Please make yourself at home! Check some tags, do some reading, leave a comment.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Poster for GD/NRPS, October 26-27, 1971, via The Jerry Site.

The New Riders of the Purple Sage opened for the Grateful Dead for most or all of its October-December 1971 touring. Happily, a lot of the shows were broadcast and there are pretty good tapes.

Ticket stub for GD/NRPS, October 27, 1971, via
This one, from the Onondaga War Memorial in Syracuse, NY on October 27, 1971 is an above-average tape of a well-above-average performance. I can't say I've listened forensically to tons of late 1971 New Riders, but the band represented here is really, really hot. The vocals are tight and correct, with no drunken Marmaduke silliness on, e.g., Honky Tonk Women. He sounds sober and focused. David Torbert sings lead on "Hello Mary Lou" [Allan | Scofield], made famous by Ricky Nelson, and "Willie and the Hand Jive" [Allan | Scofield], which had been a top-ten single for its author, Johhny Otis, in the summer of 1958 [wikipedia]. Nelson is great, as usual, and Garcia is good and tasteful, with the awesome, rusty buzz-sawing steel in "Dirty Business" that I really love.

Anyway, good clean fun, and a very favorable review in the next day's Syracuse Post-Standard (see reference in notes, below).

New Riders of the Purple Sage
Onondaga County War Memorial
Syracuse, NY
October 27, 1971 (Wednesday)

--Complete Set (12 tracks, 62:20)--
t01. {03:40} //Six Days On The Road [#2:09] [1:21]
t02. {04:34} I Don't Know You [3:32] [1:02]
t03. {03:30} Down In The Boondocks [3:04] [0:26]
t04. {13:58} Dirty Business [11:03] [2:55]
t05. {04:04} Rainbow [3:11] [0:53]
t06. {07:34} Garden Of Eden [6:41] [0:53]
t07. {03:27} Hello Mary Lou [2:59] [0:28]
t08. {03:58} Henry [3:39] [0:19]
t09. {03:10} S//ailin' [#1:59] (1) [1:11]
t10. {03:57} Sweet Lovin' One [3:10] [0:47]
t11. {06:00} Willie And The Hand Jive [5:55] [0:05]
t12. {04:28} Louisiana Lady [4:00] (2) [0:28]

John Dawson - rhythm guitar, vocals
David Nelson - lead guitar, vocals
David Torbert - bass, vocals
Jerry Garcia - pedal steel guitar
Spencer Dryden - drums.

! Recording: symbols: % = recording discontinuity; / = clipped song; // = cut song; ... = fade in/out; # = truncated timing; [ ] = recorded event time. The recorded event time immediately after the song or item name is an attempt at getting the "real" time of the event. So, a timing of [x:xx] right after a song title is an attempt to say how long the song really was, as represented on this recording. Fancy brackets {} represent track times.
! TJS:
! db: shnid 18357 (FM broadcast, this fileset)
! review: Wisniewski, John. 1971. 6,500 Rock to ‘Dead’ Sounds; Riders Superb in Warmup. Syracuse Post-Standard, October 28, 1971, p. 8.
! R: "FMMR(C?) > ? > R > DAT > WAV > SHN"
! R: "A > D transfer by Noah Weiner - June, 2003 from Jimmy Warburton's 7" Reel."
! R: "The recording is mono, and the left channel had a great deal more hiss and noise than the right. Thus, the right channel was copied over the left in Sound Forge to produce a more clean and strong signal for the final digital project.  Also, throughout the reel there are occasional static pops, fuzz, and crackles."
! R: "Reel playback on Pioneer RT-701 > Teac AN-180 Dolby decoder > Fostex D5 DAT (A>D only) > Turtle Beach Montego II Digital I/O > Soundforge (wav edits and track IDs) > SHNTOOL (SBE fix) > MKW (shn)."
! R: this has a gen or two on it, and as Noah notes it has some warts, but overall it is quite good, a fine listen.
! historical context: NRPS opened for the Grateful Dead for all of the out-of-town gigs in October-December 1971, with a great many of the sets broadcast on FM radio. The FM broadcasts are nice because I think Marmaduke and the rest are just a little more careful when they think they are being broadcast: things are nice and tight, everything is pretty good. If you wanted to hear what NRPS sounded like at this stage, this set is totally representative. This would be one of Garcia's last gigs with the New Riders, with the last known one being four nights later in Stony Brook, NY. There were apparently no NRPS sets at the Harding on November 6-7, and by Atlanta on 11/11 Buddy Cage had taken over the pedal steel chair.
! NB Torbert lead vocals on Hello Mary Lou (t07) and Hand Jive (t11).
! R: t09 Sailin' has a splice a few seconds in, not sure if there's a verse missing. Cuts in on "//My lady is lovely and she carries no comb".
! t09 (1) station ID: "WAER, Syracuse".
! t12 (2) ?McIntire?: "Yeah, the New Riders of the Purple Sage. Thank you, New Riders. OK, this is what we're gonna be doing for the next twenty minutes. We're gonna have a quick change-around, so we can get the Grateful Dead//"


  1. It's interesting to note that while the New Riders' debut album had just been released, they only play 5 songs off of it. 5 more would be from their second album (Powerglide) which would not be released for about 7 more months. The other two were cover versions that were just part of their live repertoire. At this period, NRPS were a live, vital band that was very much looking to the future.

  2. "Vital" is just the right word. Nice stuff. I also recall the shows from 10/30 being really good.


!Thank you for joining the conversation!