Tony Rice – Troy, NY (10/10/98)

Norman Blake & Tony Rice
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
Troy, NY

Download FLAC: Google Drive

Source: DSM6m3 > D100
Transfer: MDAT > Fostex D-15 > Ardour @ 48k
Master: Wavelab 6.10 (tracking; levels; cleanup; 48k > 44.1k via Crystal Resampler) > FLAC

  1. Intro
  2. coming on stage Norman Blake & Tony Rice
  3. Leavin’ Home
  4. Last Train From Poor Valley
  5. Fiddler’s Dram > Whiskey Before Breakfast
  6. Whiskey Deaf and Whiskey Blind
  7. Ginseng Sullivan

Norman Blake solo:

  1. Savannah Rag

Tony Rice solo:

  1. ? (Alton Delmore)
  2. Going Back To The Blue Ridge Mountains
  3. D-18 (Jerry Faires)


  1. Cattle In The Cave

A beautiful recording with none of the boominess that sometimes comes from the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.
This was part of an evening of bluegrass that included “John the Fireman” and Doc Watson playing with Jack Lawrence (immediately following this set). WXLE & Metroland sponsored the concert.

Levels on the master tape were quite low, except during the applause, which was loud, as you’d expect. Ozone 5 was used to maximize the levels without overloading the applause. Still, like many acoustic audience recordings, the crowd is louder than the musicians. Kudos to the taper, who sat silently for the full show, except for one cough, which he held in until the song ended (and which has been removed from the recording)

Track 1 is for historical purposes only. You may want to omit it if making a CD.

Thanks to Tom Reizes for the DAT.


–mhg :: 02/23/2013

Various Artists – Wilkesboro, NC (04/24-26/92)

Merle Watson Memorial Bluegrass Festival
April 24-26, 1992
Wilkes Community College, Wilkesboro NC

Download FLAC: Google Drive

Partial compilation – 2021 transcription from “Pickin’ For Merle”

  • The source was mid-90s cable TV broadcasts of “Pickin’ for Merle” recorded to 5 cassette masters by 3 people – XLII and IIS made on generic consumer decks.
  • One source tape has an additional cassette generation. This material is tracks 52-66 below.
  • Transferred in the early/mid 2010s via Onkyo cassette deck and Audacity, then parked for awhile in hopes the VHS would surface.
  • Mastering and setlist in early 2021 by TRH aka Mr. Completely.

See below for notes and lineup details.


