This is the first set we played on Saturday March 6, 1982 at the Electric Grinch in Schenectady. Tom was back on banjo, and as much as we enjoyed having Chris play with us, there was just a more confident feeling when Tom was there. After all, we’d been together for nearly five years at that point.
The first two songs we did were originals. My “Gonna Give Up” and Tom’s instrumental “Lil Josh”, named after our friend Bobs son Josh. A couple things I noticed right off the bat listening to the recordings of this night were there were a lot of references to drinking and partying and the Grinch was pretty empty for the first part of the night.
Next up was the Hot Rize song “High on a Mountain Top” written by Ollabelle Reed. Tom ran his banjo through a phase shifter for this one and we liked it because of it’s old timey flavor. “Friend of the Devil came next. Listen for some really great backup licks from Tom on this.
“Showboat Gambler” was next on the list. Walt was not very heat tolerant (50° was what Walt deemed a comfortable temperature) and you can hear him ask to have the heat turned down at the start of the song. Our friend John Hull was in the audience that night also. He liked our “riverboat songs”, so we dedicated this one to him.
Always looking to add new songs, I came up with the idea of doing Neil Young’s “Losing End”. Walt added a great harmony part to it, and listening now I think we probably could have shortened it a bit. “Dixieland” followed, and once again Tom provided some stellar banjo work.
“Hamilton County Breakdown”, one with Tom and Joe trading licks was closely followed by “Me and my Uncle”. At that point we needed to slow things things down so we did the Gram Parsons song “Hickory Wind”. We really had the voices blending on this one.
We did Hot Rizes “This Here Bottle” and Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” and then we needed to take a break and did two more. First was “Daniel Prayed”. I think I may have been a little “amped up” here. The intro’s a little over the top, and I started the song way too fast. As a result I totally screwed up the first verse. We ended the set with the bluegrass standard “Rocky Top”.
And that’s the end of set 1. There’s still 3 more to come so keep checking back.