The band dynamics changed for the New Riders after their superb debut. Their mentor and pedal steel guitarist Jerry Garcia had left, so they recruited Buddy Cage to replace him. No longer in the shadow of the Grateful Dead, they were ready to go off on their own, with the new lineup of John Dawson (rhythm guitar, vocals), David Nelson (lead guitar, vocals), Dave Torbet (bass, vocals), Cage (pedal steel guitar) and Spencer Dryden (drums). Previously Dawson had handled all the lead vocal duties and wrote all the songs, but on their second album Nelson and Torbet started singing. Subsequently there are only four Dawson compositions on this album, and it could be argued that it suffers from this, watering down what made their debut so unique and consistent. However it does make up for this in diversity. Torbet contributes two numbers, but the other five numbers are covers. Through their choice of songs the band make their appreciation of traditional country ("Dim Lights, Thick Smoke and Loud, Loud Music"), 50s rock and roll ("Hello Mary Lou") and R&B ("I Don't Need No Doctor") evident. There's also an appearance from English session pianist extraordinare Nicky Hopkins.
New Riders Of The Purple Sage (1971) <|> Gypsy Cowboy (1972)
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