This sprawling three-records-on-two-CDs set offers a healthy cross-section of material and finds the band honing even further its blend of musical languages. There are country-inflected boogies, blues rave-ups, passionate ballads, and, of course, the extended, adventurous jams that made them famous. Many of the Dead's best-loved tunes made their initial vinyl appearances here, including "He's Gone," "Jack Straw," "Brown-Eyed Women," "Ramble on Rose," and "Tennessee Jed"--most of which reveal a heavy country influence, especially in Robert Hunter's lyrics. In addition to introducing these new songs, Europe '72
also showcases brilliantly fine-tuned versions of "Truckin'" (complete with a lengthy "Epilogue") and "China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider," which became the first of the band's many magical song combinations. --Marc Greilsamer
Bonus tracks: The Stranger (Two Souls in Communion); Looks Like Rain ; two versions of Good Lovin' ; two versions of Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks) , and Who Do You Love .