Gentleman Jim Reeves was perhaps the biggest male star to emerge from the Nashville sound. His mellow baritone voice and muted velvet orchestration combined to create a sound that echoed around his world and has lasted to this day. Detractors will call the sound country-pop (or plain pop), but none can argue against the large audience that loves this music. Reeves was capable of singing hard country ("Mexican Joe" went to number one in 1953), but he made his greatest impact as a country-pop crooner. From 1955 through 1969, Reeves was consistently in the country and pop charts – an amazing fact in light of his untimely death in an airplane accident in 1964. Not only was he a presence in the American charts, but he became country music's foremost international ambassador and, if anything, was even more popular in Europe and Britain than in his native America.
Over the years a number of studio rarities have been appended to the deluxe or expanded versions of The Grateful Dead’s studio albums. In addition, two critically acclaimed career-retrospective box sets—2001’s The Golden Road and 2004’s Beyond Description—further increased the number of “alternate” studio recordings available in their best fidelity. This collection (like its companion Complete Live Rarities Collection) mops up the loose ends in one spellbinding place. These tracks are best understood in context with the new digital book The Golden Road and Beyond: A Grateful Dead Primer, which has two essays written for those aforementioned box sets by the band’s longtime publicist Dennis McNally. However, you only need ears to enjoy the Scorpio Sessions versions of “Don’t Ease Me In” and “I Know You Rider,” the under-three-minute take of “Dark Star,” and the studio outtakes of “Catfish John,” “Jack-a-Roe,” and “Peggy-O.” The b-side “My Brother Esau” is a great find, while the studio rehearsal of “Touch of Grey” should interest anyone who fell under the spell of the band’s biggest hit single.
This chronological, decades-spanning collection offers revelatory peeks at little-heard tunes as well as thrilling takes on beloved setlist staples. Reaching back to 1966, we get rare outings of folk/blues covers like "He Was a Friend of Mine" and Lead Belly's "In the Pines," while a 1978 recording from the legendary Egyptian performances at the foot of the pyramids produces a collaboration with oud master Hamza El Din on his own "Ollin Arageed."