  1. Tony Rice All-Stars – Freeborn Man
  2. Peter Rowan & the Nashville Bluegrass Band w/Jerry Douglas – Midnight Moonlight
  3. various – chit chat 1
  4. Tony Rice Allstars – Nine Pound Hammer
  5. Tony Rice Allstars – Cold on the Shoulder
  6. Tony Rice Allstars – Whitewater
  7. Tony Rice Allstars – Molly and Tenbrooks
  8. Doc Watson & Ricky Skaggs – Foggy Mountain Top
  9. Skaggs & Rice – Where the Soul of Man Never Dies
  10. Skaggs & Rice – More Pretty Girls Than One
  11. Del McCoury Band w/ David Grisman – Fanny Hill
  12. Del McCoury Band w/ David Grisman – Randy Lynn Rag
  13. Del McCoury Band w/ David Grisman – I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue-Eyes
  14. Tony Rice Unit – The Dusty Miller
  15. Tony Rice Unit w/Peter Rowan – White Dove
  16. Tony Rice Unit – Sally Goodin
  17. David Grisman Quintet – Dawg’s Rag
  18. David Grisman Quintet – Assanhado
  19. David Grisman Quintet – Grateful Dawg
  20. David Grisman Quintet – Dawgmatism
  21. David Grisman Quintet – Telluride
  22. Tim & Mollie O’Brien & The O’Boys – Liar
  23. Tim & Mollie O’Brien & The O’Boys – Dream of a Miner’s Child
  24. Tim & Mollie O’Brien & The O’Boys – Oh Darling
  25. Tim & Mollie O’Brien & The O’Boys – Shut the Door
  26. Tim & Mollie O’Brien & THe O’Boys w/Jerry Douglas – Hold to a Dream
  27. Doc Watson & Ricky Skaggs – What is a Home Without Love?
  28. Doc Watson & Ricky Skaggs – Nine Pound Hammer
  29. various – Chit chat 2
  30. Del McCoury Band w/David Grisman – Home is Where the Heart Is
  31. Del McCoury Band w/David Grisman – Long Journey Home
  32. Del McCoury Band w/David Grisman – Rain & Snow
  33. Del McCoury Band w/David Grisman – Rawhide
  34. Doc Watson & Friends – Blue Ridge Mountain Home
  35. Doc Watson, David Grisman and Alan O’Bryant – What Does the Deep Sea Say?
  36. Doc Watson, David Grisman and Friends – Blue Moon of Kentucky
  37. Roy Bookbinder – Rev. Gary Davis story, Hesitation Blues/Old Time Religion
  38. Peter Rowan – Dust Bowl Children
  39. Peter Rowan w/Jerry Douglas – On the Wings of Horses
  40. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones – Bonnie & Slyde
  41. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones – Celtic Medley
  42. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones – Flight of the Cosmic Hippo
  43. Peter Rowan & the Nashville Bluegrass Band – High Lonesome Sound
  44. Seldom Scene – Pickaway
  45. Seldom Scene – Carolina Star
  46. Seldom Scene – House of the Rising Sun/Walk Don’t Run
  47. Laurie Lewis & Grant Street – Singing Bird
  48. Laurie Lewis & Grant Street – I’m Gonna Be the Wind
  49. Various – Chit chat 4 – about Doc
  50. Doc Watson – Milk Cow Blues
  51. Doc Watson w/Gove Scrivenor – Sugar Babe
  52. Doc Watson – Peach Pickin’ Time in Georgia
  53. Doc Watson – Black Mountain Rag
  54. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – I’ve Been Looking
  55. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Baby’s Got A Hold On Me
  56. Ricky Skaggs Allstars w/Doc Watson – Riding That Midnight Train
  57. Ricky Skaggs Allstars w/Del McCoury – I Feel The Blues Moving In
  58. Roy Bookbinder – Mississippi Blues
  59. Carl Jackson and John Starling w/the Nash Ramblers – New Delhi Freight
  60. Carl Jackson and John Starling w/the Nash Ramblers – Lonesome Dove
  61. Carl Jackson and John Starling w/the Nash Ramblers – Silence Says it All
  62. Carl Jackson and John Starling w/the Nash Ramblers – Hold Your Horses
  63. Carl Jackson and John Starling w/the Nash Ramblers – For Cryin’ Out Loud
  64. Carl Jackson and John Starling w/the Nash Ramblers – I Could Cry
  65. Carl Jackson and John Starling w/the Nash Ramblers – Long Time Gone
  66. Emmylou Harris, Carl Jackson and John Starling w/the Nash Ramblers – Satan’s Jewel Crown
  67. Doc Watson All-Stars – Docabilly Medley
  68. Riders in the Sky – Here Comes the Santa Fe
  69. Maura O’Connell – Trouble in the Fields
  70. Doc Watson All-Stars – Fireball Mail
  71. Sam Bush & the Nash Ramblers – Crossroads > Sailin’ Shoes
  72. Laurie Lewis & Grant Street – Texas Bluebonnets
  73. Tony Rice Unit – Shadows
  74. David Grisman Quintet – Rattlesnake
  75. Emmylou Harris & the Nash Ramblers w/Doc Watson – I’ll Fly Away
  76. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Mr Bojangles (start cut)
  77. Peter Rowan & the Nashville Bluegrass Band – Walls of Time
  78. Doc Watson All-Stars – Shake, Rattle & Roll


  • “Pickin’ For Merle” was a documentary shot at the 1992 Merle Watson Memorial Bluegrass Festival, then informally and now officially known as MerleFest.
  • The documentary aired in (I believe) 8-ish 1-hour segments through the 1990s on PBS stations.
  • VHS tapes of the entire series were offered as donor rewards. A few artists, including Tony Rice, sold their sets separately.
  • Apparently dubs of some of the video episodes have been traded but none have yet surfaced in public digital circulation aside from fragments on YouTube.
  • Several years ago I contacted MerleFest representatives to see about getting the series released again as a fundraiser. They were interested, but there are technical hurdles with the tapes. It’s still possible.
  • This set of audio cassettes represents about half of the material.
  • I don’t know which days most of the sets are from so I didn’t try to guess.
  • You will encounter various hisses, buzzes, brief discontinuities and other assorted analog artifacts. It’s fine though. It could be cleaned up more but hopefully the VHS will surface.
  • I decided not to change the running order to gather out-of-sequence sets since they aren’t complete anyway. This is the order in which they aired within each PFM episode.
  • Across the tapes approximately 15 or so performances were repeated. Obviously, I included the better sounding ones.
  • Raw transfer WAV files available upon request.
  • I was lucky enough to attend this MerleFest and a couple of others around it. A classic scene.
  • There is also a well circulated SBD recording of the Midnight Jam from this year which I highly recommend.
  • Thanks to Mitchell Wittenberg for setlist and lineup help.
  • Yes, that’s a lot of notes, but no one made you read them all.
  • Dedicated to the memories of Doc Watson and Tony Rice.

