The Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band only covered the holiday classic “Christmas Time’s A-Comin’” once, but thanks to the band’s mandolin/dobro/banjo/vocalist Sandy Rothman, that take is now available as a free download on Garcia’s official homepage.
“Christmas Time’s A-Comin’” was written by Tex Logan and originally recorded by Bill Monroe in 1951. It entered the JGAB’s catalog at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre on December 6, 1987, shortly after the ensemble’s famed Broadway run.
“I think we talked about it when we were in New York because we knew December shows were coming up,” Rothman told Relix.com last year. “I remember asking Kenny Kosek, the fiddler player, whether he knew that and he said, ‘Oh, yeah.’ He followed the career of the writer of that song. It’s a Bill Monroe song but written by Tex Logan who was a fiddler who lived lived in Boston and New Jersey and worked for Bell Labs. An interesting guy, a fiddle player but he’s also an electrical engineer; an educated guy, a fascinating guy.”
In his 2016 Relix interview, which is now available on Relix.com Rothman also touches on the song’s origin, his time with Garcia in Black Mountain Boys and the guitarist’s own love of Christmas.
“Jerry was just wide open for it,” he says. “He dug it. He loved it. I remember the Grateful Dead Ticket Office used to have a Christmas party every year and I remember everybody sitting around saying, ‘When’s Jerry coming? When’s Santa coming?’ He would show up at some point—he probably was coming from someplace else related to Christmas—and would hang out for awhile. He wasn’t wearing a Santa outfit but he may as well have been.”
Click here for the full interview.