Things have been a little quiet around here. I seem to have not really been able to get my act together enough to write a coherent sentence that was positive. So on the drive this evening as I finally got finished with the three day snow experience that managed to paralyze Portland Oregon but was just a lot of fun to work in I figured out how to end this Year of the Dead for me.
No I never managed to play all the Dick’s Picks albums, or even all of the studio albums. I never managed to go see any of the Dead live although several elements past through town or are appearing soon. I never managed to deepen my appreciation for the 80’s on in any meaningful way. I did however manage to confirm for myself that the albums I really like, I really do like. Also that I can manage to enjoy just about any show recorded from the late 60’s to about 78 and that Donna Jean may be a great singer but she can almost certainly manage to ruin just about any rendition of Playing In The Band she appears on.
So as I struggled through the frozen landscape of Clackamas County I figured the best panacea was some warm weather music from the Dead. It’s a strange timeless experience traveling on frozen deserted roads, fog rolling across the highway as you struggle up hills and around corners. The best bit about the side roads is that people tend to avoid them, preferring the highly polished major arteries. That are populated by insane people driving all wheel drive nightmares far too fast. Slow and steady is not the by-word for the majority of drivers. Of course the lazy rhythms of the Dead can manage to keep you alive in these circumstances.
As I was working and driving I figured that the best choice was Workingman’s Dead. It‘s slow paced blue collar tempos did not cause too much consternation for the passengers as they sat white knuckling the ride to work. High Time relaxed them with it’s familiar pedal steel and strolling bass line. Actually they were having a great time sipping their latte’s and laughing.
I am after all an engaging and fun filled driver. The plea for some Lady Gaga from the young folk in the back was shushed by the grizzled veterans next to them as Dire Wolf taught them what may happen if we broke down and New Speedway Boogie and Jerry and the boys tried to come to terms with the tragedy of Altamont. By the time we got through the whole album on a journey that usually took 25 minutes or so but was stretched to 40 plus by the weather they were singing along to Casey Jones and had the sunny disposition of the Dead convert and no I did not let them stop at any to the 7 marijuana grows we passed on the way in.
Three days of driving for work, picking up people to make sure the kids were looked after, making hot chocolate with marshmallows, two igloos built, helping four strangers put their chains on and sleeping the sleep of the exhausted all to the dulcet sounds of Jerry and the chaps in their prime. Successful end to the week, however the winter weather warning for tomorrow was not welcome as I would really like a weekend.
So there it is, my year of the Dead, I have not managed to keep track of any of this in an orderly fashion, guess I have a lot to think about for this blogging thing. This thing probably all began with the gift of American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead around this time last year so it’s fitting that it should all end here as well. Not sure if any of this made sense and I never had a schedule and I know there are a lot of records I missed but hey it was my trip and like the last few days it was a fairly strange one.
So these are my last two pictures, the drive home tonight.