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The Very Best of Original recording remastered

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, September 26, 2006
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Biographyby William Ruhlmann

Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jerry Garcia was best known as a founding member of the Grateful Dead, the rock band for which he served as de facto leader for 30 years, 1965-1995. Concurrently for much of that time, he also led his own Jerry Garcia Band (JGB), and he performed and recorded in a variety of configurations and a variety of styles, ... Read more in Amazon's Jerry Garcia Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 26, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: 2006
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B000ECXC3Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,088 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Deal [Disc 1]
2. Bird Song [Disc 1]
3. Sugaree [Disc 1]
4. Loser [Disc 1]
5. The Wheel [Disc 1]
6. Let It Rock [Disc 1]
7. Russian Lullaby [Disc 1]
8. Might As Well [Disc 1]
9. Mission In The Rain [Disc 1]
10. I'll Take A Melody [Disc 1]
See all 16 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Catfish John (1973) [Disc 2]
2. Deep Elem Blues (1987) [Disc 2]
3. Ripple (1987) [Disc 2]
4. Positively 4th Street (1975) [Disc 2]
5. The Harder They Come (1977) [Disc 2]
6. Gomorrah (1990) [Disc 2]
7. Dear Prudence (1979) [Disc 2]
8. Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power) (1990) [Disc 2]
9. Evangeline (1990) [Disc 2]
10. Deal (1980) [Disc 2]

Editorial Reviews

This special 2-CD collection salutes one of the most legendary figures in all of rock n' roll, beloved Grateful Dead lead guitarist, vocalist and eternal good will ambassador Jerry Garcia. Outside the realm of the Grateful Dead, Jerry pursued a broad array of folk, bluegrass, blues, and roots rock side projects throughout his storied career. His solo albums capture the heart & soul as well as the rich talents of this incomparable music icon. Disc 1 - studio tracks, Disc 2 - live tracks.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 19 customer reviews
Also great pricing.
Andrew Jay
Also a great addition to the library of all Grateful Dead fans in general.
Kathleen Forbes
The recipient loves it, so that's as good a review as I can give.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth M. Goodman on September 27, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I'm one of those folks who bought this strictly for CD 2, because I already have everything that's on CD 1. Regarding CD 1, all in all, I have to say they did an "almost perfect" job in the song selection. The "Garcia" album is well represented in that you get the good songs without those scary instrumentals. From "Compliments," I agree with selecting Let It Rock, but I would not have selected Russian Lullaby. I would have selected that mysterious and wonderful song Mississippi Moon or that fantastic song, Turn on the Bright Lights. I think that "Reflections" is well represented. From "Cats Under the Stars," I love the title track of course, but I would not have selected Rubin and Cherise or Rhapsody in Red. The selections from "Run for the Roses" are good selections. All in all, CD 1 is very very good, even with my minor quibbles.

CD 2, the live material, is "better than good." Of the three acoustic tracks that begin CD 2, I like the first track, Catfish John, because it really does capture that "high lonesome sound" a-la Bill Monroe. The Positively 4th Street is very good. The reggae tune The Harder They Come is excellent, mostly because of the bass, they really thump that bass like a fine dub tune. Gamorrah is a very good live version, though I think I prefer the studio version on Cats Under the Stars. Dear Prudence is EXCELLENT. Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) is fantastic, although you probably already have that track on those "Jerry Garcia Band" CDs. The inclusion of Evengeline is unfortunate, in my opinion. So many better tracks than that could have been chosen. The final track, Deal, is very has a sort of mellowness to it that is nice, rather than the harder, rock-out Deals we're used to.

So I would give the whole package 5 stars. Try using CD 1 in your car, it seems to work well that way for me.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Thomas D. Ryan on November 28, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Compiling something called "The Very Best of Jerry Garcia" must have been a Herculean task, if not a Sisyphean one; how can you possibly cull thousands of hours of recordings down to 140 minutes? It's either heroic, or it's impossible. The answer lies squarely in the middle. This is a nice collection, and very representative of Garcia's solo career, but any true fan would recognize anything called "The Very Best of Jerry Garcia" to be an oxymoron. His solo work was incredibly erratic and uneven, soaring from the unequivocal genius of his first album, "Garcia," but sinking to the confusing morass entitled "Run for the Roses." Strictly speaking, a greatest hits collection would encompass all of the former while (more or less) ignoring the latter, but that is not what a career retrospective disk ought to do, and that is what this really is. To be truly representative, it must gloss over highlights while lingering a bit too long on weaker efforts.

The layout itself is quite intelligent, dedicating one disk to the studio recordings, while dedicating the second to live highlights. The "Garcia" album does have five representative tracks, including the magnificent "Deal," "Bird Song," and "Sugaree," but overlooks "To Lay Me Down" and the totally weird spacey psychedelia of "Late for Supper/Spidergawd/Eep Hour." Meanwhile the thoroughly unremarkable "...Roses" album is represented three times. Garcia's take on "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" is an aural sedative, and "Without Love" is a decidedly non-climactic ending to an otherwise satisfying disk.

Fortunately, the live disk compensates nicely. Here, the combination of cover songs and originals compliments Garcia's abilities, and the track selections are more...umm, selective.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Forbes on February 6, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This double CD anthology of Jerry Garcia's work will not fail to please Garcia fans. One CD features studio-recorded music, while the second consists of live performances. All tunes selected are lyrical, top-notch in their representation of Jerry's exceptional guitar skills and most feature beautiful examples of his singing voice. Also a great addition to the library of all Grateful Dead fans in general.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By saltfish&ackee on March 14, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Best of collections are problematic and rarely seem to please the masses. I think this compilation, as the liner notes indicate, tries too hard to showcase all of the different styles that Garcia dabbled in - reggae (Heaven's Door), blues (Without Love), old-timey jazz (Russian Lullaby), straight-ahead rock (Let It Rock, Rhapsody in Red), country (The Wheel) - but in so doing, the collection misses some of the heart of what Jerry was all about. At least to me. I love the inclusion of just about everything from the first eponymous Garcia album, but the omission of "To Lay Me Down" breaks my heart. Re: the studio cuts on disc one, I would have removed "Let It Rock" (put that on the live disc 2, with Reconstruction), "Mission in the Rain" (again, the live solo on this song was often gripping), and "Without Love" (he sings his heart out here, but the song does not represent the "very best of Garcia"). "Rubin & Cherise" was also better live, as the studio keyboard sections tend to grate. Finally, the lugubrious reggae version of "Heaven's Door" does not hint at the power that Garcia could muster for live deliveries of this tune (MSG - Sept. 1987 encore with the Dead..). Had the compilers deleted these songs and inserted "To Lay Me Down," "Comes A Time," and "They Love Each Other" - perhaps "Road Runner" or "Mystery Train" as well, given space - it would have greatly improved the studio collection. Disc Two starts off well (I love the bluegrass version of "Catfish John" w/ Old & In the Way), but cuts 2 & 3 are from the "Almost Acoustic" recording, and not new to fans and collectors. One of Garcia's live staples was "How Sweet It Is," and it is notably absent here. "Gomorrah" has always been a snoozer, and it's inclusion on the live disc is extremely puzzling. "Evangeline" is also a weak cut.Read more ›
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