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Pistol Packin' Mama

The Good Old Boys

Initial release : March 1976

Round RX-109 / RX-LA597-G

The only Round Records release that does not include a major playing contribution from a member of the Grateful Dead. This bluegrass album was produced by Garcia. Garcia has stated in an interview that he sings harmony on Leave Well Enough Alone.


  • Ashes of Love (Anglin / Anglin / Wright)
  • I'm Here to Get My Baby Out Of Jail (Traditional arr Wakefield)
  • Long Gone (Public Domain / Reno)
  • Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (Fidler/ Maphis / Maphis)
  • Deep Elem Blues (Traditional arr Wakefield)
  • Pistol Packin' Mama (Dexter)
  • Banjo Signal (Reno / Smiley)
  • Toy Heart (Monroe)
  • Leave Well Enough Alone (Traditional arr Wakefield)
  • Too Wise Special (Wise)
  • On Top of Old Smokey (Traditional arr Wakefield)
  • Barefoot Nelly (Reno / Davis)
  • Don't You Hear Jerusalem Moan (Reno)
  • Glendale Train (Dawson)

  • David Nelson - guitar, vocals
  • Frank Wakefield - mandolin, vocals
  • Don Reno - banjo, vocals
  • Chubby Wise - fiddle
  • Pat Campbell - bass
  • Jerry Garcia - harmony vocals (on Leave Well Enough Alone)

  • Producer - Jerry Garcia
  • Engineer - Dan Healy
  • Mixing - Jerry Garcia, Dan Healy
  • Production assistants - Kidd, Steve Brown
  • Art direction - Ria Lewerke
  • Album design - Leonard Spencer
  • Photography - Ron Rakow, John Allen
  • Recorded at Rolling Thunder on January 27-29 1975
  • Mixed at Ace's

David Nelson wrote a piece about this release for the Round Records newsletter of Winter 1976.

When Anton Round asked me to write a few words about the "Pistol Packin' Mama" album, I tried to think of what to say and couldn't even come close to what a fantastic trip it was, doing that session. In two days we had 25 songs down on tape, and upon listening back, some of the tastiest, most fun, and liveliest bluegrass ever recorded! I felt like a kid with dreams of the big leagues who was approached by Mantle, DiMaggio, and Ruth and told "well sure we'll play with you, and all your friends too!"

These three guys wrote the book on banjo, mandolin and fiddle. Chubby Wise is the dearly loved daddy of the country fiddle. He played on the sessions which are today regarded as the definitive bluegrass music. Don Reno is a phenomenal all round musician as well as one singer, guitar picker, and innovator in the highest degree.

What can I say about Frank Wakefield? He's Brer Rabbit jumping through the briar patch, in the flesh. I'd have to quote Oxford's Dictionary and say, "luxuriously prolific, virtuosity abounding, technical ability overflowing with spirit."

All I can say is that it was so much fun doing this album. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.

Jerry Garcia stated that he contributes harmony vocals on Leave Well Enough Alone in an interview published in the British magazine Swing 51 (no. 7, 1983).

Frank Wakefield has also stated in an interview that Garcia sang on Leave Well Enough Alone;

We were in the studio a total of 12 hours, two days, 6 hours each day. We recorded about 28 songs in those 12 hours. We did "Leave Well Enough Alone" twice. That was a song I had wrote and forgot. Garcia suggested we do it. Jerry had to tell me the words. Don was suppose to sing baritone on it, but he had never heard it before. Don couldn't remember the words so Garcia came out from the control room and did the baritone with us on it.
Related releases

Glendale Train was included on;

  • For Dead Heads, Various Artists, 1976, Round Records / United Artists, FREE 2 (UK produced sampler LP)
The Good Old Boys released another LP two years later with no Garcia input;
  • Bluegrass, Good Old Boys, 1978, Flying Fish 049
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