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State of Our Union

State of Our Union is the second studio album by American band the Long Ryders, released in September 1985 by Island Records. It was a success at college and alternative radio stations in the US and reached number 66 on the UK Albums Chart as well as number 2 on the UK Country Chart. The single "Looking for Lewis and Clark" peaked at number 59 on the UK Singles Chart but was never released commercially in the US.

State of Our Union
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 1985
RecordedSummer 1985
StudioChipping Norton Recording Studios, Oxfordshire, England
Genre
Length41:30
LabelIsland
ProducerWill Birch
The Long Ryders chronology
Native Sons
(1984)
State of Our Union
(1985)
Two-Fisted Tales
(1987)
Singles from State of Our Union
  1. "Looking for Lewis and Clark"
    Released: 1985

Record Collector's Jon Harrington described State of Our Union as an album that "combined the country rock of the Flying Burrito Brothers, the jangle of the Byrds and Chuck Berry's rock'n'roll licks with the energy and snarl of the Clash."

Contents

After the success of their debut album Native Sons, released by Los Angeles-based independent record label Frontier Records in 1984, the Long Ryders signed a major label deal with Island Records in early summer 1985. During a European tour in the spring, the band had been approached by several A&R executives trying to convince them to sign with their label. Island Records UK won out, and after the tour, the band returned home to the US to write songs, record demos and look for a producer.

They chose British producer Will Birch, after a few other candidates were eliminated, including Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds. Birch had been the drummer of power pop band the Records, a band the Long Ryders all admired. Most of the songs had been written and demoed by July, and the recording sessions for the album commenced in late summer at Chipping Norton Recording Studios in Oxfordshire, England. "Capturing the Flag", co-written by the band and their producer, was written during final rehearsals for the sessions, when Birch suggested to write one more strong song for the album. "Christmas in New Zealand" was recorded during the album sessions and released as a 7" flexi disc under the pseudonym the Spinning Wig Hats. It was given away at a few selected gigs.

"This album has country elements, but not as pronounced as on Native Sons", said guitarist Sid Griffin in 1985. He described a song like "Looking for Lewis and Clark" as "a chord being beaten into submission" – something that he didn't get from likes of Merle Haggard or the Byrds, he said. He would get it from punk bands like the Ramones, the Clash and Circle Jerks, and the Stooges' Funhouse album. "That's our bag, as it were. That weirdness and energy played on country and western instruments."

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic
Americana UK10/10
Robert ChristgauB+
Classic Rock
Record Collector
Scottish Daily Express
Shindig!
Trouser Pressnegative

Although State of Our Union was popular at college and alternative radio stations in the US and entered both the UK Albums and Country Chart, the album didn't please UK critics as much as the Long Ryders' debut album Native Sons. Many reviews in the British press were negative, as documented on the live recording "Encore from Hell" where singer Sid Griffin reads out reviews of State of Our Union at a gig in London in December 1985. "There are 10 things wrong with this album," begins the Oxford Mail, "and they’re all the songs." The Northern Echo wrote, "If these guys are at the helm of West Coast rock, abandon ship." One reviewer settled for "three-chord horseshit".

Retrospective reviews were generally positive. Jack Leaver, writing for AllMusic, rated the album 4 stars out of 5, saying that the band's previous release "had already made it clear that the Long Ryders knew how to make great rock & roll, but State of Our Union suggested they had a lot else on their minds". He felt that the album's production gave the songs "a poppier sheen that still allowed the band's roots-conscious sound to shine through." Leaver noted that "Lyrically, State of Our Union took a long look at Reagan-era America as the gulf between the rich and the poor began to divide the nation ... exploring issues of economic injustice, and even the less obvious political songs often having a progressive subtext."

Giving it 10 out of 10, Americana UK called the album "one of the finest ever releases in the genre that didn’t yet know it was called Americana", and added that it "sounds as fine today as it did in 1985".

Music and culture fanzine God Is In The TV, called it "the band's strongest overall album".

Trouser Press was less favorable in their assessment of the album, calling it "a big disappointment" and "an occasionally corny collection of weak melodies, inane lyrics and misguided arrangements."

Adapted from the album's liner notes.

