The Grateful Dead went three years between studio albums in the period leading up to Wake of the Flood. Over that time, blues-soaked keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan had died and replacement Keith Godchaux began to take the group into jazzier territory on the return. It should have made for an exhilarating combination of styles — sorta like 's Aoxomoxoa mixed with 's American Beauty , the breakthrough album that had been the Dead's most recent non-concert offering.
Unfortunately, Wake of the Flood falls somewhat flat because so many of the songs had been shaped and defined through appearances in the group's legendary live sets. Aggressive Bittersweet Druggy. Energetic Happy Hypnotic.
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