My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: American Beauty was recorded through August and September of 1970 and was released in November of that year.
What I think: I wouldn’t call myself a Dead fan, and I’m certainly no fan of their live performances, but this is actually really good. It’s sort of a Byrds, The Band and CSN&Y hybrid, although the vocals aren’t nearly as good as either The Byrds or CSN&Y.
My favorites here are “Friend of the Devil”, “Ripple” and “Till the Morning Comes” although there really isn’t a bad track here. (“Candyman” isn’t the greatest, but I wouldn’t call it bad.) Though the standout of all of them is “Attics of My Life” with its three (four?) part harmony. Truly a beautiful song.
To me what this album really shows is that when these guys used some restraint in the studio and everything was working on all cylinders, they really were a great group of musicians.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? There is no doubt that this should be here, it’s a really wonderful album.
Rating (Out of 5): 4.5
Amazon Review (Out of 5): 4.5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (154/199)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 77%