Blues for Allah

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Blues for Allah
A painting of a skeleton with long white hair wearing a red robe and sunglasses, playing a violin
Studio album by Grateful Dead
Released September 1, 1975 (1975-09-01)
Recorded February 27 – May 7, 1975
Genre Acid rock, jam rock, jazz rock, psychedelic rock
Length 44:13
Label Grateful Dead, United Artists[1]
Producer Grateful Dead
Grateful Dead chronology
From the Mars Hotel
Blues for Allah
Steal Your Face
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [2]
Robert Christgau C−[3]
Rolling Stone (mixed) [4]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5 stars [5]

Blues for Allah is the eighth studio album by the Grateful Dead. It was recorded between February 27 and May 7, 1975, and originally released on September 1, 1975. It was the third release under the band's own label, Grateful Dead Records, after fulfilling their contract with Warner Bros. Records. In Britain, the record was issued on United Artists Records, the band's only release on that label.[6] Although it has not received a RIAA certification as of 2016, Blues for Allah was the group's highest-charting album until 1987's In the Dark, having peaked at #12 in Billboard during a thirteen-week stay on the charts.[7]

Background and release[edit]

The band recorded the album during its short hiatus from touring that had begun in late 1974. Mickey Hart, who had guested in the band's final pre-hiatus concert on October 20, 1974, was credited with several songwriting contributions and played occasional percussion parts (including the recording of crickets heard on the title suite). Although he was not included in the band portrait on the back cover, he played drums with Bill Kreutzmann on the band's four 1975 live appearances and was officially reinstated as a band member by 1976.

The album's title track was only performed a handful of times in 1975 and never played again after that,[8] while several other tracks on the album were performed regularly for the rest of the Dead's career, such as "Crazy Fingers", "The Music Never Stopped" and the "Help on the Way > Slipknot! > Franklin's Tower" suite.

The album was released for the first time on CD in 1995 by Arista before being remastered, expanded, and released as part of the Beyond Description (1973–1989) 12-CD box set in October 2004. The remastered version was later released separately on CD on March 7, 2006 by Rhino Records.


Robert Hunter wrote[9] that the title track for the album is a eulogy to Saudi Arabia's King Faisal. Hunter claims that King Faisal was a fan of the Grateful Dead. King Faisal was assassinated by his nephew Faisal bin Musaid in the year the album was released.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
  1. "Help on the Way" (Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter) – 3:15 (lead singer: Jerry Garcia)
"Slipknot!" (instrumental) (Garcia, Keith Godchaux, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir) – 4:03
  1. "Franklin's Tower" (Garcia, Hunter, and Kreutzmann) – 4:37 (lead singer: Jerry Garcia)
  2. "King Solomon's Marbles:"
"Part 1: Stronger Than Dirt" (instrumental) (Lesh) – 1:55
"Part 2: Milkin' the Turkey" (instrumental) (Mickey Hart, Kreutzmann, and Lesh) – 3:25
  1. "The Music Never Stopped" (John Perry Barlow and Weir) – 4:35 (lead singer: Bob Weir)
Side two
  1. "Crazy Fingers" (Garcia and Hunter) – 6:41 (lead singer: Jerry Garcia)
  2. "Sage & Spirit" (instrumental) (Weir) – 3:07
  3. "Blues for Allah" (Garcia and Hunter) – 3:21 (lead singers: The Grateful Dead)
"Sand Castles and Glass Camels" (Garcia, Donna Godchaux, Keith Godchaux, Hart, Kreutzmann, Lesh, and Weir) – 5:26
"Unusual Occurrences in the Desert" (Garcia and Hunter) – 3:48
2004 reissue bonus tracks
  1. "Groove #1" (Garcia, Keith Godchaux, Hart, Kreutzmann, Lesh, and Weir) – 5:45
  2. "Groove #2" (Garcia, Keith Godchaux, Hart, Kreutzmann, Lesh, and Weir) – 7:35
  3. "Distorto" (Garcia) – 8:14
  4. "A to E Flat Jam" (Garcia, Keith Godchaux, Hart, Kreutzmann, Lesh, and Weir) – 4:39
  5. "Proto 18 Proper" (Garcia, Keith Godchaux, Hart, Kreutzmann, Lesh, and Weir) – 4:18
  6. "Hollywood Cantata" (Hunter and Weir) – 4:14
  • "Groove #1", "Groove #2", "A to E Flat Jam", and "Proto 18 Proper" – instrumental studio outtakes on February 27, 1975
  • "Distorto" – instrumental studio outtake on February 28, 1975
  • "Hollywood Cantata" – studio outtake on May 7, 1975


Grateful Dead
Additional musicians
Technical personnel
Reissue personnel
  • James Austin – production
  • Hugh Brown – design, art direction
  • Reggie Collins – annotation
  • Jimmy Edwards – associate production
  • Sheryl Farber – editorial supervision
  • David Fricke – liner notes
  • Joe Gastwirt – mastering, production consultation
  • Robin Hurley – associate production
  • Eileen Law – research
  • David Lemieux – production
  • Richard McCaffrey – photography
  • Hale Milfgrim – associate production
  • Scott Pascucci – associate production
  • Ed Perlstein – photography
  • Cameron Sears – executive production
  • Rob Taylor – assistant engineering
  • Steve Vance – design, art directtion



Year Chart Position
1975 Pop Albums 12[10]

Singles – Billboard

Year Single Chart Position
1975 "The Music Never Stopped" Pop Singles 81[11]


External links[edit]