- Released: September 16, 2003
- Originally Released: 2003
- Label: Rhino
- 2.Touch Of Grey
- 3.Sugar Magnolia
- 4.Casey Jones
- 5.Uncle John's Band
- 6.Friend Of The Devil
- 7.Franklin's Tower
- 8.Estimated Prophet
- 9.Eyes Of The World
- 10.Box Of Rain
- 11.U.S. Blues
- 12.The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)
- 13.One More Saturday Night
- 14.Fire On The Mountain
- 15.The Music Never Stopped
- 16.Hell In A Bucket
Grateful Dead: Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards, organ, congas, percussion); Jerry Garcia (vocals, guitar, pedal steel, piano); Phil Lesh (vocals, guitar, piano, bass); Bob Weir (vocals, guitar); Brent Mydland (vocals, keyboards); Donna Godchaux (vocals); Tom Constanten (piano, keyboards); Bill Kreutzmann (drums, percussion).
Producers include: Grateful Dead, Dave Hassinger, Bob Matthews, Betty Cantor, Keith Olsen.
Complition producers: James Austin, David Lemieux.
Recorded between 1967 & 1987. Includes liner notes by James Austin.
All tracks have been remastered using HDCD technology.
Personnel: Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh (vocals, guitar, piano); Bob Weir (vocals, guitar); Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, organ, keyboards, congas, percussion); Brent Mydland (vocals, keyboards); Donna Jean Godchaux, English Chorale (vocals); David Nelson (electric guitar); Matthew Kelly (harp); David Grisman (mandolin); Tom Scott (saxophone, lyricon); Steven Schuster (saxophone); Tom Constanten (piano, keyboards); Howard Wales, Merl Saunders (organ); Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann (drums, percussion); Jordan Amarantha (percussion).
Audio Remasterer: Joe Gastwirt.
Liner Note Author: James Austin.
Photographers: Herbert Greene; Fred Ordower.
Even though the two-disc WHAT A LONG STRANGE TRIP IT'S BEEN may have more fully anthologized the Grateful Dead's fruitful Warner years, no previous anthology has ever summarized the band's entire career, on through the slim-pickin's mid-1970s to their celebratory late-'80s comeback. In this respect, THE VERY BEST OF... can be called a nearly definitive collection. Still, this is an entry point for the casual passerby, so the psychedelic largesse of the Dead's late-'60s albums is entirely eschewed in favor of the shorter, more concise songs of their folk-rock period ("Uncle John's Band," "Friend of the Devil," etc.). Consequently, this becomes a tribute not to the improvisational warrior Dead but to the creatively songful Dead, even as we hear them age gracefully into the older, wiser "Touch of Gray," which brought them a whole new generation of admirers.