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American Beauty

American Beauty by Grateful Dead
Released: Nov 1970
Label: Rhino/Warner Bros.
Digging the Grateful Dead ain't cool; that's why the majority of country rockers name-drop Grievous Angel, Sweethearts of the Rodeo, and Music from the Big Pink while "forgetting" to mention American Beauty. But they really should champion this LP because every single American knows this record note-for-note. It has become a part of our cultural DNA. Plus, it's just such a beautiful collection of cosmic, post-psychedelic bluegrass. Who among us hasn't ever had his or her heartstrings pulled just once by Papa Jerry's hushed falsetto on "Ripple" or cranked "Box of Rain" while cruising down the interstate?
Justin Farrar