Bill Graham, in collaboration with the Hog Farm, presented this memorable concert at French's Camp, a beautiful outdoor location situated on the Eel River, well known for its annual reggae festival. This recording captures the debut performance of Garcia's acoustic band (which would go on to play a very successful extended run on Broadway later in the year). Few Jerry Garcia Band recordings from this era circulate from soundboard direct sources and even fewer still were recorded with such clarity and balance between the instruments.
Garcia's first set of the day began with the debut public performance of the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band, featuring John Kahn and David Kemper from his regular band as the rhythm section, in addition to New Riders Of The Purple Sage guitarist David Nelson and Sandy Rothman on mandolin and dobro. Nelson and Rothman were cohorts of Garcia's early-1960s pre-Grateful Dead days with the Black Mountain Boys.
Although it was the first public performance by this group, they deliver a tight set of material, including both Grateful Dead rarities and a wealth of traditional Americana and bluegrass. This performance reveals many of Garcia's early influences and his playing is particularly upbeat and focused. These musicians had a lot of history and were obviously enjoying performing together.
This first acoustic set includes rarely played gems like "Deep Elum Blues," "I've Been All Around This World," "Little Sadie" and "Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie;" songs that the Grateful Dead had toyed with during their acoustic sets in 1970 and 1980.
Fine bluesy takes of "Trouble In Mind" and Mississippi John Hurt's "Spike Driver Blues" are featured in live performance for the first time. This set also includes the only known performance by this group of the Grateful Dead classic, "Friend Of The Devil." "Ripple" ends the set on a deliciously sweet note and features lovely guitar and mandolin accompaniment by Nelson and Rothman.