Roadrunner Records - Slipknot's hard-hitting, aggressive metal anthems are getting…
- Posted on Jul 24th 2009 11:45AM by Dan Reilly
Born in Detroit, Dawson eventually moved to San Francisco in the mid-'60s and immersed himself in the burgeoning music scene. A guitar player, he joined Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, a band that included future Grateful Dead members Garcia, Bob Weir and Rod "Pigpen" McKernan. As the Dead went on to become a popular psychedelic rock act, Dawson continued writing country songs and in 1969, he founded the New Riders of the Purple Sage with David Nelson on electric guitars and Garcia on pedal steel.
The original New Riders lineup also included Dead bassist Phil Lesh and drummer Mickey Hart, a musical cross-pollination that allowed the bands to tour together cheaply. During that same time, Dawson appeared as a guest musician on three Dead albums, 'Aoxomoxoa,' 'Workingman's Dead' and 'American Beauty,' and co-wrote the song 'Friend of the Devil' with Garcia and lyricist Robert Hunter.
In the early '70s, Dave Torbert replaced Lesh on bass and Jefferson Airplane drummer Spencer Dryden took over for Hart, and the band released its self-titled debut in 1971. Their greatest success was the 1973 album, 'The Adventures of Panama Red,' which reached No. 55 on the Billboard charts and was certified gold.
Despite a rotating lineup, Dawson continued with the New Riders until retiring in 1997. He moved to Mexico to teach English, and when Nelson and Buddy Cage, the pedal steel player who replaced Garcia in late 1971, revived the group in the past few years, Dawson made the occasional guest appearance. On their official Website, the band released a statement saying "His songs inspired us in so many ways. His energy, passion and commitment to the New Riders brought us all so much joy over the years. We can all be thankful that his music and legacy will live on forever."
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