The Long Ryders
"State Of Our Reunion Live 2004"
by Johanna J. Bodde


"State Of Our Reunion Live 2004"
(Prima Records)
They invented before the name existed, bringing the 12-string guitars and harmonies from the Westcoast together with the wild energy of punk. Some of their songwriting was excellent, everything else at least very good. And -especially compared to other 80's bands- there WAS definitely musicianship and vocal talent in the group. They were The Long Ryders...

Much to the delight of old fans, after seventeen years apart they reunited only once for a tour of the UK and Spain in the long hot Summer of 2004. The four old friends: STEPHEN MCCARTHY, after The Long Ryders he played with Gutterball, Danny & Dusty and became a member of The Jayhawks. SID GRIFFIN, now plays acoustic bluegrass with The Coal Porters but is also an author, his latest book is "Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, The Band & the Basement Tapes". TOM STEVENS, proud member of Danny & Dusty whose most recent solo album is the acclaimed title "Home". GREG SOWDERS, the band's biggest success story, Greg is now a vice-president at Warner-Chappell, the well-known song publishing company.

The CD is recorded live in London, Glasgow, Bristol and Nottingham. And it's a typical live-album, bursting with energy, bubbling with enthusiasm, tons of fun!! Yes, there are also some notes going nowhere, we hear a badly timed line, a too much stressed vocal, but who cares? For a perfect version we still have the old LP's after all. This is about the magic moments...

The album kicks off with "So You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star?", written by Chris Hillman and Roger McGuinn. There is a horn section: trumpet, trombone and saxophone. Stephen McCarthy's dark country song "Lights Of Downtown" is a favorite of mine. Sid Griffin plays harmonica on "A Stitch In Time". A very energetic "Prairie Fire" and the powerful rocker "Wreck Of The 809", I love those drums and guitars! There are hilarious introductions of the musicians and an occasional funny story inbetween. Classic "Ivory Tower" features the horn section again, "Capturing The Flag" with Byrds-guitar riffs is just as convincing as when it was composed. "I Had A Dream" is obviously a crowd pleaser. My two all-time Long Ryders favorites "Final Wild Son" and "(Sweet) Mental Revenge" (the Mel Tillis cover) are followed by a horns adorned "State Of Our Union" and an always catchy "Looking For Lewis And Clark", the audience going a little wild after the harmonica solo. "Louisville" is the (great!) new song here, Louisville is Sid's hometown, what else can you ask for? And then, after almost seventy minutes of great music & fun, the final track is "10-5-60", the last song they ever played back in 1987!

The info sheet winks: "This CD will one day be filed next to "Get Your Ya-Ya's Out", "Live At The Apollo" and "Kick Out The Jams" in your collection..." And that's only the historic value for old & newer fans. (I wish I could have been there!!) But here's more: if you need some powerful feel good music on a depressing rainy day or if you need some energy to fulfill a boring task or even if you need some fire to tell any annoying person the long overdue truth... Play this CD first and play it loud!!

Written by Johanna J. Bodde, January 2008.