The New Riders of the Purple Sage - Willie And The Hand Jive

Winterland (San Francisco, CA), 12/31/1972

Music Audio The New Riders of the Purple Sage
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By the end of 1972, the New Riders were no longer just an offshoot of the Grateful Dead. Buddy Cage was now firmly in the pedal steel seat, adding incredible technical virtuosity to the band's overall sound. They had come a long way in the past year, both as songwriters and as a band.

Many of the group's most memorable songs from their self-titled debut album are here, but it's the newer material from their second album, Powerglide, and their forthcoming third album, Gypsy Cowboy, that shine the brightest.

The group had also developed quite a few great new cover songs around this time, including Ricky Nelson's "Hello Mary Lou," R.B. Greaves' "Take A Letter Maria," Chuck Berry's "School Days" and the classic "Long Black Veil." It was two other oldies, however, that inspired the band to its highest points of expression - "I Don't Need No Doctor" and "Willie and The Hand Jive," both of which capture the band at its most adventurous. The tunes contain fiery interplay between lead guitarist David Nelson and pedal steel virtuoso Buddy Cage, with Matt Kelly's harp adding an interesting flavor. This was the NRPS at their most rocking: both infectious performances that include considerable high caliber jamming.

Everything on this lengthy set is played well, and the band seems to be in high spirits throughout. This is a great warm up for midnight, when the Grateful Dead would take over and play till dawn.

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