Long Ryders Three Minute Warnings: Live In NYC

Long Ryders Three Minute Warnings: Live In NYC
Sid Griffin is a classic case of feeling he was born too late. Now a respected journalist and Americana documentarian, back at the turn of the ’80s all he wanted was to be in the Byrds, or at least a close facsimile. Of course, that wasn’t the hippest notion at that time, but it hardly deterred Griffin and company from forming the Long Ryders just as America was turning on to punk. With their bowl haircuts and farmer clothes, they were certainly an anomaly, yet they had enough sense to add just enough guts to their ’60s-obsessed sound to find a place alongside other paisley-tinged jangle merchants like R.E.M. and the Dream Syndicate. This album, drawn from a radio simulcast from a gig at The Bottom Line, captures the Ryders toward the end, following the release of 1986’s Two-Fisted Tales. It serves as a nice career overview, with stellar versions of their most well-known songs, like "State Of My Union” and "Looking For Lewis And Clark.” While the band proves to be, as they were then, a suitably rocking unit, the only drawback remains Griffin’s earnestness. He obviously deserves large credit for helping to reignite an interest in American rock, but at times he wades a bit too deep into the mythology, as with "Gunslinger Man” and "You Just Can’t Ride The Boxcars Anymore.” On the other hand, this tendency is offset by a couple of blazing covers, NRBQ’s "I Want You Bad” and Neil Young’s "Prisoners Of Rock ‘N Roll.” All in all, Three Minute Warnings doesn’t shed much new light on the Long Ryders’ legend, but it serves as a reminder that without them, Jason & the Scorchers, Rank & File, and others, alt-country as we know it wouldn’t exist. (Rounder)