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Looking for Lewis and Clark"Sid Griffin3:09
2."Lights of Downtown"Stephen McCarthy3:11
3."WDIA"Griffin, McCarthy3:44
4."Mason-Dixon Line"McCarthy4:23
5."Here Comes That Train Again"McCarthy3:24
6."Years Long Ago"Tom Stevens3:39
7."Good Times Tomorrow, Hard Times Today"Griffin3:58
8."Two Kinds of Love"Griffin4:20
9."You Just Can't Ride the Boxcars Anymore"Stevens3:02
10."Capturing the Flag"Griffin, McCarthy, Stevens, Greg Sowders, Will Birch3:52
11."State of My Union"Griffin, Sowders4:48
1990 CD bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
12."If I Were a Bramble and You Were a Rose"(B-side)Griffin4:49
13."Southside of the Story"(B-side)Griffin, Sowders3:21
14."Child Bride"(B-side)McCarthy, Sowders2:47
15."Christmas in New Zealand"(7" flexi disc)Griffin, McCarthy, Stevens, Sowders3:35

2018 expanded edition

The first disc of the expanded edition contains the fifteen tracks from the 1990 CD version.

Disc two: Demos
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Good Times Tomorrow, Hard Times Today"Griffin
2."Mason-Dixon Line"McCarthy
3."South Side of the Story"Griffin, Sowders
4."State of My Union"Griffin, Sowders
5."Lights of Downtown"McCarthy
6."Child Bride"McCarthy, Sowders
7."Looking for Lewis and Clark"Griffin
8."Two Kinds of Love"Griffin
9."WDIA"Griffin, McCarthy
10."Here Comes That Train Again"McCarthy
11."You Just Can’t Ride the Boxcars Anymore"Stevens
12."Years Long Ago"Stevens
Disc three: Live at the Mean Fiddler
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Tell It to the Judge on Sunday"Griffin
2."Still Get By"McCarthy
3."You Just Can’t Ride the Boxcars Anymore"Stevens
4."Good Times Tomorrow"Griffin
5."Wreck of the 809"McCarthy, Stevens
6."Lights of Downtown"McCarthy
7."Run Dusty Run"Griffin, Sowders
8."Years Long Ago"Stevens
9."Capturing the Flag"Griffin, McCarthy, Stevens, Sowders, Birch
10."I Had a Dream"McCarthy
11."Final Wild Son"Griffin, McCarthy
12."Baby, We All Gotta Go Down"Dan Stuart, Steve Wynn
13."State of My Union"Griffin, Sowders
14."Sweet Mental Revenge"Mel Tillis
15."Looking for Lewis and Clark"Griffin
16."Send Me a Postcard"Stuart, Wynn
17."Highway 61 Revisited"Bob Dylan
18."Encore from Hell"Griffin, McCarthy, Stevens, Sowders
19."10-5-60"Griffin, Barry Shank
  • Recorded live at the Mean Fiddler, Harlesden, London, on the Ronnie Lane Mobile, 8 December 1985; all tracks are previously unreleased, except for "Baby, We All Gotta Go Down" and "Encore from Hell".

Adapted from the album's liner notes.