  • Backing Band/Allstar Group Lineups (in order of first appearance – guests and headliners are noted in the Artist tag and above, with some overlap)
  • Tony Rice Allstars: Tony Rice-guitar, vocals, Bela Fleck-banjo, Jerry Douglas-Dobro, Sam Bush-mandolin, vocals, Stuart Duncan-fiddle, Mark Schatz-bass
  • Nashville Bluegrass Band: Pat Enright-guitar, vocals, Alan O’Bryant-vocals (and ?), Roland White-mandolin, Stuart Duncan-fiddle, Gene Libbea-bass
  • Del McCoury Band: Del McCoury-guitar, vocals, Ronnie McCoury-mandolin, vocals, Rob McCoury-banjo, Jason Carter-fiddle, Mike Bub-bass
  • Tony Rice Unit: Tony Rice-guitar, vocals, Wyatt Rice-guitar, Jimmy Gaudreau-mandolin, vocals, Rickie Simpkins-fiddle, Mark Schatz-bass
  • David Grisman Quintet: David Grisman-mandolin, Enrique Coria-guitar, Joe Craven-percussion, fiddle, mandolin, Matt Eakle-flute, Jim Kerwin-bass
  • Tim & Mollie O’Brien and The O’Boys: Tim O’Brien – mandolin, guitar, vocals, Mollie O’Brien-vocals, Scott Nygaard-guitar, Mark Schatz-bass
  • Doc Watson & Friends: uncertain, the “Friends” may be the Nashville Bluegrass Band (above)
  • Bela Fleck & the Flecktones: Bela Fleck-banjo, Victor Wooten-bass, Future Man-midi controller, Howard Levy-piano, harmonica
  • Seldom Scene: John Duffey-mandolin, vocals, John Starling-guitar, vocals, Ben Eldridge-banjo, vocals, Mike Auldridge-Dobro, vocals, Tom Gray-bass, vocals
  • Laurie Lewis & Grant Street: Laurie Lewis-fiddle, vocals, Tom Rozum-mandolin, fiddle, vocals, Peter McLaughlin-guitar, Craig Smith-banjo, Cary Black-bass
  • Doc Watson: Doc Watson-guitar, harmonica, vocals, Jack Lawrence-guitar, T. Michael Coleman-bass, Bob Hill-piano (on some tracks)
  • Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: uncertain lineup here. Maybe Jeff Hanna-guitar, vocals, Jimmie Fadden-drums, harmonica, vocals, Jimmy Ibbotson-bass, vocals, Bob Carpenter-keyboards, vocals, Josh Leo-guitar
  • Ricky Skaggs Allstars: Ricky Skaggs-mandolin, vocals, Tony Rice-guitar, vocals, Mark O’Connor-fiddle, Jerry Douglas-Dobro, David Grisman-mandolin, Unknown-banjo, Unknown-bass
  • The Nash Ramblers: Sam Bush-mandolin, fiddle, Larry Atamanuik-drums, Jon Randall-guitar, Roy Huskey, Jr. -bass, Al Perkins-Dobro
  • Doc Watson Allstars: Doc Watson-guitar, vocals, Jack Lawrence-guitar, T. Michael Coleman-bass; Jack Williams-piano (t67, t78); Mark O’Connor-fiddle, Jerry Douglas-dobro (t70, t78); Tim O’Brien-mandolin, Roland White-mandolin, Bela Fleck-banjo (t70)
  • Riders in the Sky: Douglas B. Green (“Ranger Doug”)-guitar, vocals, Woody Paul Chrisman (“Woody Paul”)-fiddle, vocals, Fred LaBour (“Too Slim”)-bass, vocals
  • Kathy Mattea – Kathy Mattea-vocals, guitar, unknown band lineup

JD Crowe & The New South – Berryville, VA (06/18/75)

