Sunday, October 17, 2010

Well, when Tim get to heaven hope he told Gram about The Long Ryders..

There's been a long unplanned hiatus on this blog. Lots of stuff has happened, as I mentioned before I got a new job - which actually shouldn't take time away from this blog, but I guess I've been lazy these last few months. Other big news is that I have started writing some for the great When You Awake blog, which is run by Jody Orsborn, a truly fantastic gal. Over there I am the new music editor - but I haven't gotten around to writing as much as I want there either - but I'm going to change these things around now.



So the first new post since late July are dedicated to the great band The Long Ryders. Led by the great Sid Griffin this bunch released some really good albums in the mid-eighties. Highly in debt to bands like Buffalo Springfield and especially The Byrds (with and without Gram Parsons). I haven't really listened that much to them until today when I got three of their records for a bargain price that I just couldn't turn down. You know that feeling when you really feel like you've done a bargain - that's the feeling I have now. These three albums are nothing short of fantastic.

The first one, Native Sons (Frontier Records, 1984), was their album debut and it's a great merging of country-rock and more punk-sensabilities. It is the country-rock/americana who comes most clearly and you can easily hear that they are heavily influenced by Flying Burrito Brothers, Byrds and Buffalo Springfield. The cover art even recreates the planned cover-art for the unreleased Buffalo Springfield album Stampede. A great debut with stand out tunes like their cover of "(Sweet) Mental Revenge" and "Ivory Tower". The latter with the late Byrd Gene Clark on backing vocals. Long Ryders frontman Sid Griffin has later written and outstanding biography about Clark.

The second of the albums I got, The State of Our Union (Island, 1985), kicks of with the big hit "Looking For Lewis and Clark" which has one the best self referential lyrics I've ever heard.

"..I was thinking about the late Tim Hardin
Well, when Tim get to heaven hope he told Gram
About the Long Ryders and just who I am
Yeah, no one gave Tim reason to believe
So he just packed his bags to leave.."

Other standouts on this album for me are the great tunes "Here Comes That Train Again" and "Capturing the Flag". Overall a great album, perhaps a little more pop than the debut - but with better songs and songwriting. An album in the vein of Tom Petty I would say.

That also goes for the third record I got, Two-Fisted Tales (Island, 1987). A really catchy jangly-pop album with country-rock elements. My favourite tune on this one is "I Want You Bad", a song I previously only had heard with Dan Baird and I guess I presumed it was his song. A great pop-rocker that gets you smiling everytime.

The Long Ryders - a truly great discovery for me. Now it's your turn.

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