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New Riders Of The Purple Sage - Where I Come From
By: Jim Moulton, CSO Staff Journalist

A lot has been springing up from the the thirty plus year old culture of the Grateful Dead, including a tour of their own this spring. They included Warren Haynes for the first time on lead guitar. The cover of this digipak packaging definitely has that familiar look, done by Mouse who has done so much artwork over the years for the Dead family. Looks like a classic New Riders cover with the Cactus, starting to really like that kind of CD packaging instead of the jewel case.

In '05 Hot Tuna guitarist Mike Fulzarana with bassist Ronnie Penque and Johnny Markowski (drums), joined David Nelson and Buddy cage (pedal steel) from the New Riders and started touring, playing the old set lists and covers. Ex Jerry Garcia songwriting cohort Robert Hunter started sending Nelson lyrics. So, seven of the songs on this new New Riders CD titled, Where I Come From, were written by this pair of songwriters. The other five songs were written by the other members of the group, except for one cover, "The New Minglewood Blues".

This is a great live studio recording, with an edgier, more rock sound, than the old New Riders. Cages pedal Steel is awesome as he he urges tones at will. This group sounds like a jamband, with lots of songs clocking in at over seven minutes, the shortest around four, but their music is tight, not going in endless circles.

"Where I Come From" is the opener, an upbeat seven minute song, where they take off as a band on a Hunter, Nelson song. This is a real country rocker, psychedelic cowboys, they still are, with more electric and effects and less acoustic guitar, in fact, there is not an acoustic track on the Disc.

Every song on here is the first or second take, instead of overdubs and scratch vocals, they just put five guys in the main part of the studio and play until it is right. No song took more than three takes, that is pretty amazing. The second song, "Big Six," is an upbeat country rocker with a driving beat. I love Penques bass playing, reminds me a bit of Lesh, he is right out front in the mix. Nelson's vocals have a little rasp in them, but he still can sing, not a lot of three part harmony songs like the old days. I listened to an old NRPS album and this is a real different vibe.

There is plenty of good music on this disc, just no more stuff like "Panama Red". There is one of the longer songs by Hunter, Nelson, titled "Barracuda Moon." This song really rocks out with a psychedelic touch. Some nice subtle delay, and other effects used in a tasteful way. Cages' steel really plays a big part in this song. Not enough can be said about Markowski's drums, the guy can flat out play, with a ton of energy. This song was not only done on the first take, but it was the first time they ever did it. I really love this song and I like "Down The Middle" a lot.

This is a must have for Hot Tuna and New Rider fans, and it is a great new Americana-Alt/Country CD.

 


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