The Long Ryders
  • Sid Griffin – vocals, guitar, harmonica, autoharp
  • Stephen McCarthy – vocals, guitar, banjo, lap steel guitar
  • Tom Stevens – vocals, electric and acoustic bass
  • Greg Sowders – drums, percussion, keyboards
Additional musicians
Technical
  • Will Birch – producer
  • Neill King – engineer
  • Mike Prior – front cover photography
  • Dorothea Lange – back cover photography
  • Andy Pearce – remastering (2018 reissue)
  • Matt Wortham – remastering (2018 reissue)
  • Tom Stevens – compilation, liner notes (2018 reissue)
  • Stephen Hammonds – product manager (2018 reissue)
  • Philip Lloyd-Smee – design (2018 reissue)
Chart (1985) Peak
position
UK Albums Chart 66
UK Country Chart 2
  1. Hann, Michael (13 September 2016). "Cult heroes: the Long Ryders – the accidental creators of alt-country". theguardian.com. RetrievedJuly 12, 2019.
  2. "The Long Ryders Biography". thelongryders.com. RetrievedJuly 9, 2019.
  3. Deming, Mark. "State of Our Union – AllMusic review". AllMusic. RetrievedJuly 9, 2019.
  4. "State of Our Union - UK Albums Chart". www.officialcharts.com. RetrievedJuly 9, 2019.
  5. "Billboard - Hits of the World". Billboard. January 18, 1986. RetrievedJuly 9, 2019 – via Google Books.
  6. "Looking for Lewis and Clark - UK Singles Chart". www.officialcharts.com. RetrievedJuly 9, 2019.
  7. Mills, Fred (January 2009). "Stomp and Stammer article". sidgriffin.com. RetrievedAugust 18, 2019.
  8. Harrington, Jon. "Record Collector – State of Our Union review". sidgriffin.com. RetrievedAugust 5, 2019.
  9. Deming, Mark. "Long Ryders Biography – AllMusic". AllMusic. RetrievedJuly 12, 2019.
  10. State of Our Union (CD reissue liner notes). The Long Ryders. Cherry Red Records. 2018.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  11. "Long Ryders Discography - Releases as the Spinning Whighats". sidgriffin.com. RetrievedAugust 18, 2019.
  12. Traitor, Ralph (19 October 1985)."The Long Ryders: Happy Trails". Sounds. RetrievedAugust 18, 2019 – via Rock's Backpages.
  13. Aird, Jonathan (January 8, 2019). "State of Our Union - Americana UK Review". americana-uk.com. RetrievedJuly 11, 2019.
  14. Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: The Long Ryders". robertchristgau.com. RetrievedJuly 9, 2019.
  15. Sharp, Johnny. "Classic Rock – State of Our Union review". thelongryders.com. RetrievedAugust 5, 2019.
  16. "Scottish Daily Express – State of Our Union review". thelongryders.com. RetrievedAugust 5, 2019.
  17. Hutton, Henry. "Shindig! – State of Our Union review". thelongryders.com. RetrievedAugust 5, 2019.
  18. Robbins, Ira; Schinder, Scott. "TrouserPress.com :: Long Ryders". TrouserPress.com. RetrievedJuly 12, 2019.
  19. McKay, Alastair (February 9, 2016). "The Long Ryders – Final Wild Songs". uncut.co.uk. RetrievedJuly 11, 2019.
  20. Kid, Pizza (May 7, 2016). "The Long Ryders - Under The Bridge". theafterword.co.uk. RetrievedJuly 11, 2019.
  21. Spithray, Steve (November 29, 2018). "God Is In The TV – State of Our Union Review". godisinthetvzine.co.uk. RetrievedAugust 18, 2019.
  22. State of Our Union on Discogs. Discogs.com. Retrieved July 9, 2019.

