First Listen: Two Tracks From Jerry Garcia _Before The Dead_

March 29, 2018

Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter

Last year we first reported on Before the Dead, the forthcoming 5 LP/4 CD box set that collects Jerry Garcia’s early explorations of traditional folk, bluegrass and old-time music. 

As co-producer Brian Miksis told us at the time, “While some of this music has been available to a few collectors, there are two big distinctions. One of them is you’ve never heard them in this quality because I did the work of finding a lot of the master tapes, which nobody else had bothered to do. But beyond that, when I first was getting these tapes as really crappy cassettes, nobody knew what this material was. Nobody knew its function in the larger mind of Garcia—how it played its role and helped form what we would later be listening to. The most important thing about this box is that it gives context to all this material. Even Deadheads, who only tangentially might be into bluegrass and folk music, might have a strong interest in a little bit more of the psyche of Garcia in those early formative years”

Today we premiere two of the tracks on Before The Dead, which is now available for pre-order: The Black Mountain Boys’ “Who Will Sing For Me” and the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers’ “Man Of Constant Sorrow.”

The Black Mountain Boys version of “Who Will Sing For Me,” recorded in the Fall 1963 at Top of the Tangent in Palo Alto, CA features Garcia on banjo, guitar and vocals alongside Robert Hunter (bass, vocals), David Nelson (mandolin, vocals) and Eric Thompson (guitar, vocals).

The Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers interpretation of “Man Of Constant Sorrow,” from June 11, 1962 at the Boar’s Head Coffeehouse at the  Peninsula Jewish Community Center in San Carlos, CA finds Garcia again on banjo, guitar, vocals alongside Dick Arnold (fiddle, vocals) and Marshall Leicester (banjo, guitar, vocals).