Mobile Fidelity - UDSACD 2198 - SACD Hybrid Stereo
2,500 Numbered Limited Edition - Plays On All CD Players
Half-Speed Mastered from the Original Master Tape at MFSL
Mastered on the Mobile Fidelity GAIN 2™ Mastering Technology for Ultradisc UHR SACD
The Music Never Stopped: Grateful Dead's Blues for Allah Marks a Return to the Band's Collaborative Roots: Soul-Nourishing 1975 Album Includes "Help on the Way/Slipknot!"
Meticulously Mastered from the Original Master Tapes: Limited to 2,500 Numbered Copies, Mobile Fidelity Hybrid SACD Features Sublime Dynamics, Clarity, Detail, and Presence
"If you get confused, listen to the music play," counsels Grateful Dead leader Jerry Garcia on Blues for Allah. Surely, better advice has never been given. The band's only release during a self-imposed hiatus that lasted nearly 20 months, and the effort that witnessed the welcome return of percussionist Mickey Hart, the 1975 album marks the rebirth of a signature naturalism, spiritualism, and energy that had begun to fray because of ceaseless touring and financial pressures. And as experienced on this audiophile-caliber reissue, such inspired élan and elevated performance facets – embraced literally and figuratively on Bob Weir's hallmark "The Music Never Stopped" anthem – achieve transcendent heights.
Mastered from the original master tapes and strictly limited to 2,500 numbered copies, Mobile Fidelity's hybrid SACD possesses seemingly limitless dynamics, reference-grade presence, expansive soundstages, crystalline transparency, and a wealth of previously obscured information. Strongly informed by jazz themes and organic progressions, the album's arrangements unfold as a series of interlocking puzzle pieces that, together, comprise an adventurous landscape informed by compound structures, angelic harmonies, chiming tones, and brilliant colors. Every member's vocals resound with tube-like clarity and remain entirely free of artificial ceilings or unintended blurring.
The peerless transparency is reinforced by the chirping crickets on the title track, reggae-flecked crispness of "Crazy Fingers," and spinning-plate-on-a-stick rhythmic voodoo cast throughout by drummer Bill Kreutzmann. Recorded at Weir's intimate Ace Studios, Blues for Allah depicts the Grateful Dead returning to its collaborative roots: Entering the sessions with no preconceived ideas and letting inspiration move them brightly, resulting in improvised-meets-rehearsed compositions replete with varying time signatures, Middle Eastern motifs, and elegant scales. More than any other Grateful Dead studio record, Blues for Allah combines the ensemble's trademark exuberance with exacting precision and instrumental luster.
Aside from Phillip Garris' iconic, award-winning cover art dubbed "The Fidder," nothing illustrates the album's cosmic magic to the hair-raising extent of the album-closing "Blues for Allah" suite. A requiem, dirge, call to harmony, and plea for peace, the atonal closing track remains a subtle albeit universal statement about the importance of unity and the destruction that comes with war, division, and conflict. Delivered via Robert Hunter's poetic lyrics and the band's mesmerizing playing, the messages and prayerfulness resonate with as much – if not more – depth today than they did decades ago. Try not to lose yourself in the repeated refrains, Garcia's guitar arpeggios, or the invitation to twirl led by Keith Godchaux's graceful piano.
Of course, much of Blues for Allah is itself a dance goosed by a flurry of beautiful fusion devices and quicksilver melodies. Witness the taut "Crazy Fingers" – a series of haiku – or the knotty medley "Help on the Way/Slipknot!/Franklin's Tower," an exercise in controlled flow, urgent purpose, and, finally, liberating relief that remained a live staple from the moment it was introduced onstage. Not to be outdone, the wordless and acoustic-based "Sage & Spirit" feels the way its name sounds while the acid-jazz twists of "King Solomon's Marbles" swing via Phil Lesh's power-line-thick bass notes.
A soul-nourishing salve, Blues for Allah enchants with equal parts mysticism and reality, imagination and common sense. Rolling Stone scribe David Fricke insightfully deemed it a way to "shake away the darkness" and head "back to the light." Let it shine on brighter than ever via Mobile Fidelity's superb SACD reissue.
Help on the Way/Slipknot!
King Solomon's Marbles (Part I: Stronger Than Dirt, Part II: Milkin' the Turkey)
The Music Never Stopped
Sage & Spirit
Blues for Allah (Sand Castles & Glass Camels, Unusual Occurrences in the Desert)
Mobile Fidelity believes that mastering systems should be neutral and transparent. The essential idea is to unveil all the detailed musical information on the original master recording without adding deterioration, coloration or other sonic artifacts.
It is worth noting that Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab stands out as one of few record labels that independently invests in research and development of audio technology. With proprietary innovations such as GAIN 2™, general music enthusiasts and audiophiles alike have reaped the benefit of a higher consumer audio standard without investing in costly new hardware. Mobile Fidelity is pleased to work with a variety of engineering legends and companies including Tim de Paravicini, Ed Meitner, Pass Labs, Theta Digital and Sony Electronics.
Our joint efforts to seek out the ultimate audio experience, has resulted in significant advances for the technology of music reproduction.
GAIN 2™ Mastering Technology for Ultradisc UHR™ Hybrid SACD and Ultradisc II™ 24kt Gold CDs
For over twenty years, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab has continually searched for the ultimate audio experience. During this search MFSL engineers and associates created The GAIN™ System, a proprietary mastering technology which brought warmth and ambience to the compact disc format. A few years ago - with higher resolution formats on the horizon - the vision of GAIN 2™ began. As it stands today, GAIN 2™ is one of the greatest technical advancements in analogue and digital technology in the last ten years. It consists of a series of critical modifications and new components to Mobile Fidelity's proprietary mastering chain.
We feel that GAIN 2™ has come extremely close to meeting this goal. The key accomplishments of GAIN 2™ System are 1) the ability to extract all the musical information as possible through the Ultra High bandwidth analogue tape playback system with proprietary custom tape playback heads, reproducer electronics and 2) transparently capturing and storing that information with the Direct Stream Digital recording system.