Aside from his prolific work as a member of the Grateful Dead, guitarist Jerry Garcia always had a soft spot for acoustic Americana music. From his earliest days as a local banjo legend in San Francisco to a life of music with David Grisman, Peter Rowan and more, there was no denying the folk influence of Jerry Garcia.
Perhaps one of the most beloved recordings from Garcia’s career was The Pizza Tapes. Recorded in 1993, the session was the only collaboration between Garcia and Tony Rice, spanning two days full of unreleased music from February 4th to 5th. Grisman had been working with Tony Rice previously and invited Garcia into the studio to record some folk numbers.
The album gets its name from a pizza delivery boy, who stole Garcia’s copy of the recordings shortly after the session. Once bootlegs started popping up, the band confiscated some of their recordings. Finally, on this day in 2000, The Pizza Tapes were formally released by Grisman, captured in the order of their recording with various false starts and outtakes throughout.
The final product is something raw and pure, with three musicians genuinely enjoying their experience and goofing around on some classic songs. There are covers of famous tunes like “House Of The Rising Sun,” “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” and more, but the overall ethos of the record outweighs any individual contribution.
On the anniversary of this glorious album’s release, be sure to give it a spin below:
Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, Tony Rice – The Pizza Tapes
[Originally published 4/25/16]