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VINE VOICEon 3 October 2009
Not an album that hit me between the eyes when I first heard it, 'Rides Again' nevertheless has an intriguing quality that made me want to listen again. There is so much going on here that you'd think the band would have needed a lot more than 35 minutes to do it in. 'Funk 49' is a pleasing rock opener, the funk being at its edges rather than wholehearted. 'Assheton Park' relies a lot on an emphatic rhythm section against Joe Walsh's clipped guitar. This is an unusual but successful instrumental. 'Woman' is a good, straightforward rocker and 'The Bomber' features more inspired meandering in three parts. The 'Bolero' in the middle is an odd choice but the last part is superb. 'Tend My Garden' features some more hard rock which made me wonder whether Boston's Tom Scholz might have heard it before writing his big hit 'More Than A Feeling'. The remaining tracks are more acoustic in essence, with some fine pedal steel on 'There I Go Again' by Poco's Rusty Young and 'Ashes The Rain And I' providing a haunting, orchestra-drenched conclusion. Although they're a rock trio, this is not like Cream. There's a lot more subtlety. A rewarding album.
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on 26 December 2005
This album is a must for any Walsh fan, let alone James Gang fan. The remastering is amazing, especially as the original version of The Bomber is back-gotta love Bolero.
As a half electric and half acoustic album this really does show the best of the James Gang. As producer Bill Szymczyk says "Made Loud To Be Played Loud" so go on crank it up and take a listen to a wonderful album.
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on 1 November 2009
Phil Murray says:
"Rides Again" has lived in my head since I first heard it in '70 or '71. It's old but fresh still.
While being a raunchy band typical of the epoque (the raw power of Funk '49 and Woman) The James Gang show touches of quality.
We hear the influence of Townsend and Page through Walsh's rhythmic virtuosity.
This album charts the progression through the "Bomber" medley to the more melodic "down-home" side of the band which continued when Walsh formed his own band tailored to his mellower, more sophisticated style which brought him so much later success.
As this is nearly forty years old, I suppose we can call it nostalgia - great nostalgia!
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Dull as dishwater cover art or not - I've loved this frigging album for over 40 years now - and this gorgeous Japanese reissue has only brought that passion to a boil yet again. I wouldn't mind if it was anything new (it isn't). It's simply the remaster done by TED JENSEN in the States in 2000 slapped onto a new format and buffed up with repro artwork and an audiophile price tag - but I can't help myself. This dinky looking SHM-CD sits on my bulging shelf at home (I'm glad something's bulging in this house) along with the other Joe Walsh solo albums that followed his departure from THE JAMES GANG (also on SHM-CD). And I love them all to bits. I've always thought The James Gang were a bit special and I wouldn't be alone in this. Here are the bomber Medleys, Asshton Park Women and Funks that number 49...

Released 22 April 2009 in Japan-Only -"Rides Again" by JAMES GANG on Geffen/Universal UICY-94059 (Barcode 4988005555083) breaks down as follows (35:13minutes):

1. Funk No. 49
2. Asshtonpark
3. Woman
4. The Bomber (a) Closet Queen (b) Bolero (c) Cast Your Fate To The Wind
5. Tend My Garden [Side 2]
6. Garden Gate
7. There I Go Again
8. Thanks
9. Ashes, The Rain And I
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album "Rides Again" - released July 1970 in the USA on ABC Records S-711 and October 1970 in the UK on Probe Records SPBA 6253. Both countries sported a gatefold sleeve - this 5" repro artwork facsimiles the first pressing of the American vinyl LP with the colour painting of the band on the inner gatefold (and the "Bolero" credit in "The Bomber"). There's a 20-page booklet that has lyrics, some text in Japanese and little else. This is pretty much par for the course for these Japanese releases.

JOE WALSH - Guitars, Keyboards and Lead Vocals
DALE "BUGSLEY" PETERS - Bass and 6-String Guitar on "Ashes, Rain And I"
JIM FOX - Drums and Percussion
All tracks on the album are written by Joe Walsh except "Funk No. 49" which is a co-write between Walsh, Fox and Peters, "Closet Queen" within "The Bomber" is also a band co-write - while the final track "Ashes, The Rain And I" is a Joe Walsh/Dale Peters composition.

The SHM-CD format (Super High Materials) does not require a specific machine to play them on - they're simply a better form of disc created by JVC in 2008 to improve on the original CD format (unchanged since it was first put out 30 years ago). The general idea is that the sound on the SHM-CD is more defined and to my ears they do seem to extract more nuances from the transfer.

Original produced by BILL SZYMCZYK - the album's sound was supposed to be loud and in your face (as per the liner notes) - and it is on monsters like the stunning "Funk No. 49" and "The Bomber". But I've always found it to be so sweetly delicate too on softer tracks like "There I Go Again" (Pedal Steel played by RUSTY YOUNG of POCO) and the gorgeous "Tend My Garden". Speaking of "The Bomber" - fans will know that after initial pressings of the album the 3-part song was reduced down to 2-parts on subsequent pressings - losing the centre "Bolero" piece. So "The Bomber" went from 7:05 minutes to roughly 5:40 minutes. As this disc apes the American 2000 remaster - what you get is pressing No. 1 with the full 7:05 minute version. It's a shame someone didn't take the time to add on the 2-part edit as a bonus track - but if you want that version it's on the 1998 Repertoire 2CD set "The Best Of" on Repertoire REP 4671-WR (Barcode 4009910467121). Back to the three-part version we have - Walsh cleverly mixes in Ravel's classical "Bolero" and Vincent Guaraldi's jazz piece "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" into his own rock song so you get a seven-minute guitar pyrotechnics fest that ends Side One of the LP.

Side 2 is perfect to me - the near six-minute "Tend My Garden" segues into the two-minute bluesy acoustic ditty that is "Garden Gate" - gorgeous playing and it sounds wonderful on this CD. "Thanks" is lovely too but the album's undeniable second masterpiece is the finisher "Ashes, The Rain And I" - an acoustic song laden with fabulous string arrangements by JACK NITZSCHE. It sends me every time I hear it and I've ended many's a 70's FEST CD compilation with its melodic greatness.

OK - you could argue that it's simpler to buy the 2000 CD for less than a fiver and be done with it - and if you want the cheaper option (still with great sound) - then that's the way to go. But as a fan - if I think I can get a few more nanoseconds of sonic greatness out of this sucker - then I'm gonna be the financial sucker and buy that dinky Japanese repro with its new-fangled format thingy. I have both versions - but I must confess that I play the SHM every time because of that extra detail and warmth.

The James Gang would enlist ace guitarists Dominic Troiano and Tommy Bolin for their next lot of LPs and start another chapter. But this - "Yer Album" and "Thirds" (all with Walsh) have always tickled my funny bone. Fantastic stuff and worth the few extra quid...
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on 19 March 2011
This Album was reccommended to me as better than "Thirds" which everyone was raving about at the time and was playing at the impromtu gathering at my Date's home when she asked me in for coffee. But it's not just the associative memmorabilia that the album evokes, it's the masterful guitar playing and tightness of the band's ensemble performance especially Wizard Walsh's lead work. Side One was a whole segue on a par with "Sgt. Pepper" or probably more like Side-One of "Abbey Road". My favourite track was and still is