Sunday, May 3, 2020

New Riders of The Purple Sage Tour History May 1969>April 1970 (NRPS Itinerary I)

The December 2019 release by the Owsley Stanley Foundation of the 5cd box set Dawn Of The New Riders of The Purple Sage opened up new vistas in Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia history
The recent release by the Owsley Stanley Foundation of the 5cd box set Dawn Of The New Riders Of The Purple Sage was a revelation. Not only was a new window opened wide onto the music of the early New Riders, but the intricate evolution of the music of Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir played with the Grateful Dead could be woven into the tapestry of both bands.

The Owsley box shed some light in the much larger role played by Weir in the formative New Riders. Since May 1970 would bring forth "An Evening With The Grateful Dead," where the band would do sets as the "Acoustic Dead," then the New Riders of The Purple Sage and finally the full electric Dead, the reaffirmation of country and folk music for Garcia and Weir in 1969 informs the music in the following year. I made the case, perhaps somewhat too affirmatively, that what would become the Acoustic Dead was originally conceived of as a country revue called Bobby Ace And The Cards Off The Bottom.

You can read my argument for yourself and decide to what extent the Cards Off The Bottom were an inside joke or a serious proposition. But now, thanks to Hawk of the Owsley Stanley Foundation, we have a lot of new information here, beyond what was just in the box set. Again, everybody gets to decide for themselves what it all means, but Hawk was kind enough to include all the available setlists from the Foundation tapes.

Combined with other information that I have gathered, here is a new and improved concert chronology for the New Riders of The Purple Sage from 1969 through Spring 1970. For the bigger picture of the New Riders genesis, and how Garcia and Dawson connected in the first place, see the prior post.

For songs that I haven't heard, I have made reasonable guesses as to what they were. I identified the most famous performer associated with the songs, rather than seeking out the publishing details, which are easily googlable in any case. I am trying to guess which versions Garcia, Weir and Dawson might have heard, rather than pursuing the vinyl details. Even a cursory glance shows the prevalence of George Jones and Buck Owens songs, even if most of them dropped away in subsequent years. Tracks released on Dawn Of The New Riders are in bold. Please note inaccuracies in the Comments.

Insights, corrections, additions, speculation eagerly welcomed in the Comment section. Thanks again to Hawk for the new information.

Gilded Palace Of Sin, the first album by The Flying Burrito Brothers, was released on A&M Records in 1969. Sneaky Pete Kleinow played pedal steel guitar
April 4-6, 1969 Avalon Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Flying Burrito Brothers/AUM/Sanpaku
Jerry Garcia hears Sneaky Pete Kleinow playing pedal steel guitar on Owsley's sound system. The next week he bought his second pedal steel guitar, a Zane Beck Double 10. He had owned and sold a Fender pedal steel around 1967, but it had been too hard to tune.

The site of Don Edwards' Guitar City in Lakewood, CO, a famous steel guitar emporium (I think the photo is actually from the later 1970s). Jerry Garcia bought his ZB10 pedal steel here on April 13 or 14, 1969.
April 13 or 14, 1969 Don Edwards Guitar City, Lakewood, CO
Jerry Garcia buys a pedal steel guitar from a well-known steel shop in Colorado.

May 7, 1969 The Underground, Menlo Park, CA: John Dawson
This was probably the first Wednesday night that Garcia sat in with Dawson. At the time, Dawson was alternating sets with a Flamenco guitarist named Daniel Crisman. If this was the first night, and Crisman was still on the bill, I wonder how it felt when Dawson got on stage with a genuine rock star?

The Menlo Hub restaurant, at 1029 El Camino Real in Menlo Park, as it appeared in 2012. It was probably the site of The Underground hofbrau, where Jerry Garcia first performed with John Dawson in May, 1969. Next door at 1035 El Camino (Su Hong) was the location of Guitars Unlimited, where Garcia and Bob Weir worked briefly in late 1965.
May 14, 1969 The Underground, Menlo Park, CA: John Dawson
Dawson and Garcia played, for certain, because the Owsley Foundation has a tape. Nelson had not yet joined. There are three reels of tape, so it's reasonable to assume the duo played at least three sets.
  1. A-11 (Buck Owens-1964)
  2. If You Hear Me When I'm Leaving
  3. Whatcha Gonna Do
  4. To Have the Hurting End
  5. The Lady Came From Baltimore (written Tim Hardin, released Bobby Darin-1967, later recorded by Joan Baez-1967)
  6. I've Got a Tiger By the Tail (Buck Owens-1965)
  7. Together Again (Buck Owens-1964--per Peter Grant, Tom Brumley's pedal steel ride on this song inspired both Grant and Garcia to want to play the instrument)
  8. Six Days On the Road
  9. I Shall Be Released (Dylan/The Band-1969)
  10. Crossover
  11. Hello Trouble (Buck Owens-1964)
  12. Garden of Eden
  13. Whatcha Gonna Do
  14. Sweet Lovin' One
  15. Superman
  16. Hey Melinda
  17. Just Like a Fool
  18. Jailbait (per Hawk, this appears to be a John Dawson original about being careful about underage women, sometimes called "Jailbait Gets You Busted." Unsettling as this sounds, there wais a California country tradition of songs like "San Quentin Quail" which never get covered anymore)
  19. Don't Take Any Chances
  20. Delilah
  21. I Still Miss Someone (Johnny Cash-1958)
  22. All I Ever Wanted
  23. I Don't Know You
  24. The Weight (The Band-1968)
  25. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob Dylan, from John Wesley Harding-1968)
  26. Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line (Waylon Jennings-1968)
  27. Long Black Veil (Lefty Frizzel-1959)
The Country Gentlemen's 1960 debut album Country Songs Old & New. The Gentlemen were from Washington, DC, not the Appalachians, and their approach to bluegrass was hugely influential on the likes of Jerry Garcia
Marmaduke & Jerry, Rehearsal, "Home" May 17, 1969
The tape box (per Hawk) apparently says "Home." Whose home? Jerry's? Owsley's? I'm more inclined to think it was Owsley's, at 6024 Ascot Drive in the Oakland Hills, but of course it's hard to be sure. 
  1. If you Hear Me When I'm Leaving (take 1)
  2. If you Hear Me When I'm Leaving (take 2)  
  3. Delilah (take 1)
  4. Delilah (take 2)
  5. The Lady Came From Baltimore
  6. I Still Miss Someone
  7. Sweet Lovin' One
  8. Roving Gambler (Country Gentlemen-1960))
  9. Whatcha Gonna Do
  10. All I Ever Wanted
  11. To Have the Hurting End
  12. Handsome Molly (this folk song goes back to the 19th century, but it was a well-known bluegrass song played by the Country Gentleman and many others)
  13. Unknown J. Dawson original 
  14. Superman
  15. Don't Take Any Chances
  16. Hey Melinda
  17. Crossover
  18. Somebody Loves You 
  19. The Next In Line (presumably Johnny Cash-1957)
  20. Jailbait
In summer 1969, Owsley Stanley lived in a house in the Oakland Hills at 6024 Ascot Drive (shown here in a 21st century real estate listing)
Marmaduke, Jerry, & Mickey, "Home" May 18, 1969
  1. Roving Gambler
  2. Stagger Lee (I wonder which version?)
  3. Fair Chance to Know
  4. Garden of Eden
  5. Whatcha Gonna Do
  6. Sweet Lovin' One
  7. The Next In Line
  8. Hey Melinda
  9. Crossover
  10. The Lady Came From Baltimore
  11. Truck Drivin' Man (Terry Fell-1954, a hit again for Buck Owens-1965)
  12. If You Hear Me When I'm Leaving
An SF Chronicle listing from January 6, 1969, advertising Peter Albin and David Getz hosting a "Jam" at Monday night at the Matrix. David Nelson played this gig, along with a few others, in anticipation of a reformed Big Brother and The Holding Company. Peter Albin and Nelson had been best friends in Carlmont High in Belmont, and Peter's older brother Rodney has introduced Nelson to both bluegrass and Jerry Garcia.
May 21, 1969 The Underground, Menlo Park, CA: John Dawson
Likely another night that Garcia backed Dawson (the Dead were booked May 28), without Nelson.

