In the 1960s, Jerry Garcia joined up with Sandy Rothman and David Nelson to play bluegrass and old-time music. Twenty- some years later, the trio reunited; along with John Kahn, Kenny Kosek, and David Kemper they formed the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band and played more than two dozen shows in 1987 and 1988.
Long out-of-print and newly remastered, Almost Acoustic’s 14 joyous cuts are from shows at the Wiltern (LA) and the Warfield (San Francisco) Theatres. Tunes include Mississippi John Hurt’s “Spike Driver Blues,” Jimmie Rodgers’ “Blue Yodel #9,” and “Ripple,” written by Garcia and Robert Hunter. Unreleased until now, most of Ragged But Right’s tracks come from the band’s historic “Thirteen Magical Nights” run on Broadway. Soaring harmonies and agile playing highlight Leadbelly’s “Goodnight Irene,” “I Ain’t Never,” by Webb Pierce and Mel Tillis, and more traditional songs like “Deep Elem Blues,” a song that sometimes crept into the Dead’s set lists. Oh, sweet mama, it’s good to hear Jerry like this again.