Garcia and David Nelson dosed together for the first time.
And Robert Hunter talked them through it,
after consulting the Tibetan Book of the Dead,
and pronounced everything alright.
Then the Wildwood Boys were bent for good, and look what's come of it.
So, a storied crooked line led to last night's NRPS show
here in gusty Jacksonville Beach at the saloon called the Freebird.
It all makes more sense to consider that Nelson was in it,
up to his eyeballs, from the beginning, that he's seen things,
that he and Cage rode the Festival Express with Garcia and Janis and Pig,
and NRPS toured with the Grapeful ones in the cowboy years-
so last night, a slow Wednesday night across the street from the foamy Atlantic,
when Nelson and Cage took the stage, with Michael Falzarano on guitar
(ears still ringing, no doubt, from years with Jorma)
and Ronnie Penque on bass and Johnny Markowski on drums-
both of which drive the old men relentlessly, and with proprietary pride-
one could be forgiven for seeing Nelson and Cage as a weary truckstop angels,
who have a personal relationship with the keys of G and D, and the rest,
who have infused the Bakersfield Hymnal with electrical powerglide.
Nelson's halo is still encircled by a familiar bandanna,
his trusty Telecaster (with a B-string bender and a middle Strat pickup)
plugged into a tiny wicker and wood Mesa Boogie combo,
and Cage is slumped over his pedal steel
holding his mouth funny like a slide player must,
holding his breath as the bar slides across that 400 pounds
of highly amplified string with a twinkle in his eye-
and Nelson told us about the new songs they would play,
how Robert Hunter had called him and said
"It's your turn now, I'm going to send you some words."
So Whatcha Gonna Do, I Don't Know You, Panama Red, Lonesome LA Cowboy,
One Too Many Mornings, Henry, Glendale Train all were delivered with authority,
with spanking clarity and the inimitable CLANG of Fender guitars,
and Dawson would toast Penque's handling of his tunes,
and Cage iced that Workingman's cake with slippery steel dogwhistle sounds.
But the Hunter songs were so new Nelson put on his glasses to read them
from a music stand, and the words rang true in the instantly familiar Hunter style,
and the oldsters in the room drew a bit closer to be warmed by the new fire.
We can only hope that these songs have the chance to get played in,
and grow old and familiar and dog-eared and graceful as this band.
Go here to check their catalogue and tour schedule
because the road goes on forever if you squint right.
(posted by Captain Toast)
i am a big nelson fan, sound like i would have had a good time
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don't be a stranger!
and it was and is, forever!
thx toast, that was nicely written.
and the oldsters in the room drew a bit closer to be warmed by the new fire
Toast-are you the manager? (we met @ the GAMH in SF) Glad NRPS are having a good time-they sounded great out west here.....Gypsy Cowgirl