New Riders of the Purple Sage, Plus Professor Louie
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The New Riders of the Purple Sage (NRPS) , signed to Columbia Records by Clive Davis, released its eponymous first album in September 1971 to widespread acclaim. In the next 11 years the band toured and released over 12 albums, selling over 4 million records. NRPS began as a part-time spin-off from the Grateful Dead when Jerry Garcia (pedal steel guitar), Phil Lesh (bass) and Mickey Hart (drums) teamed up with John Dawson (guitar, vocals) and David Nelson (guitar). Although early live appearances were viewed as an informal warm-up to the main attraction, the group quickly established an independent identity through the strength of Dawson’s original songs.
By 1971 Dave Torbert had replaced Lesh, and Spencer Dryden, formerly of Jefferson Airplane, had joined as the group’s permanent drummer. Garcia remained in both The Dead and The New Riders until he found himself overcommitted, at which time Buddy Cage replaced him and the classic NRPS lineup was born. Original NRPS bass player Dave Torbert , drummer Spencer Dryden, and co-founder John Dawso, have passed away. The new lineup, led by Nelson and Cage, vows to keep the NRPS spirit and tunes alive by taking them to old and new fans everywhere.