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Pop - Released November 6, 2012 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Pop - Released October 30, 2001 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

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Pop - Released June 1, 1970 | Rhino - Warner Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
With 1970's Workingman's Dead, the Grateful Dead went through an overnight metamorphosis, turning abruptly from tripped-out free-form rock toward sublime acoustic folk and Americana. Taking notes on vocal harmonies from friends Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Dead used the softer statements of their fourth studio album as a subtle but moving reflection on the turmoil, heaviness, and hope America's youth was facing as the idealistic '60s ended. American Beauty was recorded just a few months after its predecessor, both expanding and improving on the bluegrass, folk, and psychedelic country explorations of Workingman's Dead with some of the band's most brilliant compositions. The songs here have a noticeably more relaxed and joyous feel. Having dived headfirst into this new sound with the previous album, the bandmembers found the summit of their collaborative powers here, with lyricist Robert Hunter penning some of his most poetic work, Jerry Garcia focusing more on gliding pedal steel than his regular electric lead guitar work, and standout lead vocal performances coming from Bob Weir (on the anthem to hippie love "Sugar Magnolia"), Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (on the husky blues of "Operator"), and Phil Lesh (on the near-perfect opening tune, "Box of Rain"). This album also marked the beginning of what would become a long musical friendship between Garcia and Dave Grisman, whose mandolin playing adds depth and flavor to tracks like the outlaw country-folk of "Friend of the Devil" and the gorgeously devotional "Ripple." American Beauty eventually spawned the band's highest charting single -- "Truckin'," the greasy blues-rock tribute to nomadic counterculture -- but it also contained some of their most spiritual and open-hearted sentiments ever, their newfound love of intricate vocal arrangements finding pristine expression on the lamenting "Brokedown Palace" and the heavenly nostalgia and gratitude of "Attics of My Life." While the Dead eventually amassed a following so devoted that following the band from city to city became the center of many people’s lives, the majority of the band's magic came in the boundless heights it reached in its live sets but rarely managed to capture in the studio setting. American Beauty is a categorical exception to this, offering a look at the Dead transcending even their own exploratory heights and making some of their most powerful music by examining their most gentle and restrained impulses. It’s easily the masterwork of their studio output, and a strong contender for the best music the band ever made, even including the countless hours of live shows captured on tape in the decades that followed. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Rock - Released June 20, 1969 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

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The Deadheads are back. Among the many documentaries and events that go with each anniversary, the cult band have reissued one of their best works: Aoxomoxoa. Released on 20th June 1969, two months before Woodstock, the palindrome includes two of the jam-masters’ classics: St. Stephen and China Cat Sunflower. There’s Rosemary too, a dazzling ballad arranged by Jerry Garcia. Less experimental than Anthem Of Sun, the Grateful Dead’s third record features Tom Constanten on piano and Mickey Hart on drums. In addition to the 16 re-recorded tracks from 1969 and 1971, this Deluxe Edition boasts a live performance from January 1969 recorded at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Pop - Released May 5, 2017 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

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Rock - Released September 16, 2003 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

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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. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 9, 2014 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

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Pop - Released September 27, 2019 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

