Friday, October 14, 2011

Paisley Underground Series #26: The Long Ryders- Native Sons (1984) / 10-5-60 (1983) MP3 & FLAC

"Well my daddy rode the train to take him to the factory where he slaved eatin' shit
to save my mama and me."

While Uncle Tupelo is commonly credited with spearheading the rise of the Alt-Country movement (referred to in some quarters as "No Depression") that flourished throughout the nineties, its true origins can be traced back to a number of Los Angeles-based cow-punk bands that inhabited the margins of the Paisley Underground scene during the early eighties. Bands such as Tex and The Horseheads, Blood on the Saddle, The Beat Farmers, Rank and File and many others helped pioneer the unique fusion of Country music and Punk that would profoundly inform bands like Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, and Whiskeytown a decade later; however, no cow-punk band was more influential or as talented as The Long Ryders who integrated influences such as Gram Parsons, The Byrds, and Buffalo Springfield into a harder-edged Punk-tinged sound. The seeds for what eventually became The Long Ryders were sown in an uber-obscure and militantly retro Los Angeles garage-psych band called The Unclaimed, which Sid Griffin had joined in 1978 after tiring of the then-nascent Punk scene. However, Griffin soon felt trapped by the band's unwillingness to broaden their mid-sixties aesthetic and consequently left in late 1981 to form the nucleus of what would quickly evolve into The Long Ryders, which early on included Steve Wynn who soon left to form The Dream Syndicate. Fatefully, the band's formation coincided with the beginnings of the Los Angeles-based pysch-rock revival that eventually (and quite reductively) came to be known as the Paisley Underground, a scene that actually featured an eclectic mix of bands that were linked together more through strong friendships and an ethos of mutual support than any sense of a shared musical approach.

The Long Ryders in paisley period gear
Sid Griffin: "There was tremendous sharing in those days. At first everyone was on equal footing and then some bands became rather possessive and a bit more private but the Long Ryders were always looking at things from a socialist perspective. People shared amps, guitars, worked for other bands [...] Steve Wynn put out the early Green on Red album, I worked doing merch for several bands, Matt Piucci of Rain Parade became a kinda guitar roadie if you needed help like that and the Bangles sang back up on a lot of other people's records. Many of the bills of the day were three of these bands all at once. Perhaps Bangles, Dream Syndicate, Long Ryders, something like that." The early days of The Long Ryders featured several lineup changes, but their debut EP, 10-5-60, produced by former Sparks guitarist Earl Mankey, established the band as peerless exponents of the kind of country-infused Jangle-Pop The Byrds were doing in their post-Sweetheart of the Rodeo incarnation. Starting with the stellar Griffin-penned jangle rave-up "Join My Gang," a song that might actually be better than a good percentage of the material many claim it to be emulating, and also featuring the raucous title track, a Garage-Rock holdover from Griffin's days in The Unclaimed, 10-5-60 finds the band on the precipice of greatness.

Following the release of 10-5-60, the band's bass player, Des Brewer, jumped ship to resume his career as a longshoreman, which apparently appealed to him more than touring; as a result, Tom Stevens, who at the time was working at a record store, joined The Long Ryders, thus ushering in the band's classic line-up. Having recently signed to Frontier Records, the band entered the studio with producer Henry Lewy whose résumé included the first two Flying Burrito Brothers LPs, and the result, their first full LP, Native Sons, represents a step away from the occasionally literalistic approach of 10-5-60 and step towards something approximating what Gram Parsons once described as Cosmic American Music. Tom Stevens: "From the start, The Long Ryders were all about hybrids of pure American styles of music, as mostly defined by 60s bands, both rock and country. That all distilled through skilled songwriting into more of the classic style that you hear on Native Sons [....] I think at the time The Long Ryders were at the very height of their songwriting powers, and ability to naturally hybrid cool styles into a single form." From the opening track, "Final Wild Son," a snarling paisley update of Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited," to "Wreck of the 809," a psych-drenched version of R.E.M.-style Jangle-Pop, to the brilliant single, "I Had a Dream," a song that manages to stand shoulder to shoulder with the band's formidable influences (Griffin's vocals can't help but recall Gene Clark) and to lay out a sonic blueprint that would keep Jeff Tweedy busy for the better part of a decade, Native Sons stands as The Long Ryders' masterpiece, as their next album and major-label debut, State of Our Union, despite containing a number of stellar songs, would suffer a bit by comparison due to its overly-polished production. Drummer Greg Sowders: "we wanted to control our own art and it was just a very do-it-yourself attitude that we learned from the punks. But ultimately we thought punk rock in L.A.- I do kind of exclude X because they were very musical- but a lot of them really sucked [....] But that do-it-yourself attitude and the "we want to control everything ourselves and deal directly with the fans"- that's what we learned from the punks. Plus, we liked to play our songs kinda fast."

The Long Ryders with Gene Clark in 1984

Native Sons  
(Prima ~ 2011/1984 ~ Remastered & Expanded)

Native Sons (2011 Remaster)

 1. Final Wild Son  (2:35)
 2. Still Get By  (2:52)
 3. Ivory Tower  (3:03)
 4. Run Dusty Run  (2:32)
 5. (Sweet) Mental Revenge  (2:52)
 6. Fair Game  (2:40)
 7. Tell It to the Judge on Sunday  (3:10)
 8. Wreck of the 809  (3:59)
 9. Too Close to the Light  (4:14)
10. Never Got to Meet the Mom  (2:17)
11. I Had a Dream  (3:53)

 10-5-60  EP (2011 Remaster)

12. Join My Gang  (2:49)
13. You Don't Know What's Right, You Don't Know What's Wrong  (4:04)
14. 10-5-60  (3:12)
15. Born to Believe in You  (3:08)
16. The Trip  (2:40)
17. And She Rides  (4:34)
-Bonus Tracks-
18. Time Keeps Traveling (Studio Version)  (3:38)
19. I Can't Hide  (3:12)
20. Masters of War (First Version)  (4:33)
21. Still Get By (First Version- Radio Tokyo, 1982)  (2:53)
22. 10-5-60 (First Version- Radio Tokyo, 1982)  (3:07)
23. And She Rides (First Version- Radio Tokyo, 1982)  (4:01)
24. Too Close to the Light (Buckskin Mix)  (3:55)


  1. Thank you I am really looking forward to listening to this.

  2. scurfie, you're welcome, and thanks for the email yesterday. It made me feel a little better :)

  3. I wonder if Dusty's running faster in the remastered version than the original. Love them Bad!!!

  4. Thanks so much - excellent post and beginning to the weekend. Kurt

  5. This stuff is great I used to have these and Jason and the Scorchers on record. These guys channel B. Springfield and Byrds really good.

  6. Kurt, you're welcome. This is one of my favorite paisley albums

  7. Still got the vinyl of these two corkers, so many thanks for the extras. Apparently,(according to Shindig magazine - well worth checking out)Sid is selling his 1965 Gibson ES345 for £6000 to help pay for the Coal Porters next album.

  8. Sir Billy Himalaya, you're welcome. Incidentally, Two years ago, I had to sell my 1968 Gibson ES-345TD/SVT to pay my rent for a few months

  9. Thank you very much for this and all your wonderful posts - much appreciated!

    Btw, is anyone else having probs DLing flac pt 2? I've had it abort while underway 4x now.

  10. Jamie, I'll re-up part 2. Try again tomorrow

  11. Jamie, I've re-upped part two :)

  12. Worked like a charm this time - thanks!

  13. Voixautre - Thanks, per usual, for the education. I wasn't familiar with the Long Ryders, and these guys are right up my alley.

    A pleasure as always.

  14. Matt, yes, these guys were a great great band and don't get nearly enough credit

  15. Meegaupload is K.O.


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