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Aoxomoxa was their third release and came out in 1969. The previous album Anthem for the Sun was as wild and far out as anything they did - famously Phil Lesh claimed they were trying to record the sound of 'thick air' and we all know how difficult that is!
Aoxomoxa has its very weird moments too, especially on the sound collage that is What's Become Of The Baby?' But it also some of their best songs of their early period notably 'China Cat Sunflower' which is possibly my all time fave Dead track and which was often performed with I Know You Rider as a single piece. Indeed, on Europe 72 you can hear them transforming China Cat into Rider for about three or four minutes. It is quite, quite magical and is certainly some kind of musical telepathy.
The Dead are an acquired taste which I acquired in the late 70s, aided by our homegrown, which helped make sense of the music, if you know what I mean. I like all their records and while this has its challenging moments, it never really dates. The Dead seem to exist outside of time and space.
Both this and the debut album peaked at #73 on the Billboard charts - spooky coincidence huh? What is the universe trying to tell us? But it made no impression in the UK who were a bit slow to get with the Dead groove.