Category: The Long Ryders

The Long Ryders – Two Fisted Tales

ARTIST: The Long Ryders  220px-Two-FistedTales1987

TITLE: Two Fisted Tales



SINGLES: Gunslinger Man, I Want You Bad


LINEUP: Sid Griffin, Steven McCarthy, Tom Stevens, Greg Sowders. David Hidalgo, Debbie Peterson, and Vicki Peterson helped out a bit.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second major label album find them trying for a more rock-oriented sound on many tracks, and the record stalled because of record-label issues.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After praise and momentum following their last release, the Long Ryders prepared Two Fisted Tales, with an eye on radio play for the rock cuts, while maintaining a country and folk tinge on others. Ed Stasium was brought on board to produce, and his production really enhances and plays up their rock sound.  220px-Two-FistedTales1996

There are some fine cuts here, such as their cover of NRBQ’s “I Want You Bad”, and Sid Griffin’s “Baby’s in Toyland” and “Spectacular Fall”. “Gunslinger Man” was really aiming for the fences, with a driving riff and a bigger drum sound than they used to have.

Some of the tracks seem a little bit rote, as in they had a formula for tracks they needed to follow, and thus some of the surprise and intrigue weren’t there as they were in earlier releases. It’s unfortunate that Island changed over A&R folks and left them high and drive, because this record, despite its flaws, could have been one that broke them on AOR radio. Alas.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The record company really messed up their touring. They had a chance to tour with U2 but the album was delayed, and then a European tour left the band broke thanks to waning support. They broke up by the end of 1987. 220px-TwoFistedTales18

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. Demos, unreleased cuts, and a 1987 California show are there on the latest re-issue.

 GRADE B+: It’s a fine record, but has a few lesser cuts. It shouldn’t have been the end of the band; they had more in them.

The Long Ryders – State of Our Union

ARTIST: The Long Ryders               state of our union

TITLE: State of Our Union


CHART ACTION: State of Our Union (#66 UK)

SINGLES: Looking for Lewis & Clark (#59 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Oh, probably not unless you were in my house in the 80’s and 90’s

LINEUP: Sid Griffin, Tom Stevens, Stephen McCarthy, Greg Sowders. Snake Davis & His Longhorns play on a track

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Major label debut for the fathers of alt country combines country, blues, and rock in a delightful mix. No one bought it here in the US, though.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: A complaint in the 80’s was that ‘real rock and roll’ was going away, thanks to the New Wave hipsters and hair-metal glamsters. Well, the Long Ryders practically gave the US ‘real’ rock and roll, to crickets.

The Byrds and Gram Parsons figure in heavily here, but so does CCR, and hints of Memphis blues and Buck Owens show up here as well. Rock was always an amalgamation of those elements, and the Long Ryders delivered. The single, “Looking for Lewis & Clark” burned up some college radio airwaves, but they never broke a video in MTV, which doomed them here. The UK was kinda into them for a bit, but they only charted for a week or two.

Not a perfect album (a couple of cuts slow the thing down a bit), but it still should have been a hit for those who wanted rock and roll. Alas, no.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: All four members of the band contributed songs, and three of them sing lead.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Some bonus tracks on the CD.

GRADE: A-: It coulda been an alt-country contender, if it was released 10 years later.


The Long Ryders – Native Sons / 10-5-60

ARTIST: The Long Ryders
TITLE: Native Sons / 10-5-60
YEAR RELEASED: 1984 (10-5-60 really released in 1983, but hey…) R-1992532-1257267512.jpeg
SINGLES: I Had a Dream
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Sadly, no. Sigh. It’s a damn shame too.
LINEUP: Sid Griffin, Stephen McCarthy, Greg Sowders. Des Brewer on 10-5-60. Tom Stevens on Native Sons
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The roots-rock portion of the Paisley Underground (the same scene with the Dream Syndicate, Three O’Clock, Rain Parade and the Bangles) releases their debut electrical records and kicks major ass.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: A little Gram Parsons, a little Roger McGuinn, a little Chris Hillman and a little Buffalo Springfield add up to a great collection of country influenced rock-and-roll. The Long Ryders’ burst out of the gate with their 10-5-60 EP, and then soon after (after a change of bassist) they cranked out the Native Sons album.

The band takes in all of their influences, but makes them sound fresh. You often go, “Hey, I kinda recognize it,” and then the next cut it sounds like a similar band, but not the same band. There’s also a bit of UK punk in the attitude, and some old-school country there for the right coloring. The band plays steel guitar, autoharp, mandolin, along with the requisite Rickenbacker guitars. R-935826-1380850624-1913.jpeg

This collection will please everyone who loved the sound of the more rootsy country-type bands of the 60’s, those who loved the alt-country movement in the 80’s and 90’s, and heck, rock-and-roll fans in general. There’s a lot here for everyone, and yeah, I may be a bit of a fanboy here but I know this is quality and distinction, with just a few cuts not making the grade.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Sid Griffin is a noted music journalist who has written extensively on Bob Dylan and Gram Parsons.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Combining these two releases is ‘deluxe’ but there’s also bonus tracks (live cuts and outtakes) out there too.

GRADE: A-: I can’t give it an A+ because there are a couple cuts on Native Sons that are just a couple steps below the rest. Yet, as I said, this is great rootsy tuneage.