Long before Jerry Garcia forged the psychedelic sounds that became synonymous with Haight-Ashbury, the 20 year old legend recorded a roots set at Stanford University’s radio station KZSU for the Folk Time program produced and hosted by Ted Claire.
In 2008 the 1962 recordings of Garcia’s band, the Hart Valley Drifters were unearthed in Claire’s closet. On Nov. 11, these earliest known recordings of Garcia will be released on Round Records.
The album, titled Folk Time, exhibits a young Garcia, knowledgeable in American roots music and coming into his own as a multi-instrumentalist. Garcia contributes vocals, banjo and guitar to a set rife with rousing traditionals “Pig in a Pen,” “Nine Pound Hammer” and “Cripple Creek” alongside Earl Scruggs classics “Ground Speed” and “Flint Hill Special.” The set concludes with a cover of the Walter Jacobs Vinson/Lonnie Carter classic “Sitting on Top of the World,” which would be included on the Grateful Dead’s debut album in 1967.
His band mates for this session include future collaborator Robert Hunter on bass, co-founder of New Riders on the Purple Sage, David Nelson on guitar, Ken Frankel on banjo, fiddle and guitar and Norm Van Maastricht on dobro.
This valued piece of music history provides a primary source of a young band in its formative years; paying tribute to those who came before them while still developing the skills they would later exhibit as they became icons.
The album is now available for pre-order through Garcia Family Provisions and is available as a CD or download with several package options to choose from.
Relix premiered “Roving Gambler” Thursday. Listen to the three-part harmonies emerging on this track below.
Hart Valley Drifters – Folk Time
1. Band Introductions
2. “Roving Gambler” (Traditional)
3. “Ground Speed” (Earl Scruggs)
4. “Pig In A Pen” (Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith [traditional] arr. by J. Garcia)
5. “Standing In The Need Of Prayer” (Traditional)
6. “Flint Hill Special” (Earl Scruggs)
7. “Nine Pound Hammer” (Traditional)
8. “Handsome Molly” (G.B. Grayson/Henry Whitter)
9. “Clinch Mountain Backstep” (Ralph Stanley/Ruby Rakes)
10. “Think of What You’ve Done” (Carter Stanley)
11. “Cripple Creek” (Traditional)
12. “All The Good Times Have Past And Gone” (Traditional)
13. “Billy Grimes, The Rover” (Traditional)
14. “Paddy On The Turnpike (Boys, My Money’s All Gone)” (Traditional)
15. “Run Mountain” (J.E. Mainer)
16. “Sugar Baby” (Moran Dock Boggs)
17. “Sitting On Top Of The World” (Walter Jacobs Vinson/Lonnie Carter)