A fascinating listen born from an interesting idea, Stolen Roses culled existing live Grateful Dead covers from a diverse expanse of sources. The musical styles represented include everything from newgrass and a cappella to old-school punk, and even a high school marching band pays tribute to one of the Dead's more recognized songs. Bay area historian David Gans handpicked the tracks from his extensive experience as host of the nationally syndicated radio show The Grateful Dead Hour and offers the listeners some real gems; the honest musings of Elvis Costello's medley "Ship of Fools/It Must Have Been the Roses" leads into a stark version of "Black Peter" recorded by Patti Smith on the day Jerry Garcia died. The only detraction from an otherwise unmuddied album is the inclusion of Bob Dylan's bootleg quality recording of "Friend of the Devil," during which the audience is almost more prevalent than the singer. All in all, a well-received (if a little eclectic) addition to the Dead's expansive catalog.
AllMusic Review by Zac Johnson