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During a period of unprecedented success, the Grateful Dead had, by the early '90s, become one of the highest-grossing touring acts in the world. The band's unswerving commitment to their own exploratory ethos and the die-hard fanship that grew around them made them an anomaly among their '60s-rock peers who toured America's football stadiums and sheds presenting a tidy, crowd-pleasing revue of greatest hits and latest singles. In spite of their constant windfall of ticket revenue, the Dead approached each show afresh, dictating set lists at random, experimenting boldly with whatever sonic toys were currently tickling their fancy, and subjecting listeners to nightly periods of often-impenetrable improvised space-jazz mayhem to be traded, rated, and heatedly discussed over the coming days by the group's traveling community of bootleggers. A somewhat legendary taper's classic, the band's second night at New Jersey's 80,000 capacity Giants Stadium in the summer of 1991 was a predictably unpredictable behemoth lauded more for its oddities than overall cohesion. Boasting the relatively short-lived two-man keyboard battery of Bruce Hornsby (piano, accordion) and Vince Welnick (synths), the show's lush tonal palette was a hallmark of this era. Out of the gate, they toss fans a curveball, opening for the only time in their career with the 1973 classic "Eyes of the World." Ten minutes into its sprightly tangle, each member seems to be bouncing along on his own misty plane, punching out a litany of orange-hued notes before Jerry Garcia casually slips in a closing verse. Another of this show's defining narratives is its recurring "Dark Star" flirtation, instigated early on by Bob Weir, which teases instrumentally at various points during each of the three sets without ever coming to full-suite fruition. It seems to exist as more of a spiritual undercurrent, spurring on other improvisations, some of which get quite heady. Weir's "Saint of Circumstance," whose title retroactively graces this set, reaches particularly colorful dynamic heights, its soaring intro a fusion of luminous synthetic guitar crescendos and cascading keyboards. Later on, Garcia drives the band into an unhurried and rather dreamy 11-minute edition of "Uncle John's Band," before briefly heading back to "Dark Star" base. Somewhat shorter highlights include the then-recently reintroduced "New Speedway Boogie" and Weir's blissfully riffed gem "Cassidy." One of just a few shows mixed from 48-track analog tapes, Saint of Circumstance captures the Dead not necessarily at their best, but certainly at a point where they had begun to morph into yet another unique phase. Embracing MIDI-technologies and touring with a confounding triple threat that, in addition to lead bassist Phil Lesh, consisted of dueling keyboardists, guitarists, and drummers, the Dead somehow bore none of the neo-classical pomp of prog-rock or tired swagger of their classic rock contemporaries, but simply existed as they always had, on their own island chasing the nightly whims that made each show a unique experience. © Timothy Monger /TiVo
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Pop - Released May 13, 2016 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

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Pop - Released September 7, 2018 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

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Pop - Released November 22, 2019 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

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A perennial live experience, the Grateful Dead's studio output was usually overshadowed by their legendary endless touring and the multitudes of live recordings it produced. After a prolific '70s, their studio output slowed dramatically during the '80s. The band focused on touring, with their final studio album, Built to Last, coming out seven years before Jerry Garcia's death in 1995. The Dead hadn't completely disavowed the studio, however, and were introducing new songs into their live repertoire throughout the early '90s. Ready or Not collects select concert performances of nine songs the group were workshopping for what would have been their 14th studio album. Played only a handful of times in 1992 and 1993, the material falls into the classic, drifting sway of live Grateful Dead meandering but holds glimpses of the core songwriting strengths the band built their empire on. The reflective mid-tempo composition "So Many Roads" is perhaps the best example of this. The dusty and nostalgic tune could fit in almost anywhere in the group's discography, with this seven-plus-minute version making plenty of space for Garcia's signature guitar soloing. "Eternity" is a more boogie-oriented number, but the wiggly and mystical Bob Weir-led song could also fit in as a bonus cut on Wake of the Flood or Terrapin Station. Some of the material suffers from the band's cornier early-'90s tendencies. "Way to Go Home" is a tedious would-be rave-up that never really gets off the ground, and the faux horns and late-night talk show groove of "Easy Answers" didn't age well. The good coming hand in hand with the bad is just part of the unspoken contract fans make with the Grateful Dead, however. Around the corner from every dud is a beautiful moment like "Days Between." Ready or Not indeed offers a glimpse of what another studio album from what turned out to be the group's later phase would have sounded like, only with the buffer of comfort that comes from them working out the songs on-stage. It's a document not quite like any of the Dead's hundreds of other archival releases, zeroing in on unfamiliar and exciting material. There's a bittersweetness in knowing that this is as much of an idea as we'll ever get for what was next on the agenda for the band when their time ran out. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 14, 2014 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

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Rock - Released January 10, 2014 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

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Pop - Released June 27, 1974 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

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The Grateful Dead made their reputation on the road with their live shows, and they always struggled to capture that magic in the studio. From the Mars Hotel, while not a classic, represents one of their better studio albums. Jerry Garcia sounds engaged throughout and takes the vocal reigns for most of the songs on the album -- although he's not the most gifted vocalist, he proves himself able and versatile. He sings the rollicking opener, "U.S. Blues," with a tongue-in-cheek seriousness that gives the political song an edge, and he lends emotional sincerity to the atmospheric ballad "China Doll." Garcia shines on guitar during the funk workout "Scarlet Begonias," but the ensemble work is best displayed on the album's centerpiece, "Unbroken Chain." During this song, all the musicians are allowed to shine: Phil Lesh, the bassist and songwriter, provides tender vocals over a piano-based arrangement while the bridge allows the guitars and drums to stretch out in classic Grateful Dead style. This album is highly recommended for fans, but casual listeners should start with American Beauty or Workingman's Dead. © Vik Iyengar /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 1, 1975 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

