Earliest Studio Recordings Of Jerry Garcia To Be Released For The First Time


On November 11 Round Records/ATO Records will issue The Hart Valley DriftersFolk Time, which contains the earliest known studio recording by Jerry Garcia. The Hart Valley Drifters features a 20-year-old Jerry Garcia on lead vocals, banjo and guitar joined by Robert Hunter on bass, David Nelson on guitar, Ken Frankel on banjo, fiddle and guitar and Norm Van Maastricht on dobro.

The material on Folk Time was recorded during a 1962 studio session at Stanford University’s KZSU studio in Palo Alto, California three years before Garcia went on to form the Grateful Dead. Hunter would go on to be his songwriting partner, while Nelson would co-found the New Riders Of The Purple Sage. In 2008 the reels featuring the session were found in a closet by former Stanford student Ted Claire, who produced and recorded the original session.

The Hart Valley Drifters mostly focused on spirited renditions of traditional songs such as, “Roving Gambler,” “Standing In The Need of Prayer,” “Cripple Creek” as well as the Ralph Stanley composition “Clinch Mountain Backstep” and Earl Scruggs’ “Ground Speed” and “Flint Hill Special.” The session ends with a take on the Walter Jacobs Vinson/Lonnie Carter classic “Sitting On Top Of The World,”, which Garcia brought to the Grateful Dead in time for inclusion on the band’s first studio album.

Listen to “Roving Gambler” from the release which premiered via Relix:

Head to JerryGarcia.com to pre-order Folk Time.

Folk Time Tracklist

  • 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)