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The Long Ryders

Psychedelic Country Soul – 2019 (Omnivore)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by The Long Ryders

Nothing on this Long Ryders album tops its title track. It's over six minutes of trippy guitar rock, placed upon an insistent droning groove. It's far more psychedelic, than either country or soul, and it's a thing of aural beauty. However, this final track is but the finest song from a collection of strong songs.

For an album that marks 30 years since this former Southern California band made a studio disc, the group by no means sounds rusty. Another track that ought to draw your immediate attention is the cover of Tom Petty's "Walls," where front man - and Byrds fanatic - Sid Griffin joyfully gets his jangle on. "The Sound," with its driving beat and harmonica coloring, can be interpreted a few ways. On the surface, this "sound" is about something strictly addictively auditory. However, we learn part way through that this "sound" also represents a romantic relationship.

Country music has always played into The Long Ryders' sound. This act was the country-ist of all the Los Angeles Paisley Underground acts back in the '80s. Yet, there is only one especially beautiful country song on this album. "If You Want to See Me Cry" is saturated in lonesome steel guitar and fiddle. The acoustic "Bells of August," although not country, is nevertheless lovingly acoustic. Its lyric leaves it sounding a lot like vintage, '60s Bob Dylan music.

You may be left wishing this album sounded more like its title cut. An all-out psych-out long player would have been good fun. Then again, a weepy set of country tracks, much like "If You Want to See Me Cry," would have likely been equally rewarding. The Long Ryders, though, have always been a sort of hybrid band. It just wouldn't be a Long Ryders album without incorporating these various elements. Therefore, this album is psychedelic, country and soul.