Album Reviews

The Rides

Pierced Arrow

Artist:     The Rides

Album:     Pierced Arrow

Label:     Savoy

Release Date:     05/06/2016


Muddy Waters once said, “The blues had a baby and they named it rock and roll.”  Though Stephen Stills called the Rides his “dream blues band,” Muddy’s words come to life on  Pierced Arrow. Not a traditional “blues” album, it dances with the rockin’ blues blasting from a roadhouse. Hearkening back to Super Sessions, the iconic 1968 grouping of Stills, Al Kooper and Michael Bloomfield, Pierced Arrow allows Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg to explore music they might not have created on their own. Only on “Virtual World” do we hear ethereal harmonies that evoke David Crosby and Graham Nash. It becomes obvious that the guys are having a good time – having fun!  While Stills was “the guy from Buffalo Springfield” on Super Sessions, he never uses his fame to turn the Rides into a sidebar for himself.  Instead, three incredible musicians play with and around each other, respecting the totality of their talents.

The first generation of rockers is prominent on “I Need Your Lovin’” almost as if Eddie Cochran or Gene Vincent came back to life with Jerry Lee or Fats Domino playing some barrelhouse boogie. Slow, soulful blues takes over on “By My Side” and “There Was a Place.” On the masterful cover of Willie Dixon’s “My Babe,” Barry Goldberg’s playing gives this classic a rebirth– then the guitars take it home. Kenny’s vocals seem to reach new heights, especially on “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination,” the Gladys Knight classic written by Goldberg and Gerry Goffin. Who knew? One thing is certain, you won’t need to use your imagination with the Rides; open your soul, get ready to dance, and they’ll take you for the ride of your life.

– Gene Knapp

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