Tuesday, August 11, 2009


John “Marmaduke” Dawson died of stomach cancer on July 9, 2009. He was 64.

Dawson was one of the co-founders of the New Riders of the Purple Sage along with the late great Jerry Garcia of Greatful Dead fame.

Dawson was born in Detroit, Michigan and he wandered off to San Francisco. He bumbled into Garcia and the two were in a “jug band.” No drugs there…naaaah.

In 1969, they formed the New Riders of the Purple Sage which would go on to be the opening act for the Grateful Dead – Garcia played for both bands until 1971.

During this same period, Dawson appeared as a guest musician on three Grateful Dead albums — Aoxomoxoa, Workingman's Dead, and American Beauty, and with Garcia and Robert Hunter, he co-wrote "Friend of the Devil.”

in 1997, Dawson retired from the music business, moved to Mexico, and became an English teacher. He occasionally sat in with is former band mates.

While they have an extensive catalog, the “stoner anthem” Panama Red will no doubt play a major role in Dawson’s legacy.

Click on the YouTube video for good audio (and bad video) of the song.

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