This isn’t great, but solid fun, and gets better as it goes along (they credit New Lost City Ramblers for inspirational template, and the folk NLCR deftly lifted it from as well)(spoken stuff is is speedy, brief, and all at the beginning of this live-in-the-Stanford-radio-station set—the album’s title is the same as the show’s—no interviews, station IDs etc). From my Nashville Scene ballot comments:
Hart Valley Drifters—Folk Time: not trying to sound strictly mountain-y—maybe a little too relaxed at times–but the picking is sharp and vivid, also without trying too hard, as Garcia trades off guitar and banjo with Ken Frankel; David Nelson‘s rhythm guitar and Robert Hunter‘s bass keep chugging along, and things get more engaging when Frankel plays fiddle for just about all of the second half (not much dobro that I’ve noticed, but Norm Van Maastricht gets bonus points for his name). Bluesier on “Sugar Baby” and then, right at the end, Mississippi Sheiks‘ “Sitting On Top Of The World”, cool and bouncing us to another, contiguous world, just down the mountain aways— far past Cream‘s arena-slog version—where Garcia has no prob suggesting Mississippi John Hurt sitting in with the Sheiks. I’d certainly put this track in a Garcia acoustic comp (he’s already the star here, but never ever hogging the spotlight, not that there is one).