Grateful Dead – Skeletons From The Closet


  • A KILLER copy with Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound on the first side and solid Double Plus (A++) sound on the second
  • Both of these sides are out of this world — clean, clear and present yet still pretty rich and Tubey Magical with plenty of bottom end weight
  • Exceptionally quiet vinyl throughout — Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
  • “… long-lived as a Grateful Dead primer… [it] remains a good introduction to the band’s early — and arguably best — work… Skeletons — for longtime fans — will always be a great disc for a lazy Sunday afternoon.” – All Music

This vintage Warner Brothers pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What amazing sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1974
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We Listen For on Skeletons From The Closet

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.


Side One

The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)
Sugar Magnolia
St. Stephen
Uncle John’s Band

Side Two

Casey Jones
Mexicali Blues
Turn On Your Love Light
One More Saturday Night
Friend Of The Devil

AMG  Review

Skeletons from the Closet has been long-lived as a Grateful Dead primer… 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”… Skeletons — for longtime fans — will always be a great disc for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

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