fact I got the time booked, and I may be going into the studio. So, one
by one, they start coming around, Lesh and Garcia, ‘Hey, man, I hear
you got some time booked at Wally Heider’s. Need a bass player? A
is a Dead truism that the live tapes are more essential than the
albums, an inversion of the hierarchy that governs other bands’ canons. Ace
is no different. Surely, most listeners of its 50th Anniversary Deluxe
Edition will be more familiar with various bootlegged versions of
“Playing in the Band” or “Greatest Story Ever Told” than the recordings
presented here. From the perspective of deep fandom, it is almost
impossible to imagine how the album might come across on its own terms
to a listener approaching its songs for the first time. On the surface,
it fits in with other West Coast folk- and country-rock of its time. But
Weir, the Dead’s jorts-wearing regular joe, is a much stranger composer
than he initially seems. Melodic lines, and sometimes entire song
sections, jut out crookedly from their surroundings. Complex rhythms
disguise themselves as simple, and vice versa. It might take you several
listens to discern which part of a given tune is supposed to be the
chorus, if it has one at all.