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TOP 100 REVIEWERon February 18, 2014
Fans may know this box set includes the three individual albums that were released years ago. But if you're new to this band, this is (finally) all the material from The Boarding House recorded decades ago. I'd heard rumors for at least 10 years that a complete set was in the works, but I eventually gave up after nothing seemed to be happening. But here it is in all it's musical glory, and having the complete sets is a small revelation. Even the tunes that are here more than once in various sets have something special to offer fans.

The band; "Red" (Peter Rowan), "Dawg" (David Grisman), "Spud" (Jerry Garcia), "Mule" (John Kahn), and "Clem" (Vassar Clements), loved playing bluegrass music, something that's really evident with the complete sets. Having the tunes in order with complete sets gives a more organic feel, a certain flow, that's missing somewhat from the individual albums containing the various songs picked for those three original volumes. The 14 unissued tune are as good as the released stuff. Yes there's repetition, but if you like this kind of music that's no problem. Each disc has a few unissued tracks in the mix and being straight sets they fit in seamlessly.

With this complete set of concerts another piece of Jerry Garcia's musical intellect and love of music has been brought to life. The majority of the tracks have been released, so some fans will want to stick with the three volumes of Garcia's trip into bluegrass music which I understand. But for others, being able to hear Garcia and his friends playing the old tunes alongside "newer" songs, on acoustic instruments, the way the music should be played (and heard), is like getting a long lost present you thought you'd never receive.

The music and the performances are warm and intimate, and the unissued tracks are well worth hearing. Plus it's nice to hear everything in it's original order and in context, and for fans (like me) this is worth having. This documents a short period of time and only a few performances before the band splintered with everyone going their own way. But the music is great, and it's nice to finally have everything in one nice box set.

The discs slip into slots in the quad-foldout cardboard packaging. There's no booklet, just lists of the four sets, and a very short essay that has no new information that fans don't already know. There's several period b&w photos of the band members--that's it. A booklet would've been nice, but the music is the most important thing here, and at this late date (40 years on!) to have all the music from each set is great. Cheers.

Plus fans of NRPS might want to check out the soon to be released "Glendale Train" live set featuring the original band (Torbert, Dryden, Garcia, Dawson, and Nelson) playing a good relaxed set of music. The sound overall is okay/good but lacks a bit of depth. The booklet doesn't have much in the way of information, just a short essay on the band and the music. But this set is a good example of how this band sounded in the early days. Bottom line--if you liked the first album--you'll want to hear this live set.
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on August 28, 2014
I had everything officially released from these great concerts and was reticent about coughing up the cash, but knew I would eventually, and after one of those bittersweet impulse orders I found myself with this set... Not a moment too soon.
Beautiful sound: most solos are brought up slightly in the mix, but not jarringly so- very subtly. The improved instrument separation really complements Bear's recording methods and feels much more like a great live recording. John Kahn's double bass is much more present on this mix, too- a huge improvement.

All the extra tracks (everything is in original concert sequence) are equally brilliant and the reason they were left off previous releases is obviously not due to inferiority.

The packaging is quite nice, although the discs are in the foldout cardboard cover, not jewel trays, but mine were not scratched or marked in any way- bonus!

A great price (the bank payed for mine- Ha!) and brilliant for first purchases of this group's output and an important improvement on the previous releases.
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on August 5, 2014
First, I'm a Deadhead and that is a probative factor, whether deliberate or unconscious, in the evaluation of any work encompassing the participation of a band member. This appears to both undermine and explain the contention that I have absolutely no predilection for bluegrass, yet find the music performed by OITW almost narcotizing in effect and addictability.

But, at this point, long after purchase, this release is certainly not collecting dust and I'm self-certain of my genuine appreciation for the music as devotee independent of her affection for Jerry and all things Dead - at least enough to attempt what I hope might be a helpful review for some.

A couple years ago, I bought the original (that is, first of three) apparent prior releases of this material and, even then, discovered its curious (for me) gravitational pull ; however, as with the Dead's Europe '72 behemoth, this shorter run of similar musical genius does not suffer from duplicity of set lists, not that there is considerable variability in renditions as with the previously cited GD tour.

Indeed, many times, Jerry is a secondary player on this stage of giants, but this perverted relativity - which really never repeated itself in the iterations of any bands he performed with (JGB/LOM/JG & MS Band/Dead) - highlights yet another facet of his performance brilliance: the capacity to help make others shine in a dutifully supporting role; but, this is not to suggest that JG is a wallflower! Indeed on a number of occasions he steps front and center demonstrating the picking skills of his first love (banjo) that later translated so finely to his legendary career on lead guitar.

