Fricke's Picks: Zen Tricksters


Dead Ahead
Before there was a jam-band scene, there were the Zen Tricksters, a Grateful Dead-inspired New York band, founded in the mid-Eighties, whose grip on the Dead's canon was well-regarded even while the real thing was still around. Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay was in the Dead for most of the Seventies, and the pairing of her Southern-gospel alto and the Tricksters' roots-and-groove interplay on Donna Jean & the Tricksters (Heart of Gold) is a warm, perfect fit, especially in the early-Seventies Boz Scaggs-style R&B of "All I Gotta Say" and "No Better Way." The production will be too crisp and clean if your idea of nirvana is a '74 Dead soundboard. But this record is built for comfort and camaraderie, the old Bay Area way.

Alternate Take Main Next


David Fricke

Rolling Stone senior writer David Fricke has more than 10,000 albums in his New York apartment. His first record review for the magazine was Frank Zappa's 'Sheik Yerbouti' (RS 290).

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