(update: JGMF reminds us that Jerry Garcia and Friends were booked at The Matrix on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 20-21). I had forgot about this. But as my own comments on the post say, I'm pretty sure I have an eyewitness. (To recap: Jerry Garcia and Friends/Sanpaku played Matrix Tues/Wed May 20-21. Sanpaku's road manager told a story about playing in front of Owsley and Garcia and trying to impress them and melting down, thanks to--ahem--Mr. Owsley). I'm assuming that to have been Tuesday May 20. Garcia and Dawson could have had a Menlo Park Hofbrau gig on Wednesday (May 21) and Garcia still could have made the Wednesday Matrix show. Presumably, Garcia and Friends was some sort of Hartbeats jam thing, but that remains mysterious (and my eyewitness can't help, of course).

Also, there is another twist to the David Nelson story, namely that he was more or less a member of Big Brother and The Holding Company at this time. During at least some of May, he was (per himself, via Gans) recording in Los Angeles with Sam Andrews and others, probably Peter Albin, drummer Dave Getz and singer Kathi McDonald. So Nelson may not have even been in town when Dawson and Garcia played together the first few times.

Another scholar spoke with Peter Albin of Big Brother about that band's timeline. Around Christmas 1968, Albin asked Nelson to join a reformed Big Brother. At the time, Nelson was staying in Big Brother's rehearsal warehouse in San Francisco. Albin and Nelson were close friends from their days going to school together at Carlmont High in San Carlos, just south of San Francisco. Indeed, Peter's older brother Rodney had introduced Nelson to both bluegrass and Jerry Garcia.

Although the putative Big Brother played at least one gig at the Matrix (Jan 6 '69), plans for a reactivation were put on hold when Albin and Getz toured with Country Joe and The Fish throughout Europe in March and April of that year. The recording started in May (for the album which would become the underrated Be A Brother), but Big Brother didn't have much going on. Per Peter Albin, Nelson took the opportunity to join the New Riders instead, because they had more momentum. Still, we don't know when Nelson joined Garcia and Dawson, and I'm starting to think it wasn't until June.
May 1969 GD/Garcia Tour Itinerary

June 3 or 4 (?), 1969 Peninsula School, Menlo Park, CA: unbilled benefit
Although undetermined, the most likely date for the gig described in Blair Jackson's book is during this week. The lineup was apparently Dawson, Garcia, David Nelson and Phil Lesh (per Jackson). So Nelson must finally have been involved, and somehow Lesh had gotten in the picture as well.

Peninsula School was a "progressive" K-8 school for the Ban The Bomb crowd in the South Bay, located at 925 Peninsula Way in Menlo Park, near Willow Road. Bob Weir and Bob Matthews had attended, as had John Dawson. Future GDTS operator Steve Marcus had grown up nearby, and probably attended this show. Jerry Garcia had a long history of playing at the school. His daughter Heather was probably a student, and his ex-wife Sara may have been a music instructor at the time. It's likely that the proceeds from the show offset Heather's tuition (as the New Riders would play the next few years as well).

My general theory, unproven, is that Garcia played the Peninsula date on the afternoon that he had a date at the Underground.

June 4, 1969 The Underground, Menlo Park, CA: John Dawson
I have indirect confirmation of this date. It's plausible to think that the Peninsula School gig was in the afternoon, and the club in the evening. There was a Bay Area rock group called Southern Comfort who had a show at Palo Alto's only real rock club, The Poppycock. The band's drummer, Bob Jones (who played with John Kahn, Mike Bloomfield and many others) told me in an email that he recalled that he had heard that members of the Dead were playing nearby, so they left the club prior to going on stage. They were immediately busted by the Palo Alto police, who took their weed but did not arrest them, which--I assure you--is very Palo Alto. Jones didn't recall the exact date or where they were heading, exactly. but the pieces fit.

June 11, 1969 California Hall, San Francisco, CA: Bobby Ace and The Cards Off The Bottom Of The Deck
Recently I posted a lengthy theory that Garcia and the Grateful Dead were considering expanding the performing Dead into a sort of revue, like a touring C&W band. Your mileage may vary with regards to my proposal. The New Riders of The Purple Sage would have been one leg, and an ensemble called Bobby Ace And The Cards Off The Bottom might have been the other. The "Bobby Ace" name had not been applied to Weir prior to June 1969, even casually.

The Cards Off The Bottom name was only used a few times, and this June 11, 1969 benefit seems to have been a sort of experiment (ignore the Scientology Benefit side-story, which is tangential).Thanks to McNally (p.321), we know the band consisted of Garcia, Weir, TC, Phil, Hart, Peter Grant, Nelson and Dawson.

The only other time that Bobby Ace And The Cards Off The Bottom name was used again on a bill was when the band debuted the "acoustic Dead" in April 1970. The "Revue" idea seems to have been reduced somewhat, but the band toured while playing up to 4 sets of music with three different ensembles. McNally also found a setlist (not a tape), which consists of the typical covers performed by the "Acoustic Dead" in 1970. A tantalizing clue to any future plans, whatever you choose to make of it.

Set One
  1. Let It Be Me (Everly Brothers-1960)
  2. Silver Threads and Golden Needles (Wanda Jackson-1956, and numerous other recordings)
  3. Mama Tried (Merle Haggard-1968)
  4. Cathy's Clown (Everly Brothers 1960)
  5. Me and My Uncle (John Phillips via Jim Stalarow-1964)
  6. Slewfoot (Johnny Horton '61, Porter Wagoner '68)
  7. Dire Wolf
  8. Games People Play (Joe South-1968)
  9. The Race Is On (George Jones-1965)
  10. Green Green Grass Of Home (Porter Wagoner-1968)
Set Two
  1. Tiger By The Tail
  2. I've Just Seen A Face (Beatles, from Rubber Soul-1965)
  3. All I Have To Do Is Dream (Everly Brothers-1958)
  4. Wabash Cannonball (Trad, Roy Acuff-1936 and Carter Family-1932 made famous)
  5. Railroading Across The Great Divide (Carter Family ca. 1932)

June 18, 1969 The Underground, Menlo Park, CA: John Dawson
Impossible so far to confirm, but presumably the trio played the Underground this Wednesday as well.

