CK-34367 The Best of New Riders of the Purple Sage
previously released material
Released on 1976
no chart information
Find it at GEMM
CK-34367 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 9.0: THE BUST OF THE NEW RIDERS. Their greatest hits (get it?), although I would have racked ‘em up differently. Since the Riders didn’t even have a pair of hits to call their own, this compilation attempts to pick the best from the first half-dozen Columbia albums, with ample consideration given to their first album. Columbia should have swapped out “Glendale Train” and “Louisiana Lady” for “Groupie” and “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke” or, here’s a notion, added a few more songs and puffed this up to a respectable forty minutes. (At under 31 minutes, this may be the shortest “best of” record on record.) In other words, if you thought Skeletons was slight, this is bone thin. While it’s over too quick, The Best of New Riders of the Purple Sage is pedal-steel perfection and sweet country harmonies the whole way through. These are small, powerful doses of what made the Riders so intoxicating: the mythical drug tales (“Panama Red,” “Henry”), gilded cowboy songs (“Last Lonely Eagle”) and tangential Dead tracks (“Kick in the Head”). So is this the logical place to start in navigating the New Riders? No. Because it repackages half of the first album anyway, better to just bite the bullet and buy the first album. This compilation only offers a short, skewed history of a band that had long since emerged from the dual shadows of Dead and Dawson. The complete absence of anything from Dave Torbert seems like a nasty parting shot as well (he had left to join Kingfish). Thirty years later, a satisfactory career compilation of the New Riders still has yet to arrive. What are we waiting for?


  1. I DON'T KNOW YOU    (John Dawson)
  2. GLENDALE TRAIN    (John Dawson)
  3. HELLO MARY LOU (GOODBYE HEART)    (Gene Pitney/Cayet Mangiaracina)
  4. LOUISIANA LADY    (John Dawson)
  5. KICK IN THE HEAD    (Robert Hunter)
  6. PANAMA RED    (Peter Rowan)
  7. LAST LONELY EAGLE    (John Dawson)
  8. YOU ANGEL YOU    (Bob Dylan)
  9. I DON'T NEED NO DOCTOR    (Nicholas Ashford/Valerie Simpson/Josie Armstead)
  10. HENRY    (John Dawson)


Ed Lee -- design
Eric Meola -- photo
Gerard Huerta/Richard Kenerson -- lettering

return to NEW RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE discography

US 1976 Columbia LP PC-34367  
UK 1976 CBS LP 81742  
US   Columbia CD CK-34367  


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