Long before he developed his unique style of "Dawg Music," mandolinist David Grisman was steeped in bluegrass, though he was even stretching its conceived boundaries early in his professional career. This album combines live recordings from 1966 and one track from 1973, with the supporting musicians including Del McCoury (guitar and vocals) and Jerry McCoury (bass), with banjo player Bill Keith and guitarist Artie Rose added on selected tracks. Grisman performs traditional bluegrass favorites, including excellent adaptations of several classic tunes by Bill Monroe (one of the mandolinist's musical heroes), plus a few examples of his early compositions, including the Django Reinhardt-influenced "Opus 57" and the equally intricate "Opus 38," both of which were still part of his active performing repertoire decades later. Frank Wakefield, a great mandolinist who helped Grisman master the instrument, guests on a 1973 performance of "Black Mountain Rag." While this album is a bit brief by CD standards at just over 30 minutes, it is well worth the investment for David Grisman fans.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden