New Riders Of The Purple Sage - Instant Armadillo Blues Best Of 1971-1975

It’s all jokes’n’joints with these Grateful Dead chums

Instant Armadillo Blues
Best Of 1971-1975

Formed in the aftermath of
the Dead’s American Beauty
classic, NRPS graduated
from opening shows for their
heroes to forging a decent
career. With the instrumental
talents and songwriting skills
of John ‘Marmaduke’
Dawson and co-guitarist
David Nelson tuned to an
über-hippie blend of country-rock,
the group knocked out
classy numbers such as
Glendale Train and the
moody Dirty Business with
assists from Jerry Garcia’s
pedal steel and banjo.

This two-disc set collates
all of their better moments.
The New Riders made eight
albums in the early 70s, and
the compilers haven’t missed
any tricks by including bassist
Dave Torberts’ Groupie or the
dope anthem Panama Red –
lent a real swing time thrust
thanks to Norbert Putnam at
the controls. The quality drops
off when gaze turns to the
so-so Gypsy Cowboy album
and the Bob Johnson-produced
Oh, What A Mighty
Time (a cover of Bob Dylan’s
Farewell, Angelina aside). Still,
Sage lovers can find plenty
here to back the view that
Dawson and Nelson’s troupe
once gave The Flying Burrito
Brothers and Poco a run for
their money.

Great picking and decent
harmonies abound. The New
Riders never took themselves
too seriously, yet warrant a
second listen.

3 stars 3 stars 3 stars

Raven | RVCD-345 (2-CD)

Reviewed by Max Bell
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