Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Riders of the purple sage- Brujo/Home home on the road

Brujo/Home, Home on the road
In the early 70's, two of the best live LP's were Commander Cody's "Live From Deep In the Heart of Texas" and the New Riders' "Home, Home On the Road." While the Cody LP has been on CD for years, it is only recently that the New Riders LP was converted to CD. A few years ago while waiting for him to perform, I had a conversation with Buddy Cage, steel player for the New Riders, and I asked him why "Home, Home On the Road" had never been converted to CD. He said he was surpirsed himself, especially since the LP's producer Jerry Garcia had spent countless hours going through nine months of live tapes from a New Riders tour. He told me Jerry had picked the absolute best recordings from that tour.

So if you like the New Riders, get this CD. Don't waste your money on the other live New Riders CD's. This one is by far the best. The Brujo section is from a studio album that is fair, but the live section is more than worth the price of the collection. It's in the same category as Commander Cody's live recordings. You'll see why these two bands had some of the best live shows going in the 70's. The New Riders released their fifth and first live album Home, Home On The Road in April 1974. The album is produced by Jerry Garcia while bassist/vocalist/songwriter Dave Torbert having left the band by the time the album was released. The album starts with John Dawson's fun Hi, Hello, How Are You making it's first appearance on record. David Nelson gets a stunning run on She's No Angel and is followed by a rockin' version of Dave Torbert's Groupie. John gives us another first on record with his fine Sunday Susie. Dave is ramped up for Hunter's Kick In The Head and it's nice to see Truck Drivin' Man turn up having been part of the band's set lists for years. Hello Mary Lou is strong but Sutter's Mill is even better. David and the band absolutely rip up the Stones' Dead Flowers. Henry is a nice chugging version and School Days features Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen's Andy Stein on sax. A fantastic album worthy of 5 stars!

The New Riders sixth album Brujo was released in November 1974 and is produced by Ed Freeman. It was the first to feature former Byrds member Skip Battin as Dave Torbert had left to join Kingfish. The album opens with John Dawson's great and sweetly sung Old Man Noll. David Nelson and the band do a great job delivering the country classic Ashes Of Love. The band then delivers a fantastic cover of Bob Dylan's You Angel You with John singing lead. John's Instant Armadillo Blues is a fun romp while David and the rest turn in a beautiful version of Workingman's Woman. The next three songs On The Amazon, Big Wheels and Singing Cowboy, give newest member Skip the spotlight. David Nelson and Robert Hunter contribute a great song called Crooked Judge. John's somber Parson Brown is fantastic. The album ends with Skip's Neon Rose. All in all, a pretty great 4 star album. A nice booklet is included.

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