New Riders of the Purple Sage: Last Lonely Eagle
"Last Lonely Eagle" comes from the first NRPS album, when the band was practically a Grateful Dead side project, with Jerry Garcia flexing his pedal steel muscles and Mickey Hart playing drums on a few tracks (including this one). It was also around this time that the band played the middle set of many Grateful Dead shows, bookended by acoustic and electric sets from the Dead. So it's no surprise that the album slots in well with the Dead's contemporary albums, Workingman's Dead and American Beauty.
The song's lyrics seem to be about the end of the '60s hippie dream, but in the chorus the eagle metaphor kicks in, tying it nicely into the rising eco-consciousness of the times. It's possible that John Dawson, who wrote all the songs on the album (and also co-wrote the Dead classic "Friend of the Devil"), had the Bald Eagle in mind when he wrote it, but for this post, I'm sharing a photo of a captive Golden Eagle I snapped a few years ago down in Gloucester County, N.J.
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