I'm currently working through Dennis McNally's gigantic but eminently readable A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of The Grateful Dead, and I just finished the part where he talks about the recording and sequencing of the Dead's first album. Based on his description of the shoddy recording process, you would expect it to be...not great. But I just gave it a relisten on Spotify, and it holds up surprisingly well. Like most pre-Sgt. Pepper's rock records, it doesn't really hang together that well as an album, but the songs are compelling (the originals, and the Dead's arrangements of the covers), and you even get to hear them stretch out a little in that singular, screechy 60s way on "Viola Lee Blues."