It’s a sure sign you’re getting old when when a band that was a touchstone of your youth celebrates its 40th Anniversary.
Old & In The Way formed in 1973, with Jerry Garcia on banjo, David Grisman on mandolin, Vassar Clements on fiddle, Peter Rowan on guitar and vocals, and John Kahn on bass. None had achieved the legendary status to which they would ascend over the next 20 years, though all were well-known artists, Clements and Garcia most particularly.
Two years before their debut album rocked the music world in 1975, a pair of shows they played at The Boarding House in San Francisco were recorded in October of 1973. That second show, on October 8, provided the tracks for their eponymous LP, which has been one of the best selling bluegrass records of all time.
Now, Grisman’s Acoustic Oasis label has released all of the music from those two shows in one package, 55 tracks in all, with 14 cuts not previously released. They are available as HD audio downloads from the Acoustic Oasis web site as Old & in the Way – The Complete Boarding House Tapes.
Looking back from today’s perspective, Grisman recalls those sessions 40 years ago…
“Although we didn’t realize what an impact this music would have at the time, we had a lot of fun playing the bluegrass music we loved and these tapes reveal that in a big way.”
Both shows were recorded live to 2 track by Owsley Stanley III, and mastered for HD audio by Grisman.
A complete track listing follows:
October 1, 1973 (*previously unreleased)
October 8, 1973 (*previously unreleased)
As an aside, it may serve as an interesting side note that 1975 was the year of another album that set the bluegrass world on its ear, the self-titled record from J.D. Crowe & the New South, more commonly known these days by its catalog number, Rounder 0044. Both it and Old & In The Way were jeered by a good many bluegrass purists for deviating from the straight and narrow, though both have had a lasting impact on the direction the music has taken since. You might even say that they were each launching pads for divergent streams within the genre.
The players change, the argument stays the same.