Not many groups can claim to have created a musical genre but The Long Ryders could stake a claim for inventing Alt-Country, along with Jason And The Scorchers. Their influence can be heard in the sound of The Jayhawks and Uncle Tupelo as well as many others.
I first saw them on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1985 when they performed Looking For Lewis And Clark and Lights Of Downtown, two songs that are still among my favourites. They originally split up in 1987, having released 3 albums, and despite occasional reunions I’ve never had the opportunity to see them.
Now they’ve released a box set, Final Wild Songs, composed of all the material from their three full-length albums, their one EP, various demos and rarities, and a previously unavailable 15-song performance from a Benelux radio appearance in March 1985. A tour to support it includes a show in Leeds so I’m finally going to get to see them.
They start their 20 song setlist with Run Dusty Run and end it 80 minutes later with Looking For Lewis And Clark. The audience, me included, absolutely love it. Alt-Country at it’s best and if they never tour again, which seems likely, then at least I got to see them before they went.