The New Riders of the Purple Sage

Fillmore East (New York, NY)

May 15, 1970 - Early

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  1. 1 Six Days On The Road 03:57
  2. 2 Whatcha Gonna Do 04:09
  3. 3 I Don't Know You 04:03
  4. 4 Henry 03:50
  5. 5 Portland Woman 04:44
  6. 6 Fair Chance To Know 04:16
More The New Riders of the Purple Sage

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

These 1970 NRPS sets are particularly interesting, as the band is still in the formative stages of its career. Jerry Garcia plays pedal steel guitar on everything, and ex-Airplane drummer Spencer Dryden had recently signed on, as had bass player and creative force Dave Torbert. They were still, in many ways, very much a part of the extended Grateful Dead experience, and a year away from releasing their first album, but with Dryden and Torbert replacing Lesh and Hart, respectively, the NRPS were becoming a real band in their own right. Dawson and Nelson's repertoire already included early versions of much of the material that would later be recorded on the first NRPS album, and several of those first efforts are included in this set.

The band kicks off the set with "Six Days on the Road," before romping through four classic songs destined for their first album. These are a little less developed than they would ultimately become, but a unique, immediately captivating sound emerges nonetheless. The craftsmanship of these songs is indeed impressive - both instrumentally and lyrically. They cover a country standard, "Fair Chance to Know," in fine style before beginning another original, "Last Lonely Eagle."

Unfortunately, the tape runs out during this last song, ending the set prematurely and leaving the recording incomplete. Fortunately for this fresh, distinctive ensemble, however, the best was yet to come.