Grateful Dead

Grateful Dead Hour no. 149

By David Gans

Week of July 29, 1991

"Tradition always starts as heresy." - David Grisman

This program began as the January 1991 installment of Rex Radio(later Eyes of Chaos, Veil of Order), a monthly music program hosted by Phil Lesh and Gary Lambert on KPFA in Berkeley. The occasion was the Rex Foundation's grant of the 1990 Ralph J. Gleason Award to mandolinist and "Dawg Music" creator David Grisman.

There is a complete transcript of the original Rex Radio broadcast on the Rex Foundation's web site.

Phil Lesh explains the origin and purpose of the Ralph J. Gleason Gleason Award in the program:

The Gleason Award was instituted by the Rex Foundation about three years ago to reward outstanding effort in the less well-travelled areas of music. It's named for Ralph Gleason because in Ralph's career as a journalist in San Francisco, and with Downbeat and various national magazines, he was one of the foremost proponents of the more unusual and less travelled byways of music. He was a man with open ears and an open mind who could generally hear the best in any kind of music. An so in that spirit, we have in the past awarded the prize to Alan Lomax for his work in rescuing folk music from an early grave, and to Peter Apfelbaum of the Hieroglyphics Ensemble for creative work in melding what you might call a new kind of world music, with elements of jazz and popular music and various rhythmic structures of music worldwide - more ethnic music. And so in that same spirit, we're honoring this year David Grisman for his contributions to making a new language out of widely separated original elements.

Hosts Lesh and Lambert interview Grisman, and when Jerry Garcia falls by a little later the two old friends share some warm recollections. Garcia and Grisman met in 1964 at Sunset Park in West Grove, Pennsylvania. "They didn't have festivals then," Grisman recalls. "They just had these parks, where every Sunday they'd have a couple of bluegrass bands playing."

"I remember it well," Garcia said. "That was me and Sandy Rothman's big bluegrass summer adventure."

"That's the primary place where the Grateful Dead taper deal kinda comes from," Garcia added. "They used to provide rows of outlets at the front of the stage, and you could bring your Wollensak (open-reel tape recorder)..."

Grisman gave the incipient Grateful Dead their first bit of national press: a short item in Sing Out! Magazine mentioning that Garcia had started an electric band (then known as the Warlocks).

Also covered: the founding of Old and in the Way - "The Stinson Beach Bluegrass Irregulars." The Old and in the Way page on the GD Family Discography quotes Garcia in a 1973 interview: ....It's been eight years since I've played banjo. We all used to be heavily into bluegrass, so we got together a little over a month ago, started playing and then decided, 'Shit, why don't we play a few bars and see what happens.'

The music:
Muleskinner, A Potpourri of Bluegrass Jam

Grateful Dead 9/20/70 Fillmore East
(Acoustic, w/ David Grisman and David Nelson, mandolin)

Grateful Dead 9/20/70 Fillmore East
(Acoustic, w/ David Grisman, mandolin)

Grateful Dead, American Beauty

Old and In the Way

Jerry Garcia/David Grisman

Old and In the Way

Every Wednesday, we post a program from the Grateful Dead Hour archives for your enjoyment and enlightenment. You can browse or search the playlists at or on the GD Hour Search page, and let me know what program(s) you'd like to hear by emailing me at

Thank you for listening!
- David Gans

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Joined: Oct 5 2007

TK notfadeaway.... thanks David.. its always a treat to hear Jerry rapping in a relaxed atmosphere,, luv Dawgs stories also..I never had the chance to see the original old&in the way..such fine music..the acoustic nuggets from 9/70 are also sweet..that would make for a nice release,,with todays technology could be cleaned up real fine,,,its always great to hear the gdh,,recall taping these shows every week..your the best bro...

Joined: Sep 4 2007
Great program


Why dont you just play # 150 . You really got me going with its preview - the sublime show in Hebron OH in 91

Great acoustic stuff from Sept 1970 this week , and fun & intriguing interview to listen to = )


p.s. Before i forget D , wouldnt it be great to hear GDH #351 ? w material from 5.15.1970 Just looks like incredible stuff . Thank you


pomo1's picture
Joined: Jun 5 2007
Great Stuff

Thanks, DG.
"Let there be songs to fill the air."

NorthwestMichael's picture
Joined: Jun 11 2007

One of my favorite GD Hour Segments! Im so glad you posted this David.


Joined: Oct 26 2007
thanks David

I absolutely love the sound of Grisman and Garcia's interplay on this music.


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