Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Long Ryders - Native Sons (Deluxe Reissue)

Influential 80's country rocker's finest moment gets the deluxe treatment.

In the mid-80's, long before alt-country went overground, few people carried the flag for old-school country rock. In the decade that saw the rise of hi-tech, The Long Ryders were one of the few bands that saw worth in the past, playing music that owed more to Gram Parsons, Buffalo Springfield, British 60's Beat, The Byrds and Hank Williams than it did to the stylings of the day. That said there was a definite driving punk edge to their wares, largely due to anglophile band member Sid Griffin. (Sid later became a much loved UK-based music journalist, and leader of his new band The Coal Porters).

“Native Sons” was their debut album and now gets the deluxe reissue treatment with extra tracks and alternative versions. Massively influential to a broad range of younger musicians who were starved of something authentic and not smothered with artifice. This album was very much the roots of the alt-country and Americana that would become cool and omnipresent a decade later.

The songs and production have stood the test of time well, veering from fast upbeat rock and roll, through country laments, to jangly garage pop. Original Byrd Gene Clark even makes an appearance, singing the lead vocal on “Ivory Tower”.

If you're going to buy this album, I'd suggest opting for the CD rather than the download, purely for the illuminating sleeve notes and photos. Proof that there's still life left in the CD format if the packaging is well thought out.