June 25, 1969 The Underground, Menlo Park, CA: John Dawson
Fascinatingly, McNally uncovered a setlist from Judy Dawson (no relation to John), a serious fan who kept such things. Until the Owsley foundation released the May 14 setlist (above), this was our only insight into what the trio played in Menlo Park:
  1. Tiger By The Tail
  2. Fair Chance To Know
  3. Mama Tried 
  4. The Next In Line
  5. I'm In Love With You
  6. Stagger Lee
  7. Coat Of Many Colors (not sure of this one--the Dolly Parton song was released in April 1971)
  8. Whatcha Gonna Do
  9. Truck Drivin' Man
  10. If You Hear Me When I'm Leaving
  11. The Race Is On (George Jones-1964)
  12. Six Days On The Road (Dave Dudley-1963)
  13. Jailbait Gets You Busted
  14. Close Up The Honky Tonks (Buck Owens-1964)
  15. Last Lonely Eagle
  16. For What It's Worth (Buffalo Springfield-1966)
  17. I Still Miss Someone
  18. Together Again 
  19. Superman
  20. Lay Lady Lay (Bob Dylan, from Nashville Skyline-1969)
  21. If You Want To Run (not sure if this was a Dawson original or not)
  22. Buckaroo (Buck Owens instrumental-1965, regularly played live by Clarence White and The Byrds)
  23. Long Black Veil
  24. Me & My Uncle
  25. Delilah
June 1969 GD/Garcia Tour Itinerary

June 27-28, 1969 Veterans Memorial Hall, Santa Rosa, CA: Grateful Dead/Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady and Joey Covington/Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band
The Grateful Dead played Friday and Saturday nights in Santa Rosa, supported by a proto-version of electric Hot Tuna and the Berkeley group Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band. CGSB had originally been a sort of hip skiffle band--essentially New Orleans string band music--but had electrified somewhat and were now a sort of swinging country band with a drummer.

On the first night, Mickey Hart was late, and CGSB drummer Tom Ralston was invited to sit in for him. Obviously, Kreutzmann could have handled it, so I assume the band was just poking Mickey, hinting that he could be replaced by someone else. Ralston played the first six songs or so, before Hart showed up.

On the second night (Saturday, June 28), as a "thank you" or just for fun, Jerry Garcia sat in on pedal steel guitar. Hawk reports that Owsley taped Garcia joining CGSB on Buck Owens' "A11," a regular number for CGSB. He may have played on a few other numbers, but I'm not sure. The band certainly recalled the weekend clearly, in any case.

Also on Saturday, for "Me And My Uncle," Peter Grant played electrified banjo, and John Dawson sang along with Weir. This adds another data point for my theory, however speculative, that Garcia and the Dead were at least considering some kind of expanded country ensemble.

June 29, 1969 The Barn, Rio Nido, CA: Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady/Jerry Garcia and Friends
The Owsley Foundation release of Jorma Kaukonen/Jack Casady/Joey Covington Before We Were Them was recorded on June 28, At the end, the announcer mentions a "jam" at Rio Nido and says that "Jerry Garcia and a friend" will be playing. This is all but certainly Garcia and Dawson, most likely with David Nelson as well.
June 1969 GD/Garcia Tour Itinerary

The cover of Holly Harman's photomemoir, Inside A Hippie Commune, from 2013
Summer 1969 Pacific High Recorders, San Francisco, CA: Cloud Brothers session "Strange Way"
Perhaps the most obscure release featuring Jerry Garcia was a cd called Inside A Hippie Commune: Music Soundtrack. Author Holly Harman wrote a sort of coffee table book about her 60s Santa Cruz Mountains commune, called Inside A Hippie Commune. She also created a DVD documentary from some surviving footage. Her husband Eric Levin did the soundtrack music. It was released privately, but officially, on cd in 2015, as Inside A Hippie Commune: Music Soundtrack.

Here's the short version, and it's not even short:  Eric Levin was a Santa Cruz hippie guitarist in a band called Spirits (whom you'll see on ancient Bay Area posters). His wife (then girlfriend) Holly Harman was and is an extremely interesting source for Santa Cruz Bay Area hippiedom, as she was a teenager back then. She's one of my principal and best sources on The Barn, the core text for my research. Harman was full of other interesting details, too--she's the one who tipped me to the fact that the Curly Jim who taught Bob Weir "Me And My Uncle" wasn't Curly Cooke of the Steve Miller Band (and she even emailed Curly Cooke, whom she knew, to confirm it--a researcher's dream). There's lots more to say about Harman, but leave that aside for now.

Most of the tracks were recorded by Eric Levin around 2009, with his bar band, who played a local Sonoma brewpub. Their music is okay, and some tracks include the bass player for Blue Cheer (Dickie Petersen) in the band. However, there are a few tracks from 1969 by The Cloud Brothers, recorded at Pacific High Recorders. The Cloud Brothers were Levin and a guy named David Russek on guitars and vocals. On one track, "Strange Way" Curly Jim Stalarow plays rhythm guitar, and Jerry Garcia plays pedal steel. This was in mid-69, sometime, and per Holly Harman, Garcia did the session in return for weed. I assume the engineer was Dan Healy, but that information is uncertain. This may have been Garcia's first session as a steel player.

Garcia basically plays a scale, as far as I can tell. But whatever. It's Garcia's first pedal steel studio session, and he plays with the guy who taught Bob "Me And My Uncle."

A flyer for a Hells Angels Benefit at Longshoreman's Hall in San Francisco on Wednesday, July 16, 1969. Besides the Grateful Dead, Cleveland Wrecking Company and Ice, the future New Riders made their debut with a brief, messy set.
July 16, 1969 Longshoreman's Hall, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Cleveland Wrecking Company/Ice Hell's Angels Benefit
Unbilled, the soon-to-be Riders opened for the Dead. They came on late, due to equipment problems apparently caused by Owsley. The band played briefly, and per Blair Jackson's eyewitnesses, shambollically. Presumably Matthews and Hart debuted. Given that the Dead had toured much of early July, there can't have been much rehearsal.

Albert "Ice Man" Collins legendary 1965 album The Cool Sound of Albert Collins was re-released by Blue Thumb Records in 1969 as Truckin' ith Albert Collins
July 24-29 (?), 1969 The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Albert Collins 
As part of the research into Big Brother history, Peter Albin mentioned that he backed blues guitarist Albert "The Iceman" Collins for a week at The Matrix and then a weekend at the Family Dog. Remarkably, the band was Albin (presumably on guitar), Big Brother drummer Dave Getz, David Nelson, and most surprisingly, Dave Torbert. Torbert was based in Hawaii at the time, but his parents still lived in Redwood City, so he could have been visiting them.

Bookings advertised at The Matrix for the week were
Wed July 22 -Lonnie Mack/Marvin Gardens (probably Tues-Thurs July 21-23)
Sat 25 July-Southern Comfort/Dementia (theater troupe) (probably Sat July 24 as well)
Wed 29 July-Linn County /Terry Dolan (probably Thurs Jul 30 as well)
Matrix bookings weren't set in stone, and Albert Collins could have been added or substituted to any of the nights. The shows were probably like rehearsals, setting them up for the weekend gig. Thanks to Bob Hite of Canned Heat, Collins had just been signed in 1968 by Imperial Records, and he had moved to Palo Alto (of all places) by November 1968. We'll have to guess which days Collins may have played at the Matrix. Collins famous 1965 album (The Cool Sound Of Albert Collins) had been re-released as Truckin' With Albert Collins in 1969.

