The Last Lonely Eagle

Over the last year,  it has really felt like the Street Parade is an obituaries page as we’ve lost so many great ones lately. Well, the Street Parade is deeply saddened to announce the loss of the original psychedelic cosmic cowboy John “Marmaduke” Dawson. Dawson formed the New Riders of the Purple Sage in 1969 with a pedal steel-playing Jerry Garcia and helped pen many of the Grateful Dead’s songs with Robert Hunter. The original NRPS album with Garcia, Phil Lesh, Dave Nelson and David Torbert and Mickey Hart is an all-time classic. The band toured for many years in the early 70s with the Grateful Dead in incredibly long shows billed as “An Evening with the Grateful Dead.” Steel guitar genius Buddy Cage eventually took over duties from Garcia and the band went on to record a series of nine albums over the next six years, the best of which include Powerglide, Gypsy Cowboy, and The Adventures of Panama Red.

Dawson had been in ill health with stomach cancer for many years and had moved to Mexico where he passed away peacefully yesterday.

It’s difficult to find footage from the old days, but here’s some fairly fuzzy footage of the band in 72 doing “Truck Driving Man.” Just a taste of what the band was about, but as always you can go to the vintage self-titled album.

John “Marmaduke” Dawson 1945-2009
“The Last Lonely Eagle”



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4 Responses to “The Last Lonely Eagle”

  1. al maginnes Says:

    One of my favorites of that era. The first album and “Powerglide” are classics. Oddly enough NRPS is experiencing something of a reurgence these days with a good new album and a new crew headed by David Nelson and, I think, Buddy Cage. But just as is isn’t The Grateful Dead without Garcia, it isn’t NRPS without John Dawson.

  2. GJF Says:

    Hey Al. Yea, the new version of the Riders sounds pretty good. And good to have Buddy Cage back. He looked pretty feeble, but I’ve seen some pretty good footage of John Dawson sitting in on some shows in the last few years, too.

  3. John Toren Says:

    Didn’t NRPS do a song called “Sunset on the Sage” on one of their live albums? If so, why can’t I find it anywhere? JT

  4. GJF Says:

    I’m pretty sure that “Sunset on the Sage” is actually Commander Cody, not NRPS. But I could be mistaken on that.

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