I have to admit I am very prejudiced about this album by the Grateful Dead. I’m not a dead head matter of fact I haven’t much attention to their other albums except for Jerry Garcia’s bluegrass album
“Old and in the Way”. Jerry played banjo and is still one of the great bluegrass albums. Well back to “American Beauty”.
In 1972 I lived in a one room apartment just off campus. At that time I was absorbed with three things “Be here Now”, ” Zen Flesh Zen Bones” and listening to “American Beauty”. “American Beauty” fit right in. It was a Zen album if there ever was one. I played it over and over while meditating or reading. At first I viewed it as music but it was really Zen in every aspect. The song Ripple pulled me deeper into the album in that it exposed every aspect of a Zen koan.