I gained my affinity for Brent Mydland era Dead thanks to Built to Last. I have only had my admiration grow listening to shows available from his active years. Whether it is the fact Dick’s Picks favor 70’s Dead or just the natural ebb and flow in celebrating different eras, but anyone who poopoos giving it a listen is crazy.
Brent brought a gravely soul to the music. Easy to Love You is off the 1980 album Go to Heaven. Despite how incredibly moving Built to Last has been to me I didn’t go searching out studio Dead until after hearing live versions and wanting to hear their studio analogue. Does this make sense, to dig so deep into one thing and not explore the rest of an artist’s creations? No, but the same thing happened with Dinosaur Jr., so I guess to a degree in my world view, makes sense. I, uh, pace myself… yeah, that’s the ticket…
Anyway the studio version of Easy to Love You is… it is horrible. Stripped away is any of the soul in Brent’s voice. Then I downloaded the version from the Download Series Volume 7 from 9.3.80-9.4.80 Providence R.I. Ugh, it lacked the grit and soul too.
I was first exposed to the song on the Spring 1990 – So Glad You Made It compilation. I purchased the album in my pursuit of any version of Blow Away I could get my mitts on. There are so many stellar cuts on this compilation and they work rather well given that they are not from a single show. But yes, the 3.22.90 Easy to Love You is some of the sweetest music I have listened to in a long time.
I think of my wife and my daughter when I hear the song.
“Good, good morning, so good to see you
You weren’t just a dream of mine
Real as a raven, real as thunder
Real as the sun shining
But still so very hard to find
I can’t imagine what’s behind those sleepy eyes”
Reading it might illicit an “mmmkay” from the jaded. I can see that. Listen to the whole song. The vocal performance is just the beginning. The musical performance surrounding just brings it all together.
“Little stranger, don’t try to hide now
You look so young and you’re afraid
There is no danger but from the devil
And he may want you but I’m in his way
You don’t know how easy it is
You don’t know how easy it is to love you”
The highlighted part of the verse is where the song infuses me with power. Again, I can’t do justice to the performance in description. But when I hear it, I have the conviction stirring in me that you hear him sing with. And I love it.