Saturday, July 28, 2012


In the summer of 1969, John Dawson was looking to showcase his songs while Jerry Garcia was looking to practic his brand new pedal steel guitar. The two played in coffeehouses and small clubs initially, and the music they made became the nucleus for a band”the New Riders of the Purple Sage.

That same year, David Nelson, expert in both country and rock guitar, joined the group on electric lead guitar. Filling out the rhythm section in those early days were Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and engineer Bob Matthews on bass, who was later replaced by Phil Lesh. In 1970, Dave Torbert took over on bass and the New Riders played every chance they got. Soon enough, smoky clubs all over the San Francisco bay area were filling up with whooping, foot-stomping crowds as their music got tighter and more dynamic. They began to tour extensively with the Dead, and in December of 1970, Spencer Dryden, who had previously showed his impeccable drumming style with the Jefferson Airplane, had stepped in on drums.

One of the many gigs with the Dead included the Trans-Canadian Festival Express with Janis Joplin, The Band, and other American and Canadian artists like Ian and Sylvia, who had with them a brilliant, innovative pedal steel player named Buddy Cage. When Garcia's busy schedule made it increasingly difficult for him to play with the New Riders, the talented Cage was the perfect choice to fill the pedal steel spot. He moved from Toronto where he had been working in Anne Murray's band, to California in November of 1971 to join the New Riders. With the addition of Cage, the New Riders emerged as a fully independent unit. An excitingly creative band with a special brand of music's sweet country harmonies mixed with pulsing rock rhythms.

New Riders Of The Purple Sage
"Closing Week Concerts"
Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA
July 2, 1971

01. Working Man Blues (3:55)
02. Superman (4:06)
03. I Don't Know You (3:55)
04. Down In The Boondocks (3:54)
05. Dirty Business (9:18)
06. Glendale Train (5:04)
07. Portland woman (5:21)
08. Henry (4:19)
09. Sailin' 4:08)
10. Last Lonely Eagle (6:33)
11. Louisiana Lady (4:13)
12. Honkey Tonk Woman (5:40)
13. The Weight (7:53)


Anonymous said...

Minor correction, Buddy Cage joined in the fall of 1971, not spring. His first show was November 11, 1971. This show in July still has Jerry Garcia playing pedal steel (beautifully, I might add).

This is a great show from the closing of the Fillmore - DO NOT MISS IT.

Bob W.

Anonymous said...

I found this earlier this month. I was on a search to see what all I could find from the Fillmore closing. I didn't have the Tower of Power set. I'll be waiting to see what pops up next so I can fill in the holes.
Thanks much. You've been on a great roll here.

john said...

Thanks for the san francisco sounds. always good for a listen.

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