Skull and Roses
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Skull and Roses Skull_and_Roses_Grateful_Dead

March and April 1971

Various Venues

 
 
 
 
 
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Skull and Roses - Review

Skull and Roses review

The Grateful Dead’s Skull and Roses CD captures the bands sound as they were transitioning from their early psychedelic/blues sound to a rock/country/folk tone.  While the music was recorded live it features material that had not yet been released with the exception of “The Other One”; it was released in 1971 shortly after the songs were performed.  Because the band wasn’t recording any studio for a period of years at this point, this served as a substitute for a studio album. The biggest surprise on Skull and Roses is that it includes only one song that Pig Pen takes the lead on, Willie Dixon’s “Big Boss Man.” 

Predictably, the performances include both original and cover songs and it is split between short songs and jamming songs.  My favorite part of this CD are the versions “Wharf Rat” and “Not Fade Away” > “Going Down The Road Feeling Bad” > “Not Fade Away,” a staple for the band in 1971. Others may prefer the spacey jamming in, “The Other One.” 

As for the short songs you get a mix of rock, “Bertha” and “Johnny B. Goode,” country, “Mama Tried,” Me and Bobby McGee,” and “Me and My Uncle,” and blues, “Big Boss Man” and “Big Railroad Blues.” 

All in all Skull and Roses is a very good representation of the band during 1971 and a good value as it is packed with music. Much of it was recorded during the same time as their four CD release Ladies and Gentlemen, however, this is a complement not a substitute for that. by Barry Small © 
Original Album - B 
Bonus Material - B
Final Grade -
B  
The remastered version of Skull and Roses is available in the box set The Golden Road. 

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Skull and Roses - track list
Track List

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The Grateful Dead (Skull and Roses)
 1. Bertha (Garcia / Hunter) - 5:43

4/27/71

Fillmore East, NY
 2. Mama Tried (Haggard) - 2:43

4/26/71

Fillmore East, NY
 3. Big Railroad Blues (Lewis) - 3:35

4/5/71

Manhattan Center, NY
 4. Playing in the Band (Hart / Hunter / Weir) - 12:24

4/6/71

Manhattan Center, NY
 5. The Other One (Kreutzmann / Weir) - 18:07

4/28/71

Fillmore East, NY
 6. Me and My Uncle (Phillips) - 3:04

4/29/71

Fillmore East, NY
 7. Big Boss Man (Dixon / Smith) - 5:14

4/26/71

Fillmore East, NY
 8. Me and Bobby McGee (Foster / Kristoferson) - 5:42

4/27/71

Fillmore East, NY
 9. Johnny B. Goode (Berry) - 3:44

3/24/71

Winterland Arena, S.F., CA
10. Wharf Rat (Garcia / Hunter) - 8:32

4/26/71

Fillmore East, NY
 11. Not Fade Away/Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad
       (Hardin / Petty / Traditional) - 9:26

4/5/71

Manhattan Center, NY
 
Bonus Tracks
12. Oh, Boy! (Petty / Tilghman / West) - 2:50

4/6/71

Manhattan Center, NY
13. I'm a Hog for You (Leiber / Stoller) - 5:20

4/6/71

Manhattan Center, NY
 
Hidden Track

 Radio Spot

The songs were performed at the following dates:

March 24, 1971 
Johnny B Goode

April 5, 1971
Big Railroad Blues
Not Fade Away, Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad

April 6, 1971
Oh! Boy, I'm a Hog for You

April 6, 1971
Playing In The Band

April 26, 1971

Mama Tried, Big Boss Man, Wharf Rat

April 27, 1971
Bertha, Me And Bobby McGee

April 28, 1971
The Other One

April 29, 1971
Me And My Uncle 

Skull and Roses - Musicians
Musicians:       

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Jerry Garcia - lead guitar, vocals
Bob Weir - guitar, vocals
Phil Lesh - bass, vocals
Pigpen (Ron McKernan) - keyboard, vocals, harmonica
Bill Kreutzmann - percussion

Skull and Roses - Notes
Notes:

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Released 1971
From sixteen track multi source master tape.
Label - Warner Brothers
This CD was reissued on the box set The Golden Road with bonus tracks.
Article - A great interview with David Lemieux where he discusses The Golden Road

Skull and Roses - Order