36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
For years and years, I've enjoyed the self-titled first recording of the New Riders of the Purple Sage.If your a fan of some of the cowboy music ("El Paso". "Me & My Uncle", "Jack Straw") the Grateful Dead played in the early '70s, then you'll love NRPS. John "Marmaduke" Dawson, David Nelson and Dave Torbet join forces with Dead musicians Jerry Garcia & Mickey Hart to create a perfect mixture of cowboy/country rock with a touch of psychedelia thrown in for good measure.In the mix we get a number of light hearted stories of cowboys, dope runners, train robbers, old girlfriends and the ecology of the planet. My personal favorite song of the CD is the fast paced, bouncey smuggler's tale simply entitled "Henry". But really all the tunes are great! The laid back vocals of the band are splendid and Garcia shines with his excellent steel pedal, guitar playing. This is a remastered edition which has been cleaned up and now has a wonderful, crystal clear, sound quality to it. There are three bonus tracks which includes a really laid-back, live cover of The Band's classic, "The Weight". A fun album for all the psychedelic cowboys out there.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
In the wake of such country-rock bands as Poco and the Flying Burrito Brothers, the New Riders of the Purple Sage unleashed their debut album in 1971, adding a touch of psychedelia to the mix courtesy of the band's association with the Grateful Dead. [Jerry Garcia adds pedal steel or banjo on all tracks, Mickey Hart plays drums on tracks 5 and 9, and one of the executive producers was Phil Lesh.]
While NRPS were part of the Grateful Dead family, this was no mere Garcia side-project. The core group consisted of John Dawson (guitar, vocals), David Nelson (lead guitar) and Dave Torbert (bass). In fact, Dawson wrote all ten songs on the original release. The songs kicks off with the jaunty "I Don't Know You." "Henry" is an uptempo song about dope smuggling. The album's first single was the rollicking "Louisiana Lady." And the train-robbing saga of "Glendale Train" is propelled by Garcia's pedal steel and banjo picking. The Dead influence is perhaps most noticeable on the overlong "Dirty Business." Clocking in at more than eight minutes, it would have benefited from the shorter time frame of the rest of the songs on the album.
The bonus tracks are taken from their set during the closing of the Fillmore West in July of 1971. The three songs include covers of Joe South's "Down in the Boondocks," a 7:37 take on The Band's "The Weight," and the Dawson original "Superman." Garcia provides pedal steel and background vocals on "The Weight." "Superman," while it dates back to 1968, would not appear on a NRPS album until their 1973 album GYPSY COWBOY.
The band probably had more in common with Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen than to the Flying Burrito Brothers, but on this debut album the New Riders put their own unique spin on country-rock and came up with the best overall album of their career. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
New Riders Of The Purple Sage's debut album is one of the best country-rock albums of the early 70's. The band was made up of John "Marmaduke" Dawson, Dave Tolbert & David Nelson, but was augmented by Jerry Garcia on steel guitar, Mickey Hart on percussion and Spencer Dryden on drums. The band stared out as a project for the Grateful Dead's Mr. Garcia, Mr. Hart & Phil Lesh to fully indulge themselves with the country sounds that they had touched upon in their music. The music veers from straightforward country-rock of "Henry", "Portland Woman" & "I Don't Know You" to "Dirty Business" which is an eight-minute track that leans towards a weird mix of acid rock & country. The album's highlight is "All I Ever Wanted" which contains the most beautiful and delicate steel guitar work from Mr. Garcia. New Riders Of The Purple Sage is a must for any fans of the Grateful Dead, but should be equally enjoyed by fans of the Flying Burrito Brothers, The Byrds or CSN&Y.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2005
In the early 1970's, a talented group called the New Riders of the Purple Sage was making waves as a popular touring act. They were born of the Grateful Dead - Jerry Garcia was a founding member, and the two bands toured together before the NRPS finally struck out on their own. Today, some of the band's live performances are being released on CD, so they are enjoying something of a comeback. This is the only studio album that includes Jerry Garcia, whose bold, unconventional playing of the pedal steel guitar dominates most tracks. Also included are three live bonus tracks. It's hard to place this album in any one genre - it is a bit country, a bit rock, and a bit bluegrass. Rock fans shouldn't shy away from trying this album because of its country stylings - if you are a fan of the Grateful Dead,the Allmans, the Band, or any of the other great Folk/Country/Rock bands of the 60's and 70's, you might find that this album is a delightful and addictive treat.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2004
Essentially this album is in my opinion one of the pinnacles of country rock ( a genre of music that is today played only by bands that are on CMT). Although this is not the Best NRPS release this is still music that is far above average. The obvious highlights of the album include the famous Glendale Train, Henry, and Portland Woman. Henry is a humurous little song about drugs, and a guy going down to Mexico. Portland Woman and Glendale Train are both a bit more somber songs but their greatness is by no means diminshed.
