The Very Best of Grateful Dead

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Winnowing down three decades' worth of material from this pioneering rock juggernaut into a single-disc retrospective would seem to be a daunting task -- particularly given the Dead's notorious propensity for jamming and stretching out. This challenge is answered by the decision to focus on studio material -- only a '72 version of "One More Saturday Night" nods to the Dead's live prowess. This wide-ranging disc does a fine job of capturing the band's often-overlooked ability to spin a musical yarn concisely without losing the magical "x-factor." While not organized chronologically, The Very Best reaches clear back to the Dead's first Warner Bros. single, "The Golden ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Winnowing down three decades' worth of material from this pioneering rock juggernaut into a single-disc retrospective would seem to be a daunting task -- particularly given the Dead's notorious propensity for jamming and stretching out. This challenge is answered by the decision to focus on studio material -- only a '72 version of "One More Saturday Night" nods to the Dead's live prowess. This wide-ranging disc does a fine job of capturing the band's often-overlooked ability to spin a musical yarn concisely without losing the magical "x-factor." While not organized chronologically, The Very Best reaches clear back to the Dead's first Warner Bros. single, "The Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion," and makes pit stops at every tune that would be recognizable even to non-Deadheads. That means "Truckin' " shows up, as does "Casey Jones" and the band's sole hit single, "Touch of Grey" -- making it an essential, portable encapsulation of a vastly influential band. Initial pressings of the disc include a replica pass from the band's final tour in 1995.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It only seems like there has been an endless stream of Grateful Dead compilations. In reality, there has only been a handful, and the most notable of those were released while the band was still an active recording and touring unit in the '70s -- and before they had belated chart success in the late '80s, 20 years after their debut album. So, Warner/Rhino's 2003 collection The Very Best of Grateful Dead marks the first attempt to do a thorough single-disc overview of the group's career, encompassing not just their classic Warner albums but also the records they cut for their own Grateful Dead/UA and Arista. As always with the Dead, it's hard to condense the band's free-ranging, freewheeling output onto one disc, and there are some big songs and concert staples missing here, including the perennial "Dark Star," "Jack Straw," "Black Peter," "Stella Blue," "Brokedown Palace," "Playing in the Band," "Wharf Rat," and "Terrapin Station." They are missed, some more than others, but the 17 tracks here do present nearly all sides of the Dead while hitting their biggest songs: "Truckin'," "Touch of Grey," "Sugar Magnolia," "Casey Jones," "Friend of the Devil," "Uncle John's Band," "Box of Rain," and "Ripple." As that list proves, this is a set that leans heavily on the twin peaks of Workingman's Dead and American Beauty, but there's a reason why those two are beloved of Deadheads and casual fans alike: the classic songs are there. Also present here are staples like "The Golden Road," "One More Saturday Night," "Estimated Prophet," "Eyes of the World," and "U.S. Blues," which may not be as well-known to the general populace but help fill in the picture and provide a good portrait of the band. The collection would have been better if sequenced a little more chronologically, but nevertheless it provides a first-class introduction to a band whose catalog can often seem a little unwieldy.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/16/2003
  • Label: Rhino
  • UPC: 081227389925
  • Catalog Number: 73899
  • Sales rank: 16,369

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Grateful Dead Primary Artist
Mickey Hart Percussion, Drums
Jerry Garcia Guitar, Piano, Pedal Steel Guitar, Vocals
Bob Weir Guitar, Vocals
Tom Scott Saxophone, Lyricon
Tom Constanten Piano, Keyboards
Merl Saunders Organ
Howard Wales Organ
Jordan Amarantha Percussion
English Chorale Vocals
Martyn Ford Conductor
Donna Jean Godchaux Vocals
David Grisman Mandolin
Matthew Kelly Harp
Bill Kreutzmann Percussion, Drums
Phil Lesh Bass, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan Organ, Acoustic Guitar, Harmonica, Percussion, Conga, Keyboards, Vocals
Brent Mydland Keyboards, Vocals
David Nelson Electric Guitar
Steven Schuster Saxophone
Dave Torbert Bass
Robert Howes Conductor
Technical Credits
Mickey Hart Composer
Jerry Garcia Composer, Producer
Grateful Dead Producer
Bob Weir Composer
Robert Hunter Composer
Lowell George Producer
James Austin Producer, Liner Notes
John Perry Barlow Composer
Hugh Brown Art Direction
Paul Buckmaster Orchestral Arrangements
John Cutler Producer
John Dawson Composer
Joe Gastwirt Remastering
David Hassinger Producer
John Kahn Horn Arrangements
Bill Kreutzmann Composer
Phil Lesh Composer
Bob Matthews Producer
George McCorkle Composer
Keith Olsen Producer
Gary Peterson Discographical Annotation
Betty Cantor Producer
M. Christian Composer
Stanley Mouse Cover Art
David Lemieux Producer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    nice studio compilation

    I recently purchased this as a "beginner's disc" for my 18 year old nephew. Like a lot of people, I have a sizable collection of live shows, but don't think that a concert is usually the best place to start for somebody who has never listened to the dead. This compilation is a great place to start for a neophite, and was fun for me to listen to also. A nice collection of songs, and heard together, reminds me that the dead weren't always flat in the studio, as a lot of people believe. After getting used to the sound, either find a friend with live shows to burn for you, use bit-torrent to download on-line, or purchase one of the outstanding Dick's Picks.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews