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  • Selections From the Arista Years 1977-1995
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Selections From the Arista Years 1977-1995


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Audio CD, January 13, 1997
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Rock's longest, strangest trip, the Grateful Dead were the psychedelic era's most beloved musical ambassadors as well as its most enduring survivors, spreading their message of peace, love, and mind-expansion across the globe throughout the better part of three decades. The object of adoration for popular music's most fervent and celebrated fan following -- the Deadheads, their ... Read more in Amazon's Grateful Dead Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 13, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Arista
  • ASIN: B000024KCL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,348,253 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Anthony G Pizza VINE VOICE on March 17, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The Grateful Dead's enduring piece of Americana lies in concert. There, 30 years' preserved performances grew a musical/social counterculture whose substance abuse finally struck its leader/shepherd, guitarist Jerry Garcia, then scattered its thousands of cross-country wandering sheep.
The 2CD set "Arista Years," covering the group's last 15 years' studio/live LPs for Arista Records, proves the studio was prison more than haven for America's greatest non-stop traveling show. Working with outside producers Keith Olsen (Fleetwood Mac) and Little Feat's simpatico Lowell George, and with studio musicians (including Tom Scott's cool funk solo on "Estimated Prophet") traded the Dead's musical meanderings for 70s studio precision, with inconsistent results.
Disc One's highlights include 1978's near-hit "Good Lovin'" (given Latin-style backbone by the legendary Lesh/Kruetzman/Hart bottom, plus growling Bob Weir vocal and ace Garcia solo), the bouncy half-disco groove of "Shakedown Street," 1980's country rock "Alabama Getaway" and Brent Mydland's LP debut on "Far From Me." Missing are the group's take on "Dancing In The Street" (with vocals by Donna and the late Keith Godchaux) and 1980's "Don't Ease Me In."
Disc two begins with songs from "In The Dark," on which the Grateful Dead hit beyond its wildest nightmares. Ironically, from strictly studio perspective, "Hell In A Bucket," "Throwing Stones" and 1987's anthemic Top 10 "Touch Of Grey" are among the Dead's most focused, pop-oriented, finest studio creations.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. Gorham on September 15, 2006
Format: Audio CD
THE BAND: Several band members came and went during the Arista years, but these albums ALL have these players in common - Jerry Garcia (guitar, vocals), Bob Weir (guitars, vocals), Phil Lesh (bass), Mickey Hart (drums), Billy Kreutzmann (drums).

THIS DISCS: (1996) 2 discs containing 26 tracks clocking in at approximately 153 minutes of music (disc-1 at 77:50 minutes, and disc-2 at 74:57). Included with the discs is an 18-page booklet containing song credits/titles, a brief intro to the band, studio album cover pictures and insight into the goings-on at the time of each release covered here, and what songs came from which albums. The albums here range from "Terrapin Station (1977) through "Without A Net" (1990) only. Digitally remastered sound. Label - Arista.

ALBUM REPRESENTATION: Terrapin Station (4 songs), Shakedown Street (4), Go To Heaven (3), Reckoning/Live (2), Dead Set/Live (2), In The Dark (5), Built To Last (5), Without A Net/Live (1).

COMMENTS: Hardcore Deadheads will probably hate this (or any for that matter) compilation. Most long time fans claim you need the whole album experience to get into the Dead... or, see one of their 'live' shows. Indeed, I saw them live in the late 70's and it was an experience I'll never forget. I would agree with these sentiments for the most part... but, over the years I've never been a 'diehard' Grateful Dead fan. I like the band, and I like a lot of their songs... but I always considered myself a casual follower. I have several of their early era albums when they were on Warner Bros' label - "American Beauty", "Workingman's Dead", "Blues For Allah", and "Aoxomoxoa" (from 1969)... all Dead classics! I don't think anything the band did in the late 70's or 80's can match any of these albums.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mitchell Manzella on November 13, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Look... if you LOVE the Dead, I mean really LOVE them... then you're way past this collection. This is a great sampling of a large part of the band's catalog, and I would say anyone who is looking for a good "1st" Dead listen... YES this is a good collection. From here though, you will want to go out and get all the albums that this CD takes its songs from.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Johnny Boy on April 3, 2011
Format: Audio CD
For starters, I am a fanatical Deadhead. So obviously, I have all of the Dead's Arista albums (studio and live) from 1977-1991 anyway (including 'Infrared Roses,' which is not represented here). So obviously, this 2-CD set was not meant for me or anyone else like me.

And for that reason, I am going to give as fair and as non-biased review as I can possibly give.

In 1976, the Dead, tired of being on their own label, departed Grateful Dead Records and signed with Clive Davis' up-and-coming Arista Records label. The label would also sign other artists who were "survivors" of the 1960s throughout its history, including Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, and the KBC Band (which was Paul Kantner, Marty Balin, and Jack Casady of the Jefferson Airplane), but that's another review altogether.

Many people complain the quality of the Dead's music declined after signing on Arista. I disagree entirely. 'Terrapin Station,' their 1977 album and the first with Arista, remains to this day one of my favorite Dead albums period, with the title track being one of my favorite songs (but this is probably because progressive rock is my favorite genre, and this song is a largely progressive piece).

The title track (over 16 minutes in length), obviously does not appear here on this budget-oriented two-disc set. What you do get are tracks from: 'Terrapin Station' (1977), 'Shakedown Street' (1978), 'Go to Heaven' (1980), the live 'Reckoning' (1981) and 'Dead Set' (also 1981), 'In the Dark' (1987), 'Built to Last' (1989), and the live 'Without a Net' (1990). So technically, saying this disc spans to 1995 is misleading. It really ends in 1990, after keyboardist Brent Mydland's passing.

But the material here is great and diverse.
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