Grateful Dead

Skeletons from the Closet: The Best of Grateful Dead [Warner Bros.]

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Skeletons from the Closet has been long-lived as a Grateful Dead primer, though it was superseded by The Very Best of the Grateful Dead in 2003. Fans of the band's live show have noted that Skeletons only contains two live tracks from a band whose live shows are its strongest suit. Still, Skeletons remains a good introduction to the band's early -- and arguably best -- work, and is also a great disc for the casual fan. Favorites include "Truckin'," "Sugar Magnolia," "Friend of the Devil," and "Casey Jones," classic tracks taken from 1970's Workingman's Dead and American Beauty. The disc also includes a couple of early Bob Weir jewels, "Mexicali Blues" and "One More Saturday Night," and an edited version of "Turn on Your Love Light" by Ron "Pigpen" McKernan. The disc offers several selections from the Dead's early albums, including "The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)," "St. Stephen," and "Rosemary." The tracking order of the songs isn't always chronological but it does have a natural flow, with the possible exception of the high-powered "Love Light." While most new fans will opt for The Very Best of the Grateful Dead, Skeletons -- for longtime fans -- will always be a great disc for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

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