The Berkeley Barb listed "Jerry Garcia backing Marmaduke" at the Bear's Lair. $1.50, two shows.
August 1, 1969 Bear's Lair, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA: Jerry Garcia and Marmaduke
The band plays two sets, starting at 10:30pm, at the tiny, newly-opened beer joint on the Berkeley campus. Confusingly, the Dead were booked at the Family Dog this night, but did not play. A union of light show workers were striking, and Garcia--union-born through his mother--would never cross a picket line. It's telling that in a non-confrontational Garcia move, he simply booked another gig and clearly had no intention of participating in any dramatic showdown at the Family Dog event.

Garcia did eventually turn up, later that night, when some of the dust had settled. The strike fizzled out, since Graham had correctly sussed out that rock fans weren't really paying to see light shows.

Set 1

    1. The Next In Line
    2. Truck Drivin' Man
    3. A-11
    4. I Don't Know You
    5. Garden of Eden
    6. Hello Trouble
    7. Mama Tried
    8. Superman
    9. Big Fool of the Year
    10. The Weight
    11. Last Lonely Eagle
    12. Whatcha Gonna Do

      Set 2:

          1.    Six Days On The Road
          2.    Henry
          3.    What Made Milwaukee Famous
       (Jerry Lee Lewis-1968)
          4.    I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail
          5.    Don’t Take Any Chances
          6.    Connection
          7.    Delilah

          8.    Zebra Dun (Traditional) (this may have been the start of the 3rd set)
          9.    [Jerry explains his instrument]
          10.    Kaw-Liga (Hank Williams-1953)
          11.    Sweet Lovin' One

          12.    Fair Chance To Know
          13.    Long Black Limousine
      (Glen Campbell-1964, Elvis Presley-1969, among many)
          14.    All I Ever Wanted
          15.    Truck Drivin' Man
          16.    The Lady Came From Baltimore
          17.    Games People Play
          18.    [introducing the "Murdering Punks"]

          19.    To Have the Hurting End
          20.    I Am Your Man
          21.    Henry 

      Note that "Henry" was played twice in the second set--there may have been three sets.
        August 1-2-3 Family Dog on The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Albert Collins/Ballet Afro-Haiti
        These shows have been written about at great length. Most famously, the Light Show artists were unionizing and striking, and Bill Graham was dead-set against them. Chet Helms was trying to thread the needle, and there was a picket line at the Friday night (Aug 1) Family Dog show. Negotiations stalled the show, and the Dead never played, although a few members probably jammed. Decide for yourself if Garcia booked a conflicting gig on this night on purpose, or not. He ceratainly never did this again, in any case.

        The interesting tidbits here are that it seems that David Nelson had a gig as well, with Albert Collins, and he too missed the action. More interestingly, Nelson seems to have sat in with the Dead on both Saturday (August 2) and Sunday (August 3). At least it sure sounds like Nelson and his distinctive "B-Bender" on "Mama Tried" both nights. It makes a lot more sense if Nelson was already at the show, with his guitar and amp.

        The New Riders of The Purple Sage name first appeared in print in Ralph J Gleason's column in the San Francisco Chronicle on August 6, 1969. The listing announced the band's appearance at The Matrix "tonight and tomorrow" (Aug 6 and 7)
         August 6-9, 1969 The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: New Riders of The Purple Sage
        The New Riders of The Purple Sage name first appears in print in the San Francisco Chronicle, when the band plays Wednesday thru Saturday night at The Matrix in the Marina District. We have a tape from Thursday (August 7, sometimes dated differently). For decades, this was one of only two existing live 1969 New Riders tapes (September 18 was the other).

        NRPS August 7, 1969-The Matrix
        1. Kaw-liga
        2. If You Hear Me When I'm Leaving
        3. Superman
        4. Mama Tried
        5. Games People Play
        6. Truck Drivin' Man
        7. Me & My Uncle
        8. Delilah
        9. Long Black Veil
        10. All I Ever Wanted
        11. Henry
        12. Don't Take Chances
        13. Last Lonely Eagle
        14. Six Days On The Road

        August 12 or 13, 1969  Family Dog On The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: New Lost City Ramblers/New Riders of The Purple Sage "Hoe Down"
        This hitherto unknown show was mentioned in the Berkeley Tribe newspaper (August 22-29).

        It appears that old South Bay pal Pete Grant sat in with the New Riders on banjo for a few numbers. Not surprisingly, Garcia and Nelson were very excited to play on the same bill with the New Lost City Ramblers, and at the end of the show members of both bands played a few tunes together.

        As a side note, it appears that either the Grateful Dead or Mickey and The Harbeats played at the Family Dog on Thursday, August 14 (1969). The diary of (New Lost City Rambler) John Cohen  mentions his attendance. Cohen wouldn't have known or cared about the difference, but it suggests that there were more Thursday night Family Dog "jam shows" than we thought.

        August 19, 1969 Family Dog At The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: New Riders Of The Purple Sage
        Although this date had been listed in the Berkeley Barb, I had doubted the likelihood of it actually having been played. This was a Tuesday night, and the Grateful Dead set at Woodstock had ended Saturday midnight, and they had to be in Seattle on Wednesday. Nonetheless, the Owsley Foundation has a tape, so Garcia and Hart got home, and it happened.
        1. The Next In Line
        2. The Mighty Quinn (Bob Dylan Basement Tapes, via Manfred Mann-1968)
        3. Fair Chance to Know
        4. Last Lonely Eagle
        5. The Lady Came From Baltimore
        6. Henry
        7. Six Days On the Road
        8. All I Ever Wanted
        9. Whatcha Gonna Do
        10. Truck Drivin' Man
        The former site of El Roach Tavern, at 5419 Ballard Avenue in outer Seattle. When the Dead were rained out of the Agua Theaater on August 20, they decamped to the El Roach, which was supposedly a "Biker Bar." They played, too. Musta been some night. By 2010, when seen here, it was a sporting good store called Kavu.
        August 20, 1969 El Roach Tavern, Ballard, WA Grateful Dead
        The Dead, The New Riders of The Purple Sage and a group called Sanpaku were scheduled to play an outdoor venue in Seattle. They got rained out, so the Dead played a scary biker bar in Seattle called El Roach. I have written about this at length.Possibly the New Riders played as well, or at least joined in the fun.

        The Aqua Theater in Seattle was an outdoor performance venue. Led Zeppelin played there on May 11,1969, but the Grateful Dead played the last show there on August 21. The stage was in the lake. The theater was torn down in 1970, but a piece of the grandstand remains, in a park commemorating the venue (5900 W. Green Lake Way N)
        August 21, 1969 Aqua Theatre, Seattle, WA Grateful Dead/New Riders of The Purple Sage/Sanpaku
        After the rainout, the Dead and their support acts came back and played Seattle's Aquatheatre, joined by Sanpaku flautist Gary Larkey. This was the last performance at the unique outdoor venue, and I have written about it as well. This booking was the first time the New Riders were billed as opening for The Grateful Dead. As a side note, its a relevant point that Bob Matthews was still the bassist, because the NRPS origin myth talks about Phil Lesh going out on the road as their bassist. It never actually happened. What few gigs Phil played were around the Bay Area.
        1. Truck Drivin' Man
        2. To Have the Hurting End
        3. Games People Play
        4. Long Black Veil
        5. Garden of Eden
        6. The Mighty Quinn
        7. I Am Your Man
        8. The Lady Came From Baltimore
        9. Six Days on the Road
        10. Last Lonely Eagle
        11. The Weight

        August 23, 1969 Bullfrog 2 Festival, Pelletier Farm, St Helens, OR Grateful Dead/Taj Mahal/Portland Zoo/Sabatic Goat/River/Sand/Notary Sojac/Searchin Soul/The Weeds/New Colony/Chapter Five/Trilogy/Bill Feldman/Don Ross/Mixed Blood/Ron Bruce
        The Grateful Dead headlined a rock festival in Oregon.   This festival was originally scheduled for the Columbia County Fairgrounds in St. Helens, Oregon, about 30 miles North of Portland, but a local judge voided the promoters contract.  The festival was moved to private property nearby.

        The festival ran three days (August 21-22-23). I assume Taj Mahal headlined Friday night (Aug 22) and the Dead headlined Saturday. The rest of the groups were Oregon bands. An eyewitness once reported (in a letter to an Oregon newspaper) that the New Riders (and Country Joe) played the show also, and I find that plausible since we know that Nelson, Dawson and their equipment were with the band.

        As a side note, I don't believe in biographical criticism as a key to meaning in Art. Comparing the lives of artists with their creative works can be misleading. I, for one, do not think that Johnny Cash shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die. But if you do believe in biographical research as a research method, its worth noting that this weekend would be the only one where John Dawson could have met him a Portland woman.

        [update: Fellow scholar RunOnGuinness reports an eyewitness account that says the New Riders played on Friday night August 22:
        An attendee reports that the New Riders played Bullfrog 2 on Friday 1969-08-22 and the Dead on Saturday 1969-08-23.

        Terry Smith "I went to the Bullfrog festival when I was 15 years old. I don't remember ever seeing Taj Mahal. Friday night, the NRPS played on a very dark flat bed trailer. There was only one or two light bulbs for lighting. The next night the Dead played on two flat bed trailers.They started very late and heated up the cold night air. The next morning, they were gone. I walked through they're campground and found an ounce of weed and a sword."

        From an OSF 2020-04-13 comment

        August 28, 1969 Family Dog at The Great Highway: Mickey and The Hartbeats/New Riders of The Purple Sage
        August 29-30, 1969 Family Dog at The Great Highway: Grateful Dead/Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen/New Riders of The Purple Sage/Phoenix (replaced Rubber Duck Company)
        Thanks to the Owsley box, we have music from this weekend. The Thursday night "Hartbeats" set was a jam, it's not clear if the Dead proper actually played. The event was promoted via handbill and was probably more like a public rehearsal. Commander Cody's band had only recently relocated from Ann Arbor, MI to Emeryville.
        NRPS, August 28, 1969, Family Dog
        1. Six Days On The Road
        2. I Am Your Man
        3. Last Lonely Eagle
        4. Whatcha Gonna Do
        5. [introducing the famous Bobby Ace]
        6. Mama Tried (w/Bob Weir)
        7. Cathy's Clown (w/Bob Weir)
        8. Old, Old House (w/Bob Weir) (George Jones-1965)
        9. Me And My Uncle (w/Bob Weir) 
        10. Seasons Of The Heart (w/Bob Weir) (George Jones-1965)
        11. Slewfoot (w/Bob Weir)

        NRPS, August 29, 1969, Family Dog
        1. To Have the Hurting End
        2. Games People Play
        3. All I ever Wanted
        4. Connection (Rolling Stones, from Between The Buttons-1967)
        5. Mama Tried (w/Bob Weir)
        6. Cathy's Clown (w/Bob Weir...and Mickey on cowbell)
        7. Fair Chance to Know
        8. Seasons of My Heart (w/Bob Weir)

        NRPS, August 30, 1969, Family Dog
        1. Superman
        2. Henry
        3. All I Ever Wanted
        4. Last Lonely Eagle
        5. Six Days on the Road
        6. Saw Mill (w/ Bob Weir) (Buck Owens-1963)
        7. Whatcha Gonna Do
        8. Cathy's Clown (w/Bob Weir)
        9. Mama Tried (w/Bob Weir
        September 6, 1969 Family Dog on The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: Jefferson Airplane/Grateful Dead (Saturday)
        We know about the Dead and Airplane performances only from tapes, but new information has confirmed that there was a New Riders set as well on this date.
          The NRPS are mentioned playing at The Inn Of The Begining in Cotati in Ralph Gleason's column in the September 17, 1969 SF Chronicle.
          September 18, 1969 Inn Of The Beginning, Cotati, CA: New Riders of The Purple Sage
          Bob Matthews last gig as the New Riders bass player (per himself) was at this tiny bar in Sonoma County, which had opened only the year before. Matthews hung his taping rig over a roof beam. The Dead promptly went on tour on the East Coast.

          Thanks to the Dawn of The New Riders box, however, we know that Matthews played more gigs with the Riders, since he was on the Mandrake's tape from October. Did that mean his last show was in Cotati, but not this date? Or that he simply misremembered the whole thing? Another interesting thing is that Matthews tape may have circulated over the years, it's about six songs long, but Owsley appears to have taped the whole show.
          GD/Garcia tour itinerary September 1969 
          1. The Next in Line
          2. Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line
          3. Superman
          4. Me & My Uncle
          5. All I Ever Wanted
          6. Truck Drivin' Man
          7. Zebra Dun
          8. What's Made Milwaukee Famous
          9. Last Lonely Eagle
          10. If You Hear Me When I'm Leaving
          11. Whatcha Gonna Do
          12. I Don't Know You
          13. Garden of Eden
          14. Six Days On the Road
          15. I Still Miss Someone
          16. Jailbait
          17. Fair Chance to Know
          18. Long Black Limousine
          19. Connection
          20. To Have the Hurting End
          21. Games People Play
          22. Hello Trouble
          23. Quinn the Eskimo
          24. Delilah
          25. Death & Destruction (this Dawson song was not released by NRPS until 1972's Gypsy Cowboy)
          26. The Lady Came From Baltimore
          27. Henry
          28. The Weight
          29. Mama Tried
          Once again, Ralph Gleason's column announces another Thursday show at Cotati's Inn Of The Beginning (Oct 8 '69 SF Chronicle)
          October 9, 1969 Inn Of The Beginning, Cotati, CA: New Riders of The Purple Sage
          I thought this was Phil Lesh's debut as the New Riders' bass player. But it wasn't, or wasn't likely to have been, since Matthews played with the band at Mandrake's the next week.

          The site of Mandrake's, at 1048 University and Tenth Street, as it appeared in 2009.
          October 14-16, 1969 Mandrake's, Berkeley, CA New Riders Of The Purple Sage
          Some of this material was released on Dawn Of The New Riders of The Purple Sage. Now that he knows the songs, Matthews bass playing has improved considerably. The band was advertised as playing three nights (Tuesday through Thursday). Owsley appears to have only taped the first two.

          NRPS, October 14, 1969, Mandrake's (set 1)
          1. Death & Destruction
          2. The Lady Came From Baltimore
          3. Lodi (Creedence Clearwater Revival, single released April 1969)
          4. I Am Your Man
          5. Henry
          6. All I Ever Wanted
          NRPS, October 14, 1969, Mandrake's (set 2)

          1. Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line
          2. Fair Chance To Know
          3. Mama Tried
          4. I Still Miss Someone
          5.  Crossover
          6. The Weight
          NRPS, October 15, 1969, Mandrake's
          1. Next In Line
          2. The Mighty Quinn
          3. Long Black Limousine
          4. Six Days On the Road
          5. To Have the Hurting End
          6. Henry
          7. Superman
          8. Whatcha Gonna Do
          9. Lodi
          10. The Lady Came From Baltimore
          11. Me & My Uncle
          12. Connection
          13. Mama Tried
          14. Last Lonely Eagle
          15. Garden of Eden
          16. Games People Play
          17. I Still Miss Someone
          18. Long Black Veil
          19. I Am Your Man
          20. Death & Destruction
          21. Fair Chance To Know

          A listing for the NRPS show at the (then) San Jose State College Student Ballroom (Gleason column, SF Chronicle Oct 17 '69)
          October 17, 1969  Student Union Ballroom, San Jose State College, San Jose,CA New Riders Of The Purple Sage/The Fourth Way
          This may have been the very first rock concert at the newly opened ballroom (soon known as The Loma Prieta Room). The Grateful Dead would return to headline two weeks later. The Owsley Foundation has the tape.
          1. Crossover
          2. Hello Trouble
          3. Long Black Limousine
          4. Six Days on the Road
          5. Next In Line
          6. Games People Play
          7. To Have the Hurting End
          8. Whatcha Gonna Do
          9. The Race Is On (w/Bob Weir)
          10. Cathy's Clown (w/Bob Weir)
          11. Saw Mill (w/Bob Weir)
          12. Mama Tried (w/Bob Weir)
          13. Me & My Uncle (w/Bob Weir)
          14. Fair Chance to Know

          A listing in the October 22, 1969 SF Chronicle Datebook section of the Ecological Ball "Happening" at the Family Dog
          October 22, 1969 Family Dog on the Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: "Ecological Ball" with Lazarus/Garden Of Delights/Heavy Water/New Riders Of The Purple Sage and films
          This show had been known from an obscure flyer, but this listing in the Wednesday, October 22 Chronicle sheds slightly more light on the event. Only the Riders and Lazarus were rock bands, as Garden Of Delights and Heavy Water were light shows. The evening sounds like what today would be called a "multi-media" event. The Riders probably played one set.

          NRPS Tour Itinerary October 1969

          November 3-4, 1969 The Matrix, San Francisco, CA New Riders Of The Purple Sage
          The New Riders returned to the Matrix for Monday and Tuesday shows. Maybe this was a sort of rehearsal for the demo sessions, since they hardly would have gotten paid.

          Before Time Began, the 1986 Relix Records album by the New Riders, featured four songs recorded in November 1969 at Pacifid High Recorders.
          November 1969: Pacific High Recorders, San Francisco, CA New Riders demo
          The four-song New Riders demo was taped at Pacific High Recorders in San Francisco sometime in November, with Phil Lesh on bass. Bob Matthews was the engineer. The tracks were later released on the 1986 Relix album Before Time Began. These demos got played on KSAN, on occasion.
          1. Henry
          2. All I Ever Wanted
          3. Last Lonely Eagle
          4. Cecilia

          The Inn Of The Begining, at 8201 Old Redwood Highway in Cotati, as it appeared in 2010. It was another establishment by then, but the IOTB sign was still there
          November 6, 1969 Inn Of The Beginning, Cotati, CA: New Riders Of The Purple Sage
          Was Lesh the bass player by this time? There is still no firm evidence one way or the other.

          The Poppycock, at 135 University Avenue in Palo Alto, was one of the steady rock clubs around the Bay Area in 1969. This flyer is for November 8, 1969 and following.
          November 13, 1969 The Poppycock, Palo Alto, CA: New Riders Of The Purple Sage
          The Poppycock, at 135 University Avenue (at High Street) in Palo Alto, was a fish and chips/beer joint that was also Palo Alto's first regular rock venue.

          Ads from the Berkeley Barb. The Winterland benefit for The Dog was moved to Fillmore West. Mumble, Fumble, Jumble, Dumble were Big Brother, not ready to go fully public.
          November 18, 1969 Family Dog On The Great Highway, San Francisco New Riders Of The Purple Sage/David LaFlamme "Square Dance"
          LaFlamme likely sat in with the New Riders.

          November 19, 1969 Fillmore West, San Francisco New Riders Of The Purple Sage/Big Brother and The Holding Company/Barry McGuire & The Doctor Naut Family
          A Family Dog benefit was originally advertised for Winterland, but the show was moved to Fillmore West. The Dog was never on firm ground financially after 1967

          Gleason column from SF Chronicle (Nov 19 '69)
          November 20, 1969 The Poppycock, Palo Alto, CA: New Riders Of The Purple Sage
          NRPS played a few Wednesdays in a row at the Poppycock.

          November 22-23, 1969 Family Dog On The Great Highway, San Francisco< CA: New Riders Of The Purple Sage/Anonymous Artists Of America/Devil's Kitchen
          The second night, and possibly the first night as well, was likely canceled due to a Grateful Dead show in Boston on November 23.

          November 26, 1969 The Poppycock, Palo Alto, CA: New Riders of The Purple Sage
          JGMF found this listed in the Berkeley Tribe. Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the third week in a row that the Riders were booked at the Poppycock
          November 27, 1969 Family Dog on The Great Highway New Riders Of The Purple Sage/Lamb/Cleveland Wrecking Company/Deacon and The Suprelles/Rafael Garrett Circus
          This was part of a multi-media extravaganza including stage performers and films (whom I have not listed).Kind of a strange booking for Thanksgiving Thursday. Still, there may have been a lot of hippies far from home with nothing to do.

          A clip from Ralph Gleason's SF Chronicle Ad Lib column on Nov 28 '69
          November 28-29, 1969 Inn Of The Beginning, Cotati, CA: New Riders Of The Purple Sage
          The New Riders returned to Cotati for yet another show, this time apparently for a full weekend. Its possible that the Riders played Friday (28) and that Joy Of Cooking played Saturday (29), but I will take Gleason at his word here, even though his hastily-typed Ad Lib section often had typos or casually elided certain bills.

          The IOTB show had to have been Phil Lesh's last show with the New Riders in 1969, and possibly ever.
          GD/Jerry Garcia tour itinerary November 1969

          January 19, 1970 Pauley Ballroom, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA: New Riders of The Purple Sage Benefit
          This benefit show was advertised. It's not clear if it happened, or if the New Riders played at it if it did.

          Keep in mind that the Dead had a crazy touring schedule, thanks to Lenny Hart: early January at Fillmore East, Oregon in the middle, then Hawaii. If the Riders played Pauley, it would have been the Monday after a weekend in the Pacific Northwest.

          February 7, 1970 Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Taj Mahal/Big Foot
          I am no expert on tape lineage, but some old circulating audience tapes had John Dawson singing with the Dead (I think on "Together Again"). The old tapes were compilations of some sort, and could have been mis-dated.

          The absence of New Riders activity also makes sense considering the Dead's frantic schedule. After firing Lenny Hart, the band was busted in New Orleans, played St Louis, the Family Dog and Fillmore West, laid down rehearsal tracks for Workingman's Dead and then toured Texas and played the Family Dog again.

          March 12, 1970 Inn Of The Beginning, Cotati, CA: New Riders of The Purple Sage
          Booked, but the Riders canceled (check out the great Comment Thread).

          March 13-14, 1970 New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA: New Riders of The Purple Sage
          Once again, the Riders canceled, because they either had no bass player or Phil simply wasn't interested.  The reformed Big Brother took up the dates, it seems.

          The Dead were recording Workingman's Dead during this week, anyway (March 9-16, most likely), so NRPS gigs would have gotten in the way.
          This photo from p.4 of Tapers Compendium V1 shows tapes in the Grateful Dead Vault, probably ca. 2004. If you blow it up and look on far right of the upper shelf, you can see several tapes marked "3/18/70 Hot Tuna" and "3/18/70 NR," in Owsley's handwriting. So some recording of the night was made. Investigations continue (thanks JJ and DM for the photo)

          March 18, 1970 Family Dog on The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady/New Riders of The Purple Sage
          For many years I thought it was impossible that the Riders played this date, since the Dead were between Buffalo (Mar 17) and Port Chester (Mar 20-21). Incredibly, however, there is a photograph of the tape boxes. (Hawk adds that the labels are all Owsley's handwriting, too). Maybe Garcia, Lesh and Hart flew home to help mix Workingman's Dead? I hope the Owsley Foundation still has this...was it Phil's last gig as a New Rider?

          April 17-19, 1970 Family Dog on The Great Highway, San Francisco, CA: Mickey Hart and His Heartbeats/Bobby Ace And The Cards Off The Bottom Of The Deck/New Riders of The Purple Sage/Charlie Musselwhite
          The formal debut of the Acoustic Dead, all but certainly the debut of Dave Torbert as the New Riders bass player, and the last glimpse of the Cards Off The Bottom Of The Deck. 

          Bobby Ace? April 18, 1970-Family Dog

          1. I Know You Rider (Traditional, ca. 1930s)
          2. Don’t Ease Me In (Henry Thomas, others ca. 1930s)
          3. Silver Threads and Golden Needles
          4. Friend of the Devil
          5. Deep Elem Blues(Georgia Crackers-1923)
          6. Wake Up Little Susie (m)
          7. Candyman
          8. Cumberland Blues
          9. New Speedway Boogie
          10. Me and My Uncle
          11. Mama Tried
          12. Katie Mae [Pigpen solo]
          13. Ain't It Crazy (The Rub) [Pigpen solo]
          14. Roberta [Pigpen solo]
          15. Bring Me My Shotgun [Pigpen solo]
          16. The Mighty Flood [Pigpen solo]
          17. Black Snake [Pigpen solo]
          Keep in mind, that as Jerry Garcia was working to integrate Dave Torbert into the New Riders, he was also touring frantically with the Grateful Dead, as Sam Cutler was working on rescuing the band from bankruptcy by touring hard. As if that wasn't enough, Garcia was regularly dropping in to the Matrix on Monday nights, to jam with organist Howard Wales and drummer Bill Vitt, along with a bassist pal of Vitt's named John Kahn.

          We are fortunate to have a tape of the acoustic set from the middle night at the Family Dog (April 18), but we don't have an eyewitness account. I assume the Riders played, but was their an electric Dead set as well? How were the acoustic Dead introduced? As the Grateful Dead, or as Bobby Ace And The Cards Off The Bottom? Still, as more information surfaces, perhaps more old memories will be rebooted back into service, and the mysteries will continue to unravel.


          1. Glorious. Thank you, Hawk and Corry!

            I will probably leave a bunch of little comments. Here's one: does any of this lead you to reconsider what might have happened between "Jerry Garcia and Friends" at the Matrix on 5/21/69?

            1. Boy, I had forgot about this. But as my own comments on your post say, I'm pretty sure I have an eyewitness. (To recap: Jerry Garcia and Friends/Sanpaku played Matrix Tues/Wed May 20-21. Sanpaku's road manager told a story about playing in front of Owsley and Garcia and trying to impress them and melting down, thanks to--ahem--Mr. Owsley). Assuming that to be Tuesday May 20. Garcia and Dawson could have had a Menlo Park Hofbrau gig on Wednesday (May 21) and Garcia still could have made the Wednesday Matrix.

              Will update the post though--good call

          2. Didn't Peter Grant also play some banjo on Slewfoot on 6/27/69?

          3. This used to be Hooterollin' all the time, now it's New Riders all the time!
            Great to see all the new show info available.

            I'm curious, what was John Cohen's exact quote about Aug 14 at the Family Dog? (Or Aug 13 too, if he mentioned it.)
            I looked at Ray Allen's book "Gone to the Country: the New Lost City Ramblers" which has some details about that week. He has a different chronology of events than you do.
            From p.192: "In mid-August 1969 [the Ramblers] started a three-week West Coast tour. Coincidentally, their opening shows were at the Family Dog... The Ramblers had been invited to play at the Family Dog by...Chet Helms, who had first heard them perform in Austin in 1963. The gig was his way of thanking the group, he later confided in John, for turning him on to old-time music. That weekend [Aug 15-17] they would share the stage with Taj Mahal, Mike Bloomfield, and the bluegrass band Southern Comfort.
            "The Ramblers arrived a day early and decided to check out the Family Dog's Thursday evening show [Aug 14], which featured...the Grateful Dead (who the next day would fly east to perform at Woodstock)... At the time the Ramblers were not aware that...Jerry Garcia had seen them play in Palo Alto in 1960, probably the 18-year-old's first brush with live old-time music. His wife, Sara Katz, later told John that Garcia and his friends listened to early Ramblers Folkways LPs around the time he was learning banjo and beginning to play folk and bluegrass music...
            "If the Ramblers felt slightly out of place the following night [Aug 15], bathed in a psychedelic light show and surrounded by a crowd of stoned, tie-dyed longhairs, they did not let on. [There's a paragraph describing their set.]
            "Three nights later [Aug 19] the Ramblers returned to the Family Dog to play a benefit square dance a 'Hoe-Down...SF Hayride' with an admission of '98 Cents or Best Offer, Girls with Box Lunches Free.'"
            Cohen was dosed that night before he played, and described the experience at length - he found it quite interesting, but the other Ramblers were horrified.

            1. The handbill for the square dance, quoted here, is clearly dated Aug 13, so I think the author misplaced it after the Ramblers' Family Dog weekend.