J.D. Crowe & the New South
Berryville Bluegrass Festival
Berryville, VA

Download FLAC: Amazon Drive

I’ll Stay Around -> Flint Hill Special
Sin City
The Leaves That Are Green
Stoney Creek
Devil In Disguise
Beaumont Rag
Born To Be With You
You Can Have Her
Nashville Skyline Rag
Some Old Day
Head Over Heels
Bugle Call Rag
You Don’t Know My Mind
God’s Own Singer
Fireball, I’m Walkin’
Train 45

(Tony Rice, J.D. Crowe, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, Boby Slone)

David Grisman – Unknown Location (xx/xx/75)

Unknown Venue
Circa 1975

Download FLAC: Amazon Drive

David Grisman – Mandolin
Tony Rice – Guitar (D28 Martin)
Darol Anger – Violin, Mandolin
Todd Philips – Mandolin
Joseph Carroll – Bass

  1. Cedar Hill (fade in)
  2. Swing 42
  3. Battle Of New Orleans
  4. O’Banion’s Wake
  5. Red Headed Lad
  6. Dawgology
  7. Minor Swing
  8. Limehouse Blues
  9. Ricochet (3 Mandolins)
  10. Swing 51
    (tape flip)
  11. 16/16 intros
  12. Waiting On Vassar
  13. EMD
  14. Opus 12
  15. Devlin
  16. Pneumonia (3 Mandolins)
  17. Thailand (fade out)

Unknown origin (gift) > Maxell UDXL II 90 minute cassette (with Noise Reduction-most likely Dolby B in 1982) > SONY Stereo Cassette Deck TC-FX170 (Noise Reduction OFF) > PC > Cool Edit Pro 2.0 (Hiss Reduction, Speed Adjustment and minor editing) > CD Wave Editor (Track Splitting) > TLH flac level 8 > TLH (torrent)

This is a December 2020 transfer.
The cassette was given to me as a birthday gift from a friend in 1982 or 83.
The label contains a couple of obvious mistakes and naming errors:
1 – It identifies the group as a Quartet but the band intro lists a Quintet.
2 – The date says “circa 1972” but the David Grisman Quintet doesn’t form until 1975.
The cassette is labelled “YES” for Noise Reduction. I had to make the choice between playing it back with NR on or off. If OFF there was a lot of tape hiss but if ON there seemed to be a slight dropoff in audio quality. So I went with the hiss and spent much time attempting to reduce it. I did as much as I thought was reasonable without overdoing it and am pleased with the sound as-is.
Yes there is some hiss still, especially noticed between some songs. There are so many sound samples to choose from. Included is a sample of the original transfer file played with NO Noise Reduction, before editing.
Some songs were speed adjusted slower because they sounded fast to my ear (Cassete deck? Multi Generations? Who knows?) Others may think the speed of the finished product is off.
If someone sees the need and is motivated to improve these files please have at it. I would even volunteer to send the original raw transfer file privately. Or if someone is SUPER motivated we can discuss snail mailing the original cassette for an additional transfer. Yes this show is THAT good.

Unknown Date and Unknown Venue for this show…but…TONY RICE plays guitar.
Nearly every song is a gem. So sorry it took so long to get this show out there. I’ve enjoyed it since the 80’s.
According to the timeline chart on Wikipedia’s David Grisman Quintet page (see attachment in comments), Bass player Joseph Carroll was the first bass player in the band and only played with them in 1975 and maybe for a very short time in 1976. He is announced for this show.
Grisman intros Red Headed Lad as being on Tony Rice’s new album (on the Rebel label). The album is California Autumn, released in 1975. The song on the album is listed as Red Haired Boy.
Also, Grisman says that Waiting On Vassar is “scheduled for release later this year”. The album is The David Grisman Rounder Album released in 1976. I found one release date of January 1, 1976.
Todd Phillips plays mandolin in this show (2nd to Grisman). He switches to bass sometime in 1977.
These are the clues I have found regarding the potential date of this show. The earliest Grisman shows I found online were in 1976. Again, check the timeline.
Am very surprised this show was not found on any of the torrent sites I looked at. Any info regarding this would be appreciated.