State of Our Union
State of Our Union Language Watch Edit State of Our Union is the second studio album by American band the Long Ryders released in September 1985 by Island Records 2 It was a success at college and alternative radio stations in the US 3 and reached number 66 on the UK Albums Chart 4 as well as number 2 on the UK Country Chart 5 The single Looking for Lewis and Clark peaked at number 59 on the UK Singles Chart 6 but was never released commercially in the US 7 State of Our UnionStudio album by The Long RydersReleasedSeptember 1985RecordedSummer 1985StudioChipping Norton Recording Studios Oxfordshire EnglandGenrePaisley Underground 1 garage rock folk rock country rock alternative country 1 Length41 30LabelIslandProducerWill BirchThe Long Ryders chronologyNative Sons 1984 State of Our Union 1985 Two Fisted Tales 1987 Singles from State of Our Union Looking for Lewis and Clark Released 1985 Record Collector s Jon Harrington described State of Our Union as an album that combined the country rock of the Flying Burrito Brothers the jangle of the Byrds and Chuck Berry s rock n roll licks with the energy and snarl of the Clash 8 Contents 1 Background 2 Reception 3 Track listing 3 1 2018 expanded edition 4 Personnel 5 Chart positions 6 ReferencesBackground EditAfter the success of their debut album Native Sons 9 released by Los Angeles based independent record label Frontier Records in 1984 the Long Ryders signed a major label deal with Island Records in early summer 1985 During a European tour in the spring the band had been approached by several A amp R executives trying to convince them to sign with their label Island Records UK won out and after the tour the band returned home to the US to write songs record demos and look for a producer 10 They chose British producer Will Birch after a few other candidates were eliminated including Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds Birch had been the drummer of power pop band the Records a band the Long Ryders all admired Most of the songs had been written and demoed by July and the recording sessions for the album commenced in late summer at Chipping Norton Recording Studios in Oxfordshire England Capturing the Flag co written by the band and their producer was written during final rehearsals for the sessions when Birch suggested to write one more strong song for the album 10 Christmas in New Zealand was recorded during the album sessions and released as a 7 flexi disc under the pseudonym the Spinning Wig Hats It was given away at a few selected gigs 11 This album has country elements but not as pronounced as on Native Sons said guitarist Sid Griffin in 1985 He described a song like Looking for Lewis and Clark as a chord being beaten into submission something that he didn t get from likes of Merle Haggard or the Byrds he said He would get it from punk bands like the Ramones the Clash and Circle Jerks and the Stooges Funhouse album That s our bag as it were That weirdness and energy played on country and western instruments 12 Reception EditProfessional ratingsReview scoresSourceRatingAllMusic 3 Americana UK10 10 13 Robert ChristgauB 14 Classic Rock 15 Record Collector 8 Scottish Daily Express 16 Shindig 17 Trouser Pressnegative 18 Although State of Our Union was popular at college and alternative radio stations in the US 3 and entered both the UK Albums 4 and Country Chart 5 the album didn t please UK critics as much as the Long Ryders debut album Native Sons 9 Many reviews in the British press were negative as documented on the live recording Encore from Hell where singer Sid Griffin reads out reviews of State of Our Union at a gig in London in December 1985 There are 10 things wrong with this album begins the Oxford Mail and they re all the songs The Northern Echo wrote If these guys are at the helm of West Coast rock abandon ship One reviewer settled for three chord horseshit 19 20 Retrospective reviews were generally positive Jack Leaver writing for AllMusic rated the album 4 stars out of 5 saying that the band s previous release had already made it clear that the Long Ryders knew how to make great rock amp roll but State of Our Union suggested they had a lot else on their minds He felt that the album s production gave the songs a poppier sheen that still allowed the band s roots conscious sound to shine through Leaver noted that Lyrically State of Our Union took a long look at Reagan era America as the gulf between the rich and the poor began to divide the nation exploring issues of economic injustice and even the less obvious political songs often having a progressive subtext 3 Giving it 10 out of 10 Americana UK called the album one of the finest ever releases in the genre that didn t yet know it was called Americana and added that it sounds as fine today as it did in 1985 13 Music and culture fanzine God Is In The TV called it the band s strongest overall album 21 Trouser Press was less favorable in their assessment of the album calling it a big disappointment and an occasionally corny collection of weak melodies inane lyrics and misguided arrangements 18 Track listing EditAdapted from the album s liner notes 22 No TitleWriter s Length1 Looking for Lewis and Clark Sid Griffin3 092 Lights of Downtown Stephen McCarthy3 113 WDIA Griffin McCarthy3 444 Mason Dixon Line McCarthy4 235 Here Comes That Train Again McCarthy3 246 Years Long Ago Tom Stevens3 397 Good Times Tomorrow Hard Times Today Griffin3 588 