1. Liberty [Atlanta 3/30/94]
6. Childhood's End [Boston 10/3/94]
1. Easy Answers [Philadelphia 3/19/95]
3. Wave To The Wind [Auburn Hills 6/9/93]
All of the key members contributed songs for the new project, most of them co-written with long-time lyricist Robert Hunter. Jerry Garcia offered the folky “Lazy River Road”, the mid-tempo ballad of “So Many Roads”, the jaunty pop of “Liberty” (which had already appeared on Hunter's 1989 solo album Liberty) and the expansive ballad “Days Between”. Bobby Weir offered the funky “Corrina”, the new wavey “Easy Answers” and jazzy “Eternity” cowritten by Willie Dixon. Phil Lesh offered the downbeat “If The Shoe Fits” and ballads “Childhood’s End” and “Wave To The Wind”. Vince Welnick offered the exotic “Samba in the Rain” and the bluesy “Way To Go Home”. Most of the songs had a theme of traveling home, and much of Hunter’s lyrics seem to reference previous milestones of the band, as if this group of songs were wrapping up a 30-year career. Whether intentionally or not, that is exactly what happened.
Disc 1 of Lazy River Road opens with what I felt was the strongest (and most pop-friendly) track, “Liberty”, taken from Atlanta 3/30/94 (voted the best on headyversions). Next is Lesh’s mediocre-yet-palpable blues rocker “If The Shoe Fits”, which is an edit of the verses from Boston 10/2/94 and the choruses from New York 10/19/94 to make a definitive version. Next is one of the highlights of the album, the New York 10/14/94 “Corrina” that morphs into a fantastic jam, reminiscent of classic Grateful Dead (also voted the second best “Corrina” on headyversions). Another highlight is “Lazy River Road”, taken from the same show, followed by the embarrassing "Samba in the Rain", again from 10/14/94, including for posterity. Disc 1 closes with the whimsy of "Childhood's End" from Boston 10/3/94.
Disc 2 opens with one of the later, new-wavey versions of “Easy Answers” from Philadelphia 3/19/95, which I preferred. Garcia’s “So Many Roads” from Boston 10/1/94 is next, voted second-best on headyversions and, in my opinion, is far superior to the “final show” performance on 7/9/95. Next is the rather boring "Wave to the Wind", this being the least terrible version of the later 1993 performances, from Auburn Hills 6/9/93. The droning “Eternity” emerges late in the game, from Mountain View 9/17/94. Next is the highest point of the band in this era, Garcia & Hunter’s final masterpiece “Days Between”. This was a tough call, but I eventually used the second-highest voted on headyversions, from Los Angeles 12/19/94. The album concludes appropriately with Welnick’s “Way To Go Home” as more of an afterthought, taken from New York 10/19/94.
flac --> wav --> editing in SONAR Pro and Goldwave --> flac encoding via TLH lv8
*md5, artwork and tracknotes included