Friday, June 10, 2016

Bobby and the Midnites - Featuring Bob Weir (1981)

Here is another one of the myriad of obscure "side project" releases by Grateful Dead members. Like most of these endeavors, this one has some good stuff, some great stuff, and some lame material.

Bobby and the Midnites was an early '80s band led by Dead singer-guitarist Bob Weir when the Dead weren't touring. They released two albums. This is the first of them. Since the Dead had all but ceased making records at this point, this is where all Bob Weir's new material went. If you ever wondered whether Weir composed any new songs in between 1980s "Lost Sailor" and 1987's "Hell in a Bucket," the answer is yes he did. This album contains the first batch of 'em.

In the book "Grateful Dead FAQ: All That's Left To Know About the World's Greatest Jam Band," the author makes an important point about all this. He says that if the Dead's members hadn't gotten solo album deals and instead given their best songs to the band, you'd have a group with one of the greatest studio legacies ever. I tend to agree.

Imagine, if you would, the Beatles doing what the Dead did. What if Paul McCartney had struck a solo album deal in 1968 and kept band songs like "Hey Jude," "Get Back," and "Let It Be" for himself? That wouldn't have been to good for the motherband would it? And while there is nothing on this album that's as great as those tunes, both "Haze" and "Too Many Losers" would have been welcome additions to any Dead release or live show.

Those songs might not sound Dead-ish to some, but neither did a lot of Weir's 1980s material, like "Victim or the Crime," yet they still worked in the context of the Dead. When the Dead all played on something, it became "Dead music." Speaking of which, the late Dead keyboardist Brent Mydland is on this album and was part of this Weir side project, at least at this point.

So, let's add this clean rip from original vinyl to our growing compendium of half-forgotten Dead-related material (see below). Much of this music might have seemed trivial at the time it came out, but it's now part of history and has taken on added importance since Jerry Garcia's passing. And if you like this kind of thing, it's always fun to discover new old music from this era.

Other Grateful Dead -related posts:
Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions - Live at the Top of the Tangent (1964)
Keith & Donna - Keith & Donna (1975)
Diga Rhythm Band - Diga (1976)
Robert Hunter - Jack O' Roses (1980)
Brent Mydland - Unreleased Solo Album (1982)
Tom Constanten - Grateful Dreams (2000)

Grateful Dead posts:
The Grateful Dead - Aoxomoxoa (Original Mix, 1969)
The Grateful Dead - Spirit of '76: Live at the Cow Palace Bonus Disc (1976 Shows, Released 2007) 

Track list:
1. Haze
2. Too Many Losers
3. Far Away
4. Book of Rules
5. Me, Without You
6. Josephine
7. (I Want To) Fly Away
8. Carry Me
9. Festival

1 comment: