The Long Ryders
In the days when rock and roll had pretty much keeled over and country hadn’t yet become cool (again…) somebody forgot to tell Los Angeles’ the Long Ryders. Because for the bulk of the ’80s, Sid Griffin, Stephen McCarthy, Greg Sowders, and Tom Stevens lived hand-to-mouth, Gram Parsons in one ear and the Rolling Stones in the other, trying to preach to the not yet converted. Their jangly Byrds-ish guitar, Chuck Berry chord patterns, and Dylanquese lyrics were years before their time- it’s difficult to imagine Wilco, Son Volt or the entire Alt. Whatever movement without them.
But, as it happens so frequently in popular music, nobody really ever heard them. From 10-5-60 in 1983 to 1987’s Two Fisted Tales, the Ryders released 5 albums and played the world over, ending their career with great reviews, but no money. Griffin has enjoyed some success recently with his Coal Porters, and with the release of this anthology, perhaps some of the long deserved recognition will finally land at their feet. The set features cuts from all the albums, and some previously unreleased gems such as a cover of Mel Tillis’ “(Sweet) Mental Revenge,” the Flamin’ Groovies’ “I Can’t Hide,” and a live version of Neil Young’s “Prisoners of Rock N’ Roll,” which serves as a fine statement of just what made the Long Ryders keep at it, all those years. If you missed them the first time, it’s high time to correct the mistake. From “I’ll Get Out Somehow” to “He’s Got Himself a Young Girl (And He Can’t Keep Up),” the Ryders made timeless rock and roll. Saddle up.
PolyGram Records, 825 Eighth Avenue, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10019