Overall this album is a very strong release however the reason that I took off a star is because it was completely uneeded to remaster the recording that was already very good in the first place though it sounds a bit bad on my record player as it is scratched. The extra tracks are however a nice little touch.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2006
So I've been getting into Ryan Adams lately. It doesn't take long to find out that Adams stands in the great shadow of Gram Parsons, who in his day paved the way for people like the New Riders.
The New Riders, for their part, consisted of Grateful Dead alumni (read: Jerry Garcia) and Dead proteges. The New Riders toured fairly extensively with the Dead as their opening band.
This album recalls nothing so much as the Dead's "American Beauty". There's a couple of duds, but when they let loose on the wah wah pedals while riffing on country music, the going gets weird, and the weird get going....or something like that.
If you're into Lucinda, Ryan Adams, Wilco, or any of the so called alt country bands, you need to get back to the source. Start right here.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2008
There is really nothing more that can be added to the reviews below except one thing: anyone who appreciates the original alt-country of Dylan, the Dead, Poco, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the original Pure Praire League, Neil Young or Gram Parsons must buy this c.d. immediately.
Be sure and get this version of their eponymous c.d. due to the 3 bonus live tracks which (like the rest of the album) include Jerry G.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2012
I still have my vinyl copies of "N.R.P.S." and "Panama Red", but wanted the convenience of CD format. The band was part of the country-rock movement of the late '60s and early '70s, fun and daring and irreverent to all us young hippies. A song about the joys of smuggling weed in from Mexico? An entire album named after high-grade smoke from Central America? Hey, hey!
Even though I haven't gotten high since 1978 I can still appreciate the humor, the insider references, and the good-time, free-flying country twang of the Riders' songs.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The first New Riders of the Purple Sage album was recorded between December of 1970 into January of 1971 and released that August. The original line up consisted of John "Marmaduke" Dawson, David Nelson, Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart. By the time the album was being recorded, the main line up had become John, David with Dave Torbert taking over for Phil and Jefferson Airplane's Spencer Dryden taking over for Mickey. Jerry was listed as an additional musician even thought he plays on the whole album. Mickey Hart and Commander Cody also make a couple of guest appearances on here. The album was produced by the band, Phil Lesh and Steve Barncard who also co produced the Grateful Dead's American Beauty.
The album starts off with a nice uplifting song called I Don't Know You and is followed by the catchy What'cha Gonna Do. Portland Woman is a nice ballad and is followed By the upbeat Henry which is sort of like the Dead's Casey Jones, if you know what I mean. The first half of the album ends with the dark epic Dirty Business. The second half begins with Glendale Train which has a strong toe tapping blue grass feeling even if the story is about a train robbery. While What'cha Gonna Do has a bit of an environmentalist feel, this side is shown more on Garden Of Eden and Last Lonely Eagle. All I Ever Wanted is a nice ballad while the album ends on an upbeat note with Louisiana Lady. This 2003, Sony/Legacy edition features smoking versions of Joe South's Down At The Boondocks, the Robbie Robertson classic The Weight and John's own Superman recorded during their set on July 2, 1971 opening for the Dead at the Fillmore West in San Francisco. These bonus tracks would later be re-released on Cactus Juice for those who may have missed out here.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2008
I bought this for my wife, because her tape of the album finally gave up the ghost. Great CD.