Friday, July 24, 2009

Psychobit: John Dawson

John "Marmaduke" Dawson has died.

Born in Michigan, Dawson's lucky break was joining Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. This loose ensemble also found jugband space for Jerry Garcia, with whom Dawson would form The New Riders Of The Purple Sage. The presence of Garcia ensured that the band got work and found an audience supporting Jerry's more famous concern - although it wasn't until Garcia was replaced by Buddy Cage that The New Riders took on a life away from the Grateful Dead.

Dawson guested on Dead albums Aoxomoxoa, Workingman's Dead, and American Beauty, but it was the New Riders into which he threw his energy, touring with the band through a number of line-up changes until they eventually called it a day in 1997. Dawson wasn't a regular member of the revival of the band in 2007, but showed his support by turning up for the occasional guest slot.

John Dawson was 64; he died from stomach cancer.