Grateful Dead, Terrapin Station
The first Arista debut and first with an outside producer in nearly a decade
The epic title track, an all-time favorite among Deadheads, is an anomaly on this polished effort: the group's debut on Arista (following the demise of the band's label) and the first with an outside producer (Keith Olsen) in nearly a decade. "It actually sounds like a record," Garcia pointed out after its release. "People won't believe it's us." The 15-minute "Terrapin Station Medley" marks the Dead's final studio venture into cosmic adventuring (and the first and only with orchestration by Paul Buckmaster). Elsewhere on the overblown set, the Dead does Martha and the Vandellas (a disco-y "Dancin' in the Streets") and the Bible (a sterile "Samson and Delilah"). Weir's "Estimated Prophet" flirts with a reggae beat, but gets buried by Tom Scott's overdone brass.