Dylan & the Dead is a collaborative live album by Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead, released on February 6, 1989 by Columbia Records. The album consists of seven songs written and sung by Dylan, with the Grateful Dead providing accompaniment. The album was produced by Jerry Garcia and John Cutler.
Dylan & the Dead was recorded in 1987, during a successful stadium tour of the same name. Songs from two of the Grateful Dead performances are documented on the album View from the Vault IV.
The album sold well, reaching #37 on the Billboard charts in the U.S., #38 in the UK, and earning gold status in the United States.
There are many bootleg albums of the collaboration between Bob Dylan and Grateful Dead. In 1992 he first concert in 1987 was released as a bootleg under the title Orbiting Uvula. This includes the first ever live performance of Queen Jane Approximately, the first live performance of John Brown since 1963 and the first live performance of Chimes of Freedom since 1964.
When discussing this tour with Dylan fans, many consider the bootlegs better than the official release. I used to agree, but lately I’ve grown to like he Dylan & The Dead album better than I thought I ever would. And the remastered release from 2009(?) is much better sounding than the original release.
Highlights for me are: Gotta serve somebody and Queen Jane Approximately
Despite strong initial sales, the album was poorly received by critics. Rolling Stone stated that the record “makes you wonder what the fuss [over the tour] was about,” although they did have some kind words for several of the tracks. Writing for The Village Voice, influential music critic Robert Christgau said that what Dylan “makes of his catalogue here is exactly what he’s been making of it for years—money.” Amazon.com’s Steve Appleford lamented that “if these were the stadium tour’s best performances, pity anyone who actually sat through one of these concerts with a clear head.” Stephen Thomas Erlewine’s review for AllMusic was particularly harsh, giving it one star out of a possible five, and calling it “quite possibly the worst album by either Bob Dylan or the Grateful Dead” and “a sad, disheartening document.