New Riders of the Purple Sage

Relix's Best of the Early: New Riders of the Purple Sage

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A nicely programmed compilation featuring songs taken from the long-running Grateful Dead spin-off band's earliest studio sessions (with Jerry Garcia on pedal steel), plus two live concerts from 1971 (also with Garcia), and 1975.

The studio songs (which also feature Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart of the Dead) are probably the most interesting, particularly a homespun early version of their classic dope dealer anthem "Henry," but the live stuff is just as charming. You won't want to miss lead singer John Dawson's inspired yodeling on the coda of "Cecilia." Period stuff, to be sure, but still potent.

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