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Pop - Released August 31, 2004 | Rhino - Warner Records

The Grateful Dead commemorated their first extended European tour with an extravagant triple-LP set appropriately enough titled Europe '72. This collection is fashioned in much the same way as their previous release -- which had also been a live multi-disc affair. The band mixes a bevy of new material -- such as "Ramble on Rose," "Jack Straw," "Tennessee Jed," "Brown-Eyed Woman," and "He's Gone" -- with revisitations of back-catalog favorites. Among them are "China Cat Sunflower" -- which was now indelibly linked to the longtime Dead cover "I Know You Rider" -- as well as "Cumberland Blues," "Truckin'," "Sugar Magnolia," and "Morning Dew." With the additional album the band was able to again incorporate some of their exceedingly stretched-out instrumental improvisations -- titled "Epilogue" and "Prelude" here. Since their last outing, the group had expanded to include the husband-and-wife team of Keith Godchaux (keyboards) and Donna Jean Godchaux (vocals). Sadly, this European jaunt would be the last of its kind to include the formidable talents and soul of founding member Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (organ/mouth harp/vocals), who was in increasingly fragile health. Although few in number, his contributions to Europe '72 are among the most commanding not only of this release, but of his career. © Lindsay Planer /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 17, 2013 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

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Pop - Released February 11, 2003 | Rhino - Warner Records

The Grateful Dead's fourth title was likewise their first extended concert recording. Spread over two LPs, Live/Dead (1969) finally was able to relay the intrinsic sonic magnificence of a Dead show in real time. Additionally, it unleashed several key entries into their repertoire, including the sidelong epic and Deadhead anthem"Dark Star" as well as wailing and otherwise electrified acidic covers of the Rev. Gary Davis blues standard "Death Don't Have No Mercy" and the R&B rave-up "(Turn on Your) Lovelight." Finally, the conundrum of how to bring a lengthy performance experience to the listener has been solved. The album's four sides provided the palette from which to replicate the natural ebb and flow of a typical Dead set circa early 1969. Tomes have been written about the profound impact of "Dark Star" on the Dead and their audience. It also became a cultural touchstone signifying that rock music was becoming increasingly experimental by casting aside the once-accepted demands of the short, self-contained pop song. This version was recorded on February 27, 1969, at the Fillmore West and is presented pretty much the way it went down at the show. The same is true of the seven remaining titles on Live/Dead. The rousing rendition of "St. Stephen" reinvents the Aoxomoxoa (1968) prototype with rip-roaring thunder and an extended ending which slams into an instrumental rhythmic excursion titled "The Eleven" after the jam's tricky time signature. The second LP began with a marathon cover of "(Turn on Your) Lovelight," which had significant success for both Bobby "Blue" Bland and Gene Chandler earlier in the decade. With Ron "Pigpen" McKernan at the throttle, the Dead barrel their way through the work, reproportioning and appointing it with fiery solos from Garcia and lead vocal raps courtesy of McKernan. "Death Don't Have No Mercy" is a languid noir interpretation of Rev. Gary Davis' distinct Piedmont blues. Garcia's fretwork smolders as his solos sear through the melody. Likewise notable is the criminally underrated keyboard work of Tom Constanten, whose airy counterpoint rises like a departing spirit from within the soul of the song. The final pairing of "Feedback" -- which is what is sounds like it might be -- with the "lowering down" funeral dirge "And We Bid You Goodnight" is true to the way that the band concluded a majority of their performances circa 1968-1969. They all join in on an a cappella derivative of Joseph Spence and the Pinder Family's traditional Bahamian distillation. Few recordings have ever represented the essence of an artist in performance as faithfully as Live/Dead. It has become an aural snapshot of this zenith in the Grateful Dead's 30-year evolution and as such is highly recommended for all manner of enthusiasts. The 2001 remastered edition that was included in the Golden Road (1965-1973) (2001) box set tacks on the 45 rpm studio version of "Dark Star" as well as a vintage radio advert for the album. © Lindsay Planer /TiVo
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Pop - Released March 23, 2018 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

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Rock - Released July 26, 2013 | Grateful Dead - Rhino

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