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Praise for All the Years Combine

“Robertson — writing at full, heart-exploding tilt — charts the course of the greatest American band (yes, I said it), from their humble start to their humbling end through capsule reviews of 50 shows. This is a glorious book, full of setlists and anecdotes and clear-eyed love.”
—Robert Wiersema, The Toronto Star 

“Ray Robertson delves into a staggering fifty Grateful Dead shows in his new collection, All the Years Combine: The Grateful Dead in Fifty Shows . . .  With these full shows available via elaborate box sets or as time-warped YouTube uploads, fans can now embark on a wild trip with Robertson and follow the trajectory of one of live music’s most groundbreaking acts.”

–Bad Feeling Magazine

“All the Years Combine is a fast, enlightening read but it is also something to savor, like one of the Dead’s notorious hour-long jams.”

Kevin Wierzbicki, Anti

All the Years Combine: The Grateful Dead in Fifty Showis delightfully genre-fluid – part critique, part review, part biography, part journalism.”

Palo Alto Weekly

“Fascinating and provocative” 

David Gans, Tales from the Golden Road (The Grateful Dead Channel)

“A fascinating chronicle of the band’s history”

Ottawa Citizen

“For all the talk about The Grateful Dead being primarily a band you need to hear live . . . the fact that there has not been a truly great book chronicling the band’s live shows is surprising. That is until now . . . Ray Robertson’s All the Years Combine tells the story of 50 of some of the best Grateful Dead concerts, chronicled in order from 1966 to 1995. But Robertson’s book is really more than just that . . .  That narrative, one that’s been told in numerous tales and tomes already, is presented here in utterly unique and spellbinding fashion. . . . All the Years Combine is engaging and enjoyable front to back. And for the Grateful Dead live neophyte (and with so many concerts available on any of numerous platforms who among us isn’t?), the book provides a roadmap, a guide, a place to start and finish and explore the music while you read. And for these reasons, All the Years Combine, much like the music it heralds, transcends.”

-Under the Radar

“If life were a Grateful Dead concert, Chatham author Ray Robertson would be its philosopher archivist.”

519 Magazine

“The great thing about this book is that if you know the Grateful Dead’s music, it’s a hum-along, sing-along tome . . . His summaries of Dead concerts often display elements of verve, invention and colour in the telling . . .Robertson’s other object is corrective — to change the focus of the Grateful Dead’s legacy in our culture.  And in this, he succeeds admirably.”

Winnipeg Free Press

“Let’s clear this up right now: you need not be a Dead Head to enjoy this book.  Even if you haven’t read any of the author’s fourteen previous works, even if you’re not a Dead Head, chances are you’re going to love All the Years Combine: The Grateful Dead in Fifty Shows anyway.  Why?  Because whether you come from the Boomer, Millennial or Generation X, Y, or Z, there’s something for everyone who loves music and loves to laugh.”

Windsor Life

“One of Canada’s most prolific writers . . . one thing that’s always made Ray’s work stand out is how he seamlessly blends his favourite music into his prose, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction.”

Roots Music Canada

“Ray Robertson has written a rather wonderful book . . . There is a huge amount of useful information collected in this book. And it was written as serious criticism with love and affection and a large portion of honesty and humor thrown in for good measure.”

Rogue Literary Society

“You do not need to drop acid, get high, or be a Deadhead to enjoy Robertson’s long strange trip… Through the author’s research, knowledge, passion and critical analysis you will gain new insights about this unique group.”

Toronto Star

Robertson has written an ideal companion for the devoted Deadhead while charting intimidating territory for the curious . . . The music never stops, and books like this one help enshrine it with the reverence it deserves.”

Literary Review of Canada


“Robertson displays deep knowledge of the band’s personnel, songs, albums, mechanics, and milieu, and many of the vivid entries concisely capture the mysterious alchemy of what made the group a sui generis American rock band . . .A must for devoted Deadheads.” 

 —Kirkus Review

“This collection celebrating fifty concerts by the Grateful Dead shows them to be tougher and more complex than you might think…meticulous readings of the band’s concerts (alongside track listings) are impressively extensive but crucially they also build a surprising picture too.”

Louder Than War

All the Years Combine is a superb book.” 

–The Miramichi Reader

“Impressively insightfully informative, exceptionally well organized and thoroughly ‘reader friendly’ in presentation, All the Years Combine: The Grateful Dead in Fifty Shows is a ‘must read’ history for the legions of Grateful Dead fans.”

Midwest Book Review