Day 119: Althea, 3/15/90

This version of Althea is my original reference version. I heard this long before the album version and listened to it quite a lot when I had a tape deck in my old 1990 Chevy Astro van in college and a compilation tape of my favorite cuts from Without A Net. This is my second Althea selection, and I consciously picked another the first time around because this version was just too obvious and the goal here it is to try to find diamonds in the rough sometimes.

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This song has been released twice. Once on Without A Net, obviously, and again as part of the Terrapin Station Limited set, which consists of the entire 3/15/90 show. I opted for this one because it’s more readily available in case anyone reading doesn’t have Without A Net and wants to pick up a copy (which you really should do if you don’t have it).

There’s some nice reverb in the room and Bobby (I’m pretty certain) plays some palatable slide here. Who knew that was possible?! Jerry’s solo isn’t in a rush and he clearly selects his notes with care. In other words he’s playing very deliberately. He’s in good voice as well. It’s always nice to hear Jerry in good form all around. Brent adds some chimes to lead into another instrumental break, a nice little nuanced touch. That’s the way MIDI should be done – sparse and precise. Brent adds some synth wash right before the bridge and is treading dangerously in my book. Keep it clean fella!

Another quick instrumental passage allows Jerry some freedom. Once he moves away from the MIDI, Brent adds some nice tonal colors. I’m sure it’s a setting on his keyboard but it sounds a bit like a toned down clavinet. Now that would have been something cool to try here! The main instrumental passage toward the end focuses on Brent and Jerry, and both play some nice runs. All told it’s a very solid version of a great song and easy to see (or hear, rather) why it was included on Without A Net.

Complete Setlist 3/15/90

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6 comments to “Day 119: Althea, 3/15/90”
  1. lunchbox,
    Played this yesterday at work as this is one of the latter day Dead songs that has a feel of earlier stuff for me. Keep in mind, that most stuff post Donna and Keith are considered latter day Dead to me. I do like this song and despite Jerry’s strained vocals it’s pretty sweet. Actually, Jerry’s strained voice actually adds to the feel of the song, as it creates a deeper feeling of longing or searching for answers as time passes by, which is the theme of the lyrics I’m guessing. Just ordered 2 more Road Trips a few days ago. Hoping the one from 77 comes with the bonus disk, which is happening lately, but either way, looking forward to the Help/Slip/Franklin trio which I always love, but have far to few versions of.

  2. Now this song is not exactly a blues, but it kind of works that way. It’s a tale of danger and certainly one of Hunter’s finer ballads. This version tumbles forward just a tad, adding prolonged release rather than tension. There are better ones out there. Don’t forget we are just a few, short years from The End, and as such we’re lucky to have it this good. The bridge is boosted big-time by our bass boomer. Nice! He’s low in the mix, probably by his own choice since he was in the control room. The final verse has a bit more light and action and leads to a mellow guitar solo that includes some really nice little figures. It ends shortly and sweetly.

  3. Joe, I’m a bit disappointed that folks are getting bonus discs with RT1.2 right now. I ordered my copy from a year or so ago and didn’t get one. Of all the RT bonus discs that might be the best one, IMO, as that was one of the best releases in the series.

  4. Lunchbox,
    I agree w/ the view of this release coming w/the bonus disk being a negative for folks not getting it earlier. There was a post a couple of weeks ago about getting the Bdisk, little bit surprised and didn’t order. Would love to have that disk and hopefully that’s the case. I’ll report as soon as it arrives. One never knows at times where the Dead machine is coming from. Kinda what makes the whole adventure interesting. Won’t be offended if the bonus is not there, but would love to have it.

  5. Well Lucky me the 77 Road Trip did arrive w/ the bonus disk, which is indeed a good one. I usually miss out on things like this, so maybe I was just due. I’m sure with time a bunch of the old releases will find their way to be re-released. Just have some patience and dive in with more passion for what we do have.

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