Wednesday, 1 June 2016

The Long Ryders Exclusive Paul Slattery Photos from London & Brighton + "Final Wild Songs" New Box-Set

The Long Ryders on Brighton Beach photographed by Paul Slattery
Rock Photographer Paul Slattery fell in love with The Long Ryders debut album over 30 years ago but only got round to seeing the band play live this year. Here, Paul shares some of his excellent photographs and writes about his long awaited meeting with the band in Brighton in May. "I first heard about these guys during the winter of 1984 when a friend of mine played me "Native Sons" their first album which he had picked up in New York. I loved it immediately – it was just my cup of tea – some proper Rock and Roll with a bit of alternative country thrown in. Having been a huge fan of The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Hank Williams and Link Wray it was a real treat for me to find a band that encapsulated all these strands of US rock music. So I was determined to see them and photograph them when they came here the following year. But it just was not to be.

The Long Ryders photographed by Paul Slattery
The Long Ryders Greg Sowders photographed by Paul Slattery
Whenever they were playing a gig I happened to be photographing another band and it just didn’t happen for me. In 1986 I spent a good part of the year taking photographs in China and the Far East and by the time 1987 came round the band had split up. In recent years the band had done the odd reunion, making an album of their live shows "State Of Our Reunion" in 2004, but I still never managed to see them. This year however, things were going to be different. Cherry Red released their superb box set "Final Wild Songs" and the band scheduled a short tour in May this year to promote it. So, thirty years after I had first heard "Native Sons" I finally met the band backstage at The Concorde 2 in Brighton. On a fine sunny evening I managed to cajole them all over to the beach opposite for some photographs following Billy Bragg, Fatboy Slim and Oasis who have all posed on the pebbles for me. Later that evening, in front of an excellent crowd the gig didn’t disappoint either – these guys are master musicians and you would never imagine that they don't play together all the time, they just fitted back seamlessly and poured out all their hits. Well, hits to me anyway!

The Long Ryders Stephen McCarthy, Sid Griffin and Greg Sowders (background) photographed by Paul Slattery
The Long Ryders Tom Stevens photographed by Paul Slattery
The Long Ryders back catalogue is a great one. From "Run Dusty Run"  to "Mason Dixon Line", "Ivory Tower",  "I Had A Dream" and "Final Wild Sons" to name some of my favourites, to their encore of "Still Get By" and "Looking For Lewis And Clarke" where Sid gets the crowd enthusiastically involved in the vocals. So, my thirty year wait was rewarded in real style with a masterclass in Rock and Roll from a truly great band. They really are too good to play so infrequently and they obviously enjoy playing together – they should treat us 'Ryders fans to at least a yearly reunion. How about it?

The Long Ryders Sid Griffin and Tom Stevens (background) photographed by Paul Slattery
Stephen McCarthy and Will Birch photographed by Paul Slattery
Here's a photo of Will Birch and Stephen McCarthy. Will produced the Long Ryders second album "State of Our Union" and has a long Rock history himself as a member of influential Pub Rock band The Kursaal Flyers and later Power Pop heroes The Records. In the 1990s he started writing many articles on the British music scene and, in 2000 he wrote an acclaimed and definitive account of the 1970s Pub Rock scene, "No Sleep Till Canvey Island". He then published a well-reviewed biography of fellow Essex musician Ian Dury "Ian Dury: The Definitive Biography" in January 2010."

- Paul Slattery May 2016

The Long Ryders Stephen McCarthy photographed by Paul Slattery
The excellent Cherry Red Records have just released a superb 4 CD Box Set entitled "Final Wild Songs" which crams together the original albums alongside, demos, singles and live tracks. The track-listing has been compiled by Sid Griffin and Tom Stevens from the original tapes and the entire band has contributed a track-by-track breakdown in the accompanying booklet. This booklet also features a forward by David Fricke and lots of rare photos and memorabilia and the package is completed by a great poster. You can buy the box-set from all good record stores and on-line services or direct from the Cherry Red Records web-site on-line store here.

For more photos of the London show at Under The Bridge please check out the Retro Man Blog Facebook page for access to the photo album and hit "Like" for regular updates and news. Then, in our brand new Retrosonic Podcast Episode 23, you can hear Paul talking about his Long Ryders experience and we pick our favourite track from the "Final Wild Songs" box-set too. You can subscribe to Retrosonic Podcast for free at iTunes or listen/download from our Soundcloud site.

Thanks to Paul Slattery for the great photographs, all photos strictly copyright of Paul Slattery 2016. You can check out news on Sid Griffin and The Coal Porters, as well as The Long Ryders, at his wonderfully comprehensive web-site here.

1 comment:

  1. An yearly reunion would be brilliant. A 'paisley underground era' version of the Fairports' annual Cropredy Festival perhaps? With Green on Red, Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade, Three O'Clock, etc etc. A man can dream can't he?