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New Riders of the Purple Sage - The Best of New Riders of the Purple Sage

  by Carl Bookstein

published: 17 / 7 / 2018

New Riders of the Purple Sage - The Best of New Riders of the Purple Sage
Label: Floating World
Format: CD


Early 1970's cosmic California country rock is captured on reissued release of 'The Best of New Riders of the Purple Sage

The emergence of country rock in the late 1960s and early 1970s, aided by Dylan and advanced by Gram Parsons, had cosmic California compatriots in the New Riders of the Purple Sage. The history of the New Riders of the Purple Sage is closely aligned with that of the Grateful Dead. New Riders guitarist/vocalists David Nelson and John “Marmaduke” Dawson even played alongside Jerry Garcia back in the pre Haight-Ashbury early days in Menlo Park, California by Stanford University. The New Riders recorded their self-titled debut album in late 1970 and it was released the following year. Their greatest hits, 'The Best of New Riders of the Purple Sage', is solid country rock, perhaps a bit psychedelia tinged, but really just with a subtle touch. The opener 'I Don’t Know You' is culled from the band’s self-titled debut. “I don’t know you/You’ve been lately on my mind” is the lyric. The number starts as a rigorous bluegrass workout. “Come sit beside me/I’m not sure if you’re still there.” There are fine country rock vocals by Dawson and Nelson. Jerry Garcia lends a hand on the track with some stellar pedal steel and banjo work. It is a fine number. A train robbery saga ditty, 'Glendale Train'. features great guitars, plus shimmering mandolin by David Nelson. “Somebody robbed the Glendale train this morning at half past nine,” is the lyric, “and they made off with the gold.” Also taken from the New Riders self titled first album is 'Louisiana Lady', a soothing comforting country rock vocal. We hear rich tandem vocals by Dawson and Nelson: “My Louisiana lady’s going to sleep with me tonight and hold me tight.” Rich and resonant, 'Panama Red' is also rollicking and fun. “Nobody feels like working/Panama Red’s back in town.” The song includes more great pedal steel, this time by Buddy Cage, and a rhythmic drum beat by Spencer Dryden of Jefferson Airplane. It is an all star cast. The Bob Dylan classic from 'Planet Waves', 'You Angel You' is included here, with a fine New Riders countrified rendition. “The way you walk and the way you talk is the way it ought to be.” A solid rocking version of 'I Don’t Need No Doctor' features a fine piano line by the great Nicky Hopkins, accompanied by layers of charging guitars- “Won’t you come on home?” is the lyric. A live bonus track here is 'Sunday Susie', a solid country rocker with taste and twang. “From nine to five, I stay alive… Come and see me Sunday Susie.” It is a good one. 'The Best of New Riders of the Purple Sage' is a window into the birth of the early 1970's country rock boom. It is solid material. Down to earth and true.

Track Listing:-
1 I Don't Know You
2 Glendale Train
3 Hello Mary Lou (Goodbye Heart)
4 Louisiana Lady
5 Kick in the Head
6 Panama Red
7 Last Lonely Eagle
8 You Angel You
9 I Don't Need No Doctor
10 Henry
11 Linda
12 Farewell Angelina
13 She's No Angel
14 Sunday Susie
15 Groupie

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