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New Riders of the Purple Sage, 'New Riders of the Purple Sage' (1971)
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New Riders of the Purple Sage, 'New Riders of the Purple Sage' (1971)11/50

New Riders of the Purple Sage, 'New Riders of the Purple Sage' (1971)

Emerging from the same San Francisco folknik scene that spawned their Acid Test and Fillmore compatriots the Grateful Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage found a fellow traveler in Jerry Garcia, who stuck around long enough to contribute exquisite pedal steel guitar to the group's lilting and charmingly naïve 1971 debut. Named after a camp Zane Grey novel, NRPS seemed more infatuated with the idea of country than the real deal — and that's OK. Who could resist the bucolic psychedelia of "Whatcha Gonna Do" or the two-stepping underground-comix vibe of cult hit "Henry," a pot-smuggling sibling to the Dead's "Casey Jones"? R.G.