The Dead ploughed a unique furrow from psychedelia through to acoustic country/folk via many baroque twists and turns in the period this collection covers - 1966 through to 1972. On the way they picked up the makings of a fanatical following, and even enjoyed mainstream success and gold records. But they had yet to become the iconic "last of the hippie" band of their latter era.
What's new here is mostly from the earliest phase of the dead - 1966-1969, and dissappointingly the key album of them all, Live Dead merely adds a minute or so intro to their most astonishing and enduring work, "Dark Star".
But check out the bonus tracks on the Anthem disc- ferocious jams and relentless noise- to get a fair idea of how menacing the dead could sound at their psychedelic best.
One revelation is how good "Europe 72" sounds after all these years.
Packaging is excellent- a lavish booklet and each disc in its own gatefold sleeve.
Is it worth the money? Ifyou're seriously wanting to get into the dead's music, then go for some of the wonderful Dick's Picks series to hear them at their peak.
Ones which are indespensable: Dicks Picks 3, 4, 10, 11, 12 and 18.
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