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New Riders of the Purple Sage

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iTunes Review

The Grateful Dead's country cousins New Riders of the Purple Sage embody the "cosmic American music" tag coined by their fellow California country-rocker Gram Parsons. The New Riders' 1971 debut album mated a hippie/stoner sensibility with a love of classic country music. The songs penned by bandleader John Dawson suggest a background steeped in the work of Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, et al, but the lyrics offer several subtle nods to the present. Jerry Garcia supplied sweet, swooping steel licks that occasionally (as on "Dirty Business") take on a semi-psychedelic feel, further enhancing the band's acid-honky-tonk vibe.

Customer Reviews


quintessential record. If you like the Workingmans dead album this is an extension of that. Henry is classic, I am amazed I don't hear it more, Portland Woman. Suffice to say this is an album you can listen to from beginning to end without a break. Nice Harmony. This one is the true "california sound". I think it is better then any dead album in execution it all fits here. Nice stuff.

Lightning in a bottle

Been a NRPS fan for years and love their albums but this, their first, truly exists in a class by itself. Its amazing to me that Jerry Garcia, who I believe never considered himself anything more than an OK pedal steel player, could have developed such a characteristic sound. Sure wish he had played it more. As far as I'm concerned, for OK, his steel playing was great! ......and this album attests to that.

Great Country Rock

A little more on the country side of the genre than The Eagles, New Riders of the Purple Sage's debut album is one of the best records from the early '70s country-rock explosion. From the opening notes of "I Don't Know You" through the almost-bluesy "Dirty Business" and the catchy "Glendale Train" to the wistful "Last Lonely Eagle" and the uptempo finale to the original LP, "Lousiana Lady", the record never disappoints. Now in a CD release with three bonus live tracks, the music sounds even better than it did way back when. If you like country-rock, you'll definitely love this album.


Formed: 1969 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

For most of the early '70s, the New Riders of the Purple Sage™ (yes, the name is trademark-protected) were the successful offshoots of the Grateful Dead. Although they never remotely approached the success or longevity of the Dead, they attracted a considerable audience through their association with Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, and Mickey Hart, whose fans couldn't be satisfied with only the Dead's releases -- the New Riders never reached much beyond that audience, but the Deadheads loved them as substitutes...
Full Bio
New Riders of the Purple Sage, New Riders of the Purple Sage
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