Jerry Garcia, David Grisman,
and Tony Rice
The Pizza Tapes
By Steven Stone
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CD Stock Number: Acoustic Disc ACD-41
This disc's material was originally available only as a bootleg through the
Grateful Dead underground tape trader's network. Its title came from the fact
that the "master" cassette was allegedly stolen from Jerry Garcia's kitchen table by a pizza delivery guy. The music came out of some studio sessions at
David Grisman's Dawg studios with Jerry Garcia, Tony Rice, and David Grisman.
They got together on two successive evenings, Feb 4th and 5th in 1993. This was during the first Tone Poems sessions which, of course, you already own.
If not, you're way behind the curve, and missing out on a great CD of David and Tony playing a whole mess of vintage instruments.
In the liner notes David Grisman writes "After several years of being pissed
off (about their illegal release), I decided to bury the hatchet with the pizza boy and make these tapes available in an "official" version". I, for
one, am mighty glad he did. I've never heard Jerry Garcia's voice sound better. The material is primarily old traditional songs like "Shady Grove",
"Man of Constant Sorrow", "Little Sadie", "Louis Collins", and "Rosalee
McFall", mixed with a couple of country standards "Always Late" and "Long
Black Veil". Just for variety Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and a pair
of gospel numbers "Drifting too Far from the Shore" and "Amazing Grace" are thrown in with a couple of loose jams and some between song banter.
The sound is wonderful. It's warm and intimate like a late night around a crackling fire. It closely matches the exquisite sonics of first Tone Poems
album. On a good system it’s almost like having everyone in the room with you. Jerry Garcia plays through your left channel, Tony Rice in your right
channel and David Grisman and Jerry's voice are in the center. Even without the excellent channel separation it's pretty easy to tell Garcia and Rice's
guitar playing apart, but this way if you want to play along with one of 'em,
just turn down one channel and you've got "music minus one".
Perhaps you aren’t a huge "Dead" fan (I'm not), still if you enjoy traditional acoustic music you owe it to yourself to give
The Pizza Tapes a listen. It is mighty tasty.