Tony Rice Unit – Etna, OH (07/23/92)

Tony Rice Unit with Jerry Douglas
Frontier Ranch
Etna, Ohio
July 23, 1992

Download FLAC: Google Drive

Source: DSBD from Sean Hawkins
Transfer: Casio DA-7 > Tascam CD-RW 700 (pass through -5) >
M-Audio 24/96 > @ 24 Bit to Wavelab > to 16 bit CD WAVE > FLAC
Transfers and Seeded to by Bill Koucky December 9, 2006

1. The Likes of Me
2. Dusty Miller
3. White Dove
4. Salt Creek
5. Band Intros
6. Summer Wages
7. Cold on the Shoulder
8. Cattle in the Cane
9. Another Lonesome Morning
10. Crazy Creek
11. Shadows
12. Why You Been Gone So Long
13. Sally Goodin
14. Crowd
15. Blue Railroad Train

Tony Rice Guitar
Wyatt Rice Guitar
Ronnie Simpkins Bass
Ricky Simpkins Fiddle
Jimmy Gaudreau Mandolin
Jerry Douglas Dobro

Tony Rice & Alison Krauss – Alexandria, VA (10/07/88)

Tony Rice Unit
The Birchmere
Alexandria, VA
October 7, 1988

Download FLAC: Google Drive

Disc 1 53:18
1st Set:
1. Likes Of Me
2. Little Sadie
3. A Song For Life
4. Band Intros
5. Cold On the Shoulder
6. Blue Railroad Train
7. Nine Pound Hammer
8. Song For A Winters Night
9. Ginseng Sullivan
10. Shadows
11. Why You Been Gone So Long?
12. New Camptown Races
13. Early Morning Rain
14. Goldrush
15. Sixteen Miles

Disc 2 66:53
2nd Set:
1. Age
2. St James Hospital
3. Ten Degrees
4. Fare Thee Well
5. Cry, Cry Darling
6. Cricket
7. Moviní Out
8. ñ Enter Kevin Church –
9. Ainít Nobody Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone
10. Blue Night
11. Wayfaring Stranger
12. John Hardy
13. Bitter Green
14. Me and My Guitar
15. goodnight

Source: Soundboard Master Cassette > DAT from Sean Hawkins
Transfer: Panasonic SV-3700 > M-Audio 24/96 > @ 24 Bit to Wavelab >
to 16 bit CD WAVE > FLAC
Transfers and Seeded to by Bill Koucky December 16, 2006

Tony Rice – Guitar and Vocals
Alison Krauss – Fiddle and Vocals
Jimmy Gaudreau – Mandolin and Vocals
Wyatt Rice – Rhythm and Lead Guitar
Mark Schatz – Bass

Kevin Church ñ Banjo and Vocals

David Grisman & Tony Rice – Tacoma, WA (02/26/05)

David Grissman & Tony Rice
Tacoma, Washington
Pavillion Stage – Midnight Show

Download FLAC: Google Drive

Recorded By Seth & Caitlyn
AKG393(hypers)>UA5(Warm Mod)>JB3

01 intro
02 The Turn of the Century
03 the East Virginia Blues (I don’t want your Mandolins Mister)
04 Sambino
05 Dawg After Dark
06 ??
07 Nine Pound Hammer
08 Swing 51
09 The Watson Blues
10 The Wayfairing Stranger
11 EMD
12 (carter family song titled?)

Tony Rice & Norman Blake – Live Oak, FL (03/25/00)

Tony Rice & Norman Blake
Suwanee Music Festival
Live Oak, FL

Download FLAC: Google Drive

Lay Down My Old Guitar
Shipyard Apprentice
Red Haired Boy
Ginseng Sulliven
Salt Creek
Church St. Blues
Sittin’ on Top of the World
Green Light on the Southern
I’m Coming Back But I Don’t Know When
Mole in the Ground

Tony Rice Unit – Columbus, OH (06/29/91)

Tony Rice Unit
Frontier Ranch
Columbus, OH

Download FLAC: Amazon Drive

Nine Pound Hammer
On A Winters Night
Dusty Miller
I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
Salt Creek
Darcy Farrell
Little Sadie
Blue Railroad Train

– Enter J. D. Crowe –
Blue Ridge Cabin Home
Flint Hill Special
Ain’t Nobody Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone
You Don’t Know My Mind
Footprints In The Snow
Sally Goodin

Your Love Is Like A Flower
Shuckin’ The Corn

Tony Rice – Guitar
Wyatt Rice – Guitar
Jimmy Gaudreau – Mandolin
Ricky Simpkins – Fiddle
Ronny Simpkins – Bass
Jerry Douglas – Dobro
J. D. Crowe – Banjo