Two Kinds of Love Griffin4 209 You Just Can t Ride the Boxcars Anymore Stevens3 0210 Capturing the Flag Griffin McCarthy Stevens Greg Sowders Will Birch3 5211 State of My Union Griffin Sowders4 481990 CD bonus tracksNo TitleWriter s Length12 If I Were a Bramble and You Were a Rose B side Griffin4 4913 Southside of the Story B side Griffin Sowders3 2114 Child Bride B side McCarthy Sowders2 4715 Christmas in New Zealand 7 flexi disc Griffin McCarthy Stevens Sowders3 352018 expanded edition Edit The first disc of the expanded edition contains the fifteen tracks from the 1990 CD version Disc two DemosNo TitleWriter s Length1 Good Times Tomorrow Hard Times Today Griffin 2 Mason Dixon Line McCarthy 3 South Side of the Story Griffin Sowders 4 State of My Union Griffin Sowders 5 Lights of Downtown McCarthy 6 Child Bride McCarthy Sowders 7 Looking for Lewis and Clark Griffin 8 Two Kinds of Love Griffin 9 WDIA Griffin McCarthy 10 Here Comes That Train Again McCarthy 11 You Just Can t Ride the Boxcars Anymore Stevens 12 Years Long Ago Stevens Tracks 1 11 recorded July 1985 by Rick Novak at Control Center Los Angeles California track 12 recorded June 1985 by Larry Stutzman at Larry s Pro Sound Burbank California Disc three Live at the Mean FiddlerNo TitleWriter s Length1 Tell It to the Judge on Sunday Griffin 2 Still Get By McCarthy 3 You Just Can t Ride the Boxcars Anymore Stevens 4 Good Times Tomorrow Griffin 5 Wreck of the 809 McCarthy Stevens 6 Lights of Downtown McCarthy 7 Run Dusty Run Griffin Sowders 8 Years Long Ago Stevens 9 Capturing the Flag Griffin McCarthy Stevens Sowders Birch 10 I Had a Dream McCarthy 11 Final Wild Son Griffin McCarthy 12 Baby We All Gotta Go Down Dan Stuart Steve Wynn 13 State of My Union Griffin Sowders 14 Sweet Mental Revenge Mel Tillis 15 Looking for Lewis and Clark Griffin 16 Send Me a Postcard Stuart Wynn 17 Highway 61 Revisited Bob Dylan 18 Encore from Hell Griffin McCarthy Stevens Sowders 19 10 5 60 Griffin Barry Shank Recorded live at the Mean Fiddler Harlesden London on the Ronnie Lane Mobile 8 December 1985 all tracks are previously unreleased except for Baby We All Gotta Go Down and Encore from Hell Personnel EditAdapted from the album s liner notes 22 The Long RydersSid Griffin vocals guitar harmonica autoharp Stephen McCarthy vocals guitar banjo lap steel guitar Tom Stevens vocals electric and acoustic bass Greg Sowders drums percussion keyboardsAdditional musiciansSnake Davis and his Longhorns saxophone on WDIA Vic Collins pedal steel guitar on WDIA Alan Dunn accordion on Child Bride Steve Wickham violin on If I Were a Bramble and You Were a Rose Christine Collister vocals on If I Were a Bramble and You Were a Rose TechnicalWill Birch producer Neill King engineer Mike Prior front cover photography Dorothea Lange back cover photography Andy Pearce remastering 2018 reissue Matt Wortham remastering 2018 reissue Tom Stevens compilation liner notes 2018 reissue Stephen Hammonds product manager 2018 reissue Philip Lloyd Smee design 2018 reissue Chart positions EditChart 1985 Peak positionUK Albums Chart 4 66UK Country Chart 5 2References Edit a b Hann Michael 13 September 2016 Cult heroes the Long Ryders the accidental creators of alt country theguardian com Retrieved July 12 2019 The Long Ryders Biography thelongryders com Retrieved July 9 2019 a b c d Deming Mark State of Our Union AllMusic review AllMusic Retrieved July 9 2019 a b c State of Our Union UK Albums Chart www officialcharts com Retrieved July 9 2019 a b c Billboard Hits of the World Billboard January 18 1986 Retrieved July 9 2019 via Google Books Looking for Lewis and Clark UK Singles Chart www officialcharts com Retrieved July 9 2019 Mills Fred January 2009 Stomp and Stammer article sidgriffin com Retrieved August 18 2019 a b Harrington Jon Record Collector State of Our Union review sidgriffin com Retrieved August 5 2019 a b Deming Mark Long Ryders Biography AllMusic AllMusic Retrieved July 12 2019 a b State of Our Union CD reissue liner notes The Long Ryders Cherry Red Records 2018 CS1 maint others in cite AV media notes link Long Ryders Discography Releases as the Spinning Whighats sidgriffin com Retrieved August 18 2019 Traitor Ralph 19 October 1985 The Long Ryders Happy Trails Sounds Retrieved August 18 2019 via Rock s Backpages a b Aird Jonathan January 8 2019 State of Our Union Americana UK Review americana uk com Retrieved July 11 2019 Christgau Robert Robert Christgau CG The Long Ryders robertchristgau com Retrieved July 9 2019 Sharp Johnny Classic Rock State of Our Union review thelongryders com Retrieved August 5 2019 Scottish Daily Express State of Our Union review thelongryders com Retrieved August 5 2019 Hutton Henry Shindig State of Our Union review thelongryders com Retrieved August 5 2019 a b Robbins Ira Schinder Scott TrouserPress com Long Ryders TrouserPress com Retrieved July 12 2019 McKay Alastair February 9 2016 The Long Ryders Final Wild Songs uncut co uk Retrieved July 11 2019 Kid Pizza May 7 2016 The Long Ryders Under The Bridge theafterword co uk Retrieved July 11 2019 Spithray Steve November 29 2018 God Is In The TV State of Our Union Review godisinthetvzine co uk Retrieved August 18 2019 a b State of Our Union on Discogs Discogs com Retrieved July 9 2019 Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title State of Our Union amp oldid 1002147918, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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