New Riders of the Purple Sage

Live on Stage

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"This CD was originally released in Europe in 1992 without my permission," writes John Dawson of the New Riders of the Purple Sage on the back cover of Relix Records' Live on Stage. Dawson's objection is that neither he nor the songwriters have seen or are likely to see royalties for such a bootleg. Since "the material here is quite enjoyable," he has authorized Relix to put it out in the U.S. The recordings come from two sources. Tracks one through six are derived from a radio broadcast of a concert given by NRPS at the Beacon Theatre in New York in 1975, touring in support of their Oh, What a Mighty Time LP; Tracks seven through ten come from a show at the much smaller Keystone club in Berkeley, CA, on May 17, 1975, and seem to be direct from the soundboard. The Beacon tracks allow the group to make a good show of itself, playing such favorites as "Panama Red" and "Glendale Train," as well as a version of Chuck Berry's "Nadine." The more intimate Keystone tracks include a traditional country weeper, "I Will Never Make You Blue," and a rousing take on Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba." As record makers, the New Riders were not at their peak in 1975, as relatively weak tracks such as "Little Old Lady" and their inferior cover of R.B. Greaves' "Take a Letter Maria" indicate. But they were certainly an engaging live act, and these tapes are well above bootleg quality, if not quite up to the standards of a typical legitimate live album.

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