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- One of the things that made the Dead such a unique live act was the sheer variety of their influences. The vastness of the musical terrain they covered is well demonstrated on 1971's GRATEFUL DEAD, nicknamed "Skull & Roses" because of its cover art. It captures the band's live sound at a time when their marathon, acid-inspired concerts were swiftly becoming the stuff of legend and earning them legions of new fans.
- This set conveys the typical arc of a Dead show. The band could be economical and straightforward, with brisk, stripped-down numbers like the lilting "Bertha," the straight-forward country of "Me and My Uncle" and Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried," and the country-folk of "Me and Bobby McGee." They could just as easily go into lugubrious album-side-filling improvisations like "The Other One," and pump out loose-limbed, groovy versions of '50s rockers like Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" and Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode." The set concludes with the laid-back, joyous jam of the traditional "Goin' Down the Road Feelin Bad." Conspicuous in his absence is singer/keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, whose alcoholism was beginning to take its toll.
Professional ReviewsRolling Stone (11/11/71, pp.55-56) - "...a mixture of pleasant good-time music and solid solos, brought up and made even more attractive by the Dead's uniquely rich and magestic sound..." -Lenny Kaye
Q (7/93, p.107) - 3 Stars - Good - "...It's on originals like Garcia's haunting, melancholic 'Wharf Rat' and Bob Weir's tricky 'Playing In The Band' that they're at their best and Bill Kreutzmann's bomping drums are things of joy as ever..."
Down Beat (1/02, p.74) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...Clarified the band's instrumental strengths and a propensity for collective improv..."
|Format:||CD (0 Disc); Stereo|
|Release Date:||10 May, 2000|
|Guest Artist: ||Merl Saunders|