Here are five albums that were very disappointing based on their predecessors. I have included my favorite songs from the albums which make them sound better than they are.
Wake of the Flood – The Grateful Dead (1973)
Wake of the Flood was the Grateful Dead’s first studio album since the outstanding American Beauty (1970). It was the first record on their own label. It followed the live Europe ’72 which had many excellent new songs. Wake only has one good song – the first one “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” (with Vassar Clements on fiddle). Some of the others are so laid-back that you could fall asleep – I’m talking about “Stella Blue” and “Row Jimmy”.
Cahoots – The Band (1971)
Even the Band knew Cahoots was a bad album. I saw them perform three times after it was released and they only performed “Life Is a Carnival” from it. That’s the only song from it on the live Rock of Ages which was recorded just months after Cahoots was released. There are two good songs on Cahoots – “Life Is a Carnival” with the great Allen Toussaint horn arrangement and Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece”. My opinion hasn’t budged in the 50 years since it was released. It was a huge disappointment after the first three albums and I doubt it will get a deluxe reissue like they did.
Common One – Van Morrison (1980)
What a disappointment. 1979’s Into the Music was one of Morrison’s best album and Common One is best suited to be a frisbee. Sluggish and quiet. Boring.
Goats Head Soup – The Rolling Stones (1973)
Maybe your opinion of Goats Head Soup depends on what you think of the single “Angie”. I don’t like ballads and I think it sucks. This was a huge letdown after the superb 1968-1972 run from Beggars Banquet through Exile on Main Street.
Diamonds in the Rough – John Prine (1972)
“Diamonds in the Rough is kind of miscast on this list. The performances and arrangements by Prine backed by Steve Goodman, David Bromberg and Steve Burgh are superb. They take Prine’s acoustic performances and sweeten them up for mass consumption. I wish this group had recorded his first album which has too much rock for me. The problem is that the songs aren’t nearly as good as the ones on his debut. “Everybody” is the only one that can stand with them.