              There was some confusion over the date since the newspapers are a little scrambled on this.
              From the 8/21/69 SF Good Times, "Off & On":
              "From the common meeting at the Dog, this plan. The Dog will be open for as much time as possible. Last night (Wednesday) was a 'Square Dance Class' with the New Lost City Ramblers. Thursday night is to be an Afro-Latin night [with various bands]... Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be open jam for all the people who came for Wild West [with more bands]... Sunday evening Doug McKechnie will be there with the Moog. And the show continues into next week: Steve Gaskin on Monday. Light Show Jam Tuesday [Aug 26] with historic tapes of live performances..."
              From that, you'd think the square dance was Wed Aug 20.

              From the 8/22/69 Berkeley Tribe, "Uncommon Common":
              "It was Tuesday afternoon at the Family Dog...a meeting of the Common... Last Tuesday night, the Common put on a good ol' hoedown [with the Ramblers & the New Riders]... The week before, Fuzzy Dice Productions staged a sock hop [Aug 7]... Next Tuesday night, Howard Wolfe will be playing tapes of [classic SF shows, Aug 26]."
              From that, you'd think the square dance was Tues Aug 12.

              Anyway, I accept Aug 13 as the right date - if the handbill is authentic, it states "Square Dance Tonight! Aug. 13" which is same-day advertising.
              It's funny and fitting that on the day Garcia was so thrilled to be playing with the Ramblers, John Cohen was tripping and barely able to focus!

              All the activity at the Family Dog also puts the Aug 28 show into perspective...the initial plan for the month seems to have been something of a free-for-all with various open jams and any number of bands. Aug 28 was another Thursday jam featuring the Dead (or most of them). We're fortunate to have the tape, but its uniqueness has misled us into thinking it was a solitary event. If the Dead (or some configuration of them) were also playing there on Aug 14, or the still-mysterious Sep 7, then there's no telling how many other days some of them might have showed up at the Family Dog to jam with other musicians.

            2. Oh, and not to go on too long about the Ramblers, but the biography I quoted is very well-researched, with the Family Dog events reconstructed not only from an interview with John Cohen, but even a tape of their Aug 16 show!

              The author may have accidentally put the Ramblers' Family Dog square-dance on the wrong date, but I wonder.
              - he says the dance was "three nights later" after their weekend shows, which would put it around Aug 20.
              - the 8/21 Good Times wrote, "Last night (Wednesday) was a 'Square Dance Class' with the New Lost City Ramblers." Meaning Aug 20.

              This could just be error upon error, but I can't help but consider that there may have been square dances on both Aug 13 and Aug 20, the Ramblers playing at both.
              I wouldn't be surprised to find a "lost" event like this at the Family Dog that month, considering that two or three Dead-related shows in those weeks have no surviving ads or handbills at all. With Chet Helms reportedly a Ramblers fan and the first square dance apparently a success, a repeat the next week wouldn't be a difficult business decision.
              But I'm just speculating!

              Another possibility is that the Tribe's report of the "Tuesday night" hoedown actually was August 19. The handbill for August 13 doesn't say who's playing, and we know for certain the New Riders played there on the 19th. In this case, there are still two square dances, but the Ramblers & New Riders only played the second one.
              It's hard to settle for sure, with the 13th, 19th, and 20th all being viable square-dance dates, depending how you want to parse the newspaper dating. At least one of our sources gives us the wrong day - but which?

          4. Nice work here. Peter Grant (banjo) and Marmaduke (guitar, vocals) joined the Grateful Dead for "Mama Tried" and "Me & My Uncle" on 6/28/1969 at Santa Rosa. Bobby introduced them as "Good boys." Grant returns on pedal steel for "High Time." -- Hawk, OSF

          5. An attendee reports that the New Riders played Bullfrog 2 on Friday 1969-08-22 and the Dead on Saturday 1969-08-23.

            Terry Smith "I went to the Bullfrog festival when I was 15 years old. I don't remember ever seeing Taj Mahal. Friday night, the NRPS played on a very dark flat bed trailer. There was only one or two light bulbs for lighting. The next night the Dead played on two flat bed trailers.They started very late and heated up the cold night air. The next morning, they were gone. I walked through they're campground and found an ounce of weed and a sword."

            From an OSF 2020-04-13 comment

            1. RunOn, thanks so much for nailing this down. Perhaps the Portland Woman story has a ring of truth after all

            2. Speaking of rings of truth in lyrics (but digressing on a great big tangent), do you think Pigpen's talking blues stories of his exploits with "Michael" and riding freights to Boston have any basis in actuality or were they just fantasy?

            3. It figures that in the festival chaos, the New Riders could slip in during some unscheduled time. All of them would have been heading down from Seattle, so Aug 22 is easily feasible.

              As far as Pigpen, did he rob a gas station in LA and flee under a hail of bullets? I have my doubts.

          6. There are some new (I think) quotes from Matthews in the current "Uncut Ultimate Music Guide - Grateful Dead" in which he talks about joining the NRPS on p 29.

            "Jerry wanted to take on a new instrument, the pedal steel. New Riders Of The Purple Sage was an old friend of mine, John Dawson - Marmaduke - who had gone to the Peninsula School as I did.
            Marmaduke started playing coffee houses, and very soon Jerry started showing up with his pedal steel to get chops. Pedal steel was a sign that something was changing in the Dead's music. He started playing with John before there was crossover. John let him sit in, and that went on until people started getting the idea that the "and friend" would be Jerry on pedal steel.
            One day Jerry and I were at Pacific High: we had just finished the 16-track mixes of Aoxomoxoa. Jerry was packing up and I asked, "How's the pedal steel stuff with John going?" And he said "It's doing great - in fact you're the bass player!" So I was the first bass player of the NRPS from May to September 1969.
            That was a great blessing to me, because being involved in all these different aspects after years watching and listening, I got to play."

          7. I came across a random comment on youtube from a George Sember, saying:
            "Back in the late 60s/early 70s Bob Weir would drop in to the Inn of the Beginning in Cotati, CA on Wednesday nights and play and sing with the New Riders of the Purple Sage with Jerry Garcia on pedal steel guitar. I never missed a Wednesday night."

            Hmm. Is it possible?

          8. We don't list a single Wednesday NRPS gig at the Inn, but they could well have happened. The archive I was able to study really only started in '71 IIRC.

            1. The Bay Area was full of these stories. Typically, they had a grain of truth that was exaggerated. So I'm inclined to believe there was a Wed NRPS gig once or twice at The Inn, and Weir showed up, but not "every Wednesday."

              There was a long-ago article about the Inn that said the New Riders played "every Tuesday night."

          9. The UCB Daily Californian also has a, day of, listing for the January 19 1970 concert. Hosted by the "center for educational change" as a benefit. N.R.P.S. and Cleanliness Godliness Skiffle Band. With a 1$ ! donation requested.
            Page 5

            1. Thanks for the link. I have been aware of this gig, but have never gotten a confirmation. Very interesting that it was listed "same day" in the Daily Cal. Did Phil Lesh play bass? The Riders had no other known choices at the time

            2. Found a short article 3 days earlier. A few more details. For what it's worth it lists Phil Lesh as a band member.
              page 11