Having noticed a lot of new (or returning) Heads in the 'regular places' on the net - which probably has a lot to do with the prolific (and most excellent) releases from the vault by Rhino Records and Grateful Dead Productions - I, as a pretty new devotee (as of this writing I'm in the dwindling shadow of the big three-oh while having been really listening to the GOGD for only about 3-4 years), want to strongly encourage my peers to explore this brilliant sound (both in terms of play and Bear's crystalline recordings), which would otherwise fall far outside the conventional purview of "classic" rock, let alone the dominant genres of hiphop, hybrid country, and electronic music that dominate popular sales today./peace, love, and smile, smile, smile...kate
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on May 10, 2014
It is just great, really if you have the original releases, get this because it has more music and the original sequence that the songs were played.

I will probably get the hi-res version from David Grisman's site too, it is mastered at 24-96. That is for the sheer joy of hearing nearly the "master tape" quality.

This recording was made by Owsley, and it has all of the sonic attributes associated with his perfectionism when he recorded live shows. We will miss him and several of the performers that have passed-on.
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on April 17, 2015
Not all of the stuff recorded at The Boarding House by Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, Peter Rowan and company but close to it, certainly one take of every song seems to be present here at roll call. This is a bluegrass supergroup, yes, but really a bluegrass hippie supergroup when you get down to it. They have chops and attitude and they have a (then) young person's attitude towards the material which is still refreshing today and was very refreshing then. I think the world of this band and endorse them heartily tho' they lose a star as this is only acceptable sound and nothing sonically special. Oh, check out their updated band, Old And In The Grey, where they carried on with Herb Pedersen replacing the late Jerry Garcia.
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on August 2, 2014
#10: Jerry
#09: David
#08: America’s Bestselling Bluegrass Band
#07: Exceptional Audio
#06: Great Audience
#05: Peter
#04: Song Quantity surpassed only by Song Quality
#03: Songs are Tight and Band is Loose
#02: Sweetness, Joy, and that Beautiful, High and Lonesome Sound
#01: Vassar!
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on June 14, 2014
Fine recordings: Thank you Bear!!
Fine playing: Thanks to the band!
BUT, I see no reason why there are fades between most every song. Destroys ambience. Useless as "document" of the events. Plenty of time on the discs to just let the tapes roll. What we are given is not what the gigs sounded like in the hall.
It also would have been nice to get a booklet with more exhaustive liner notes (perhaps by Steve Silberman).
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on June 15, 2014
Along with the album/CD Old & In The Way, a great way to get into these wonderful musicians.
I get all I can of these gentlemen.
A (40 year old) modern take on "old-timey" music, but still part of Americana.
In the second half of the sixties, my (definitely cool) father used to bemoan the possible death of great bluegrass music.
These gentlemen certainly kept it rolling along.
Add to that tracks like "Wild Horses" and "Panama Red" and you've got a great blend of old and new.
Get this now, don't even think twice.
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on April 5, 2014
This is the Crown Jewel in my opinion. I honestly feel that the work Jerry did with David Grisman FAR surpasses his many achievements with the dead.

The packaging, liner notes, and photos are all great. I love the tape cover. The sound on these recordings is excellent.

The Dead are easily one of the most important rock bands in history of Rock and Roll
But at the head of that freight train was a living breathing example of pure love and consciousness.

Jerry loved music and it comes through so clearly in his solo and side projects. That is why this set was a must have for me. I have listened to the entire 4 disc set about 4 or 5 times over already and I have had it less than a week.

Each track is ripe with emotion and heart and love. This was a moment in history captured in audio form. Even my wife who tends to stick to the dead more so began to fall in love with Old and in the Way.

It went from "blue grass is not my thing" to her belting out Old and in the way ... that's what I heard em' say!

This album will turn any Dead Head into a pure Jerry devote.

* as a side note I would like to say AMAZON really took care of me on this order. I had 2 items and the one got cancelled. Even though I was a few cents short on the $35 minimum (65 cents) they still honored the free shipping.
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on March 21, 2014
I've had the single CDs for a long time but this really is the way to go. Having all of both day's music in the order play is wonderful. I could be wrong but it seems that Dawg remastered them as well. You can feel how much the players are enjoying this & I have to wonder if this could be Garcia's favorite band. My only (small) quibble is that I wouldn't call this a box set. What it is is a 4 CD set - no box. In no way does that make the music less & that is the bottom line.
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