Now with the break between their split “years long ago” and the reunion concerts, being MUCH longer than the actual “ryde” itself, The Long Ryders’ latest release captures their live action throughout the United Kingdom, finding them as firm in their saddles as ever. Besides being a kind of a companion release to Prima’s Best Of … (in 2004), there’s also no less than 13 songs in common to be found on both CDs, which actually makes a natural live set after an almost 20 years pause I suppose.
After an appropriate opening with the cover of So You Wanna Be A Rock ’n’ Roll Star?, the description of them representing a “shotgun wedding of country and punk” is well displayed through the likes of Lights Of Downtown, You Don’t Know What’s Right, You Don’t Know What’s Wrong, Final Wild Son, (Sweet) Mental Revenge or Louisville.
On the janglier side of the American tradition, they take the early Byrds’ sound towards a bit more adventurous side of folk-rock cca’66, as heard in Capturing The Flag, I Had A Dream or Ivory Tower, which seems to be sharing a bit more than just mutual Byrds-fascination with Tom Petty’s Refugee.
To justify the second half of the above definition even more precisely, there’s quite a few riff-laden garage-punkers as well, such as the infamous Looking For Lewis & Clark, or Gunslinger Man, Prerie Fire and 10-5-60, and there’s just an occasional attempt to get just slightlydelic as well, while still within the same Americana borders, as heard in A Stitch In Time and Years Long Ago.
And in case you’re of the newer generation of “ryders” and having doubts whether you should almost double the recent Best Of … CD content, of the several “new entries”, Wreck Of The 809 is the one that’s worth the price of admission alone, with it’s Kinks-verging-between-their-early-r’n’b-daze-and-the-forthcoming-more-brainy sound.
[Released by Prima 2007]