11 Songs, 1 Hour 9 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Whereas the Grateful Dead’s first official live album, 1969’s Live/Dead, explored the band’s early interest in jazz-infused psychedelia, Skull & Roses exposes its down-home roots. More than half the album is comprised of covers of classic country, blues, and early rock ’n’ roll songs. In 1971, to hold up Merle Haggard and Buddy Holly as your heroes was still a bold position, but the Dead’s love for Americana was so pure and unaffected that even the naysayers were drawn in by sweet, shuffling renditions of “Mama Tried” and “Not Fade Away.” The Garcia/Hunter original “Bertha” and covers of “Johnny B. Goode” and “Big Railroad Blues” (originally done by Cannon’s Jug Stompers) reasserted the band’s love for old-fashioned rollicking rock, in spite of their growing reputation as the preeminent purveyors of space music. The album’s pinnacle is the first appearance of the classic “Wharf Rat,” a hallucinatory lament that captures the anger, sorrow, and grace of all the long lost blues records beloved by this band.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Whereas the Grateful Dead’s first official live album, 1969’s Live/Dead, explored the band’s early interest in jazz-infused psychedelia, Skull & Roses exposes its down-home roots. More than half the album is comprised of covers of classic country, blues, and early rock ’n’ roll songs. In 1971, to hold up Merle Haggard and Buddy Holly as your heroes was still a bold position, but the Dead’s love for Americana was so pure and unaffected that even the naysayers were drawn in by sweet, shuffling renditions of “Mama Tried” and “Not Fade Away.” The Garcia/Hunter original “Bertha” and covers of “Johnny B. Goode” and “Big Railroad Blues” (originally done by Cannon’s Jug Stompers) reasserted the band’s love for old-fashioned rollicking rock, in spite of their growing reputation as the preeminent purveyors of space music. The album’s pinnacle is the first appearance of the classic “Wharf Rat,” a hallucinatory lament that captures the anger, sorrow, and grace of all the long lost blues records beloved by this band.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.
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Ratings and Reviews

4.7 out of 5
94 Ratings

94 Ratings

thug ,

good stuff

Skull and Roses is probably my favorite Dead album. Anyone from a loyal Deadhead to someone who isn't very familiar with the Dead's tunes would enjoy this album. Mama Tried, Me & My Uncle, and Johnny B. Goode are amazing covers of old country songs that the Dead turned into amazing numbers. Playing and Wharf Rat are my two favorite songs on this CD, Wharf Rat a mysterious, intriguing, and baked jam, Playing in the Band, a Grateful Dead classic and concert favorite. I hope you enjoy this album, I certainly do.

TheCosmicAmerican ,

Great intro to The Grateful Dead

I never knew much about The Grateful Dead until i fell in love with American Beauty. After wearing out Beauty and Workingman's Dead, I was more interested to learn about their live work and I started here. Some good jams without being overwhelming and staying in the stoner cowboy vein of the two previously mentioned studio albums, Skull & Roses is a great place to start getting into The Grateful Dead's live work and The Grateful Dead album I return to the most.

dead_head_8503 ,

one of the best live albums

this was the grateful dead's second live album, compiled from recordings made in 1971. it is a really nice addtion to their catalog, not only because it introduced necessary tracks like bertha, me and my uncle, and wharf rat (one of my all-time favorites), but it contains some really great jams too. most notable is the other one, a song debuted on the dead's second album, anthem of the sun, but here is expanded into one of the band's most awesome jamming vehicles. and the not fade away / goin' down the road feeling bad sequence really rocks. playing in the band is also another great tune introduced here, before it appeared on bob weir's "ace", and while this is a good version it is nothing compared to the psychedelic monster it would become later on. if your have live dead and europe '72, and want to hear more of what the dead were all about this should be your next purchase.

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