Five On Friday - New Riders Of The Purple Sage

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Friday, July 08, 2011

Check out the other participants by clicking on the link to the left...and join in!

You can register for free at and type in a band name and BAM the song will be there to assist in building your playlist.

Travis lays out some guidelines for this meme and they go like this:

1. Grab the banner, make your post title Five on Friday, and be sure to link back here.

2. Go to to make your play list of five songs. Choose a particular theme to share with us. You can simply post the play list, or you can add a little summary about what you are sharing.

3. I don't know how to make a specific linky, so be sure to leave me a comment to let me know that you participated.

4. No tags, but feel free to invite your friends to play along if they need a post topic on a Friday.

Continuing with our look at different bands...oh, you didn't know I was doing that? Well, actually neither did I until I realized I sorta was!

New Riders Of the Purple Sage...The roots of the New Riders can be traced back to the early 1960s folk/bohemian/beatnik scene in San Francisco, where future Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, often played gigs with like-minded guitarist David Nelson. The young John Dawson, also known as "Marmaduke", from a well-to-do family centered in Millbrook, New York, also played some concerts with Garcia, Nelson, and their compatriots while visiting relatives on summer vacation.

In addition to Nelson, Dawson (on acoustic guitar), and Garcia (continuing to play pedal steel), the original line-up of the band that came to be known as the New Riders of the Purple Sage (a nod to the Zane Grey classic and an obscure western swing combo from the 1940s) consisted of Robert Hunter on electric bass and Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart. Hunter was soon replaced by Bob Matthews, before Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead was named bassist.

After a few warmup gigs throughout the Bay Area in 1969, the New Riders (for all intents and purposes Dawson and Nelson) began to tour in May 1970 as opening act with the Grateful Dead. This relationship continued on a regular basis until December 1971. Throughout much of 1970, the Dead would open with an acoustic set that often included Dawson and Nelson before segueing into the New Riders and then the electric Dead.

By the time the New Riders recorded their first album in late 1970, change was in the air. Dave Torbert then replaced Lesh. After Hart went on sabbatical from music in early 1971, Spencer Dryden (from Jefferson Airplane) began a ten-year relationship with the group as their drummer, and eventually manager. The first album, eponymously titled, was released on Columbia Records in late 1971 and was a moderate success. Featuring all Dawson songs, the record was driven by Garcia's pedal-steel playing.

There is a great bio on the band's website.

These are some of my favorites from the earlier days of the band...



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7 Of Your Sparks

  1. There was a point in my childhood when I was reading everything written by Zane Grey. When this group came along it was instant love for the name and then the music for that stage in my San Francisco existence. Thanks for the memories.

  2. Another group I thought I had never heard of until I clicked play and then was like "Oh yeah! I know them!"

    I'm terrible with band and song names.

  3. Unknown Says:
  4. Not that I don't like Henry, but it was a pleasant surprise to hear I Don't Know You, the first song on their first album.

    Garcia on pedal steel rules!

  5. Mike Golch Says:
  6. I have not heard Panama Red in a long time,thanks for sharing it.

  7. JAIME: You are welcome...glad you enjoyed

    IWS: Jayman...See, I teach, you learn

    PHFRANKIE: Garcia was incredible on the pedal doubt

    MIKE: Welcome!

  8. Don't laugh, but I'd never heard New Riders of the Purple Sage before. And that's one of my favorite things about 5 on Friday - new discoveries. On My Way Back Home is my favorite from your set this week.

  9. Travis Cody Says:
  10. It's interesting to hear The Dead flavoring in each of these tunes. These from New Riders have more of a country twang to them, but the influence is there that bridges to The Dead.


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