KC 32450 The Adventures of Panama Red
Produced by Norbert Putnam
Released on 1973
Find it at GEMM
KC 32450 cover
[high resolution scan]

T here was a moment when I thought of cleaning the dust off this album and rolling it. The Riders’ most infamous elpee is an open ode to pot, coke and alcohol; it’s a near certainty that seeds were sorted on the interior gatefold of all but the one copy that went to the Library of Congress. Musically, however, the band had straightened out the psychedelic strangeness from their earlier albums. Panama Red is mostly cowboy music with little original material from John Dawson and lots of pedal steel from Buddy Cage. The Riders always played cowboy music, of course, but it was filtered through the psychedelic prism of the Dead. On here, only the tracks from Dave Torbert and a Robert Hunter original, “Kick in the Head,” have the lighthearted hand of the Dead in them, while Dawson’s two songs are two of the weakest. It didn’t bode well for the future of the New Riders that half of the material came from outside contributors. For me, Panama Red’s appeal is the stellar steelwork from Buddy Cage and the curious effect of hearing drug dealers lionized in song (“Panama Red,” “Important Exportin’ Man”). Outside of the two Peter Rowan songs, it’s not really a novelty record, just a collection of well-made and not all too memorable cowboy songs. If this was the direction that the Riders were headed in, I’ll part company with them here. The Adventures of Panama Red simply isn’t adventurous enough for me. I’m pretty sure that if Buddy Cage played steel guitar in a working slaughterhouse it would sound good, but it was Dawson’s fragile melodies that brought me this far and the pair on here break too easy.


  1. PANAMA RED    (Peter Rowan)    2:48
  2. IT'S ALRIGHT WITH ME    (Dave Torbert)    2:41
  3. LONESOME L.A. COWBOY    (Peter Rowan)    4:08
  4. IMPORTANT EXPORTIN' MAN    (Tim Hovey/Dave Torbert)    2:24
  5. ONE TOO MANY STORIES    (John Dawson)    2:54
  6. KICK IN THE HEAD    (Robert Hunter)    2:28
  7. YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN ME RUNNIN    (John Dawson)    2:58
  8. TEARDROPS IN MY EYES    (Red Allen/Tommy Sutton)    2:12
  9. L.A. LADY    (Troy Seals/Don Goodman/Will Jennings)    2:10
  10. THANK THE DAY    (Dave Torbert)    2:22
  11. CEMENT, CLAY AND GLASS    (Spencer Dryden/David Nelson)    2:33


BUDDY CAGE -- pedal steel
JOHN DAWSON -- guitar, vocals
SPENCER DRYDEN -- drums and percussion
DAVID NELSON -- guitar, vocals, bass
DAVE TORBERT -- guitar, vocals
Donna Jean Godchaux -- additional vocals (4,9)
The Memphis Horns -- horn arrangements
Norman Putnam -- bass (10), horn arrangements, remix engineer
Buffy Sainte-Marie -- additional vocals (7,11)
Tom Flye -- recording engineer
Spencer and Lore -- album concept
Toots and Toots -- cover design
Lore and Chris -- cover art
Tom Weir -- photography

return to NEW RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE discography

US 1973 Columbia LP KC 32450 gatefold cover, lyric sleeve
UK 1973 CBS LP S65687 gatefold cover
NZ 1973 CBS LP SBP-474151 gatefold cover
US 1974 Columbia LP CQ 32450 qaudrophonic stereo
US 1979 Columbia LP PC 32450 gatefold cover
US   Columbia CD 32450  


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