Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Grateful Dead: Europe '72 [Warner Bros., 1972]
This live triple is where everybody except certified Grateful Dead freaks gets off the bus, but I've still got my card and it ain't a joker. Sure they're beginning to sound very complacent--the whole "Morning Dew" side could be scratched, and the long version of "Truckin'" proves conclusively that the song doesn't truck much. But the best stuff here--the ensemble playing on "Sugar Magnolia," the movement of "China Cat Sunflower," Garcia's It Hurts Me Too" solo, the lyric to "Ramble On Rose"--is a lot more than laid-back good. It's laid-back brilliant. Most of the rest, patchy though it may be, is laid-back good. Also, I like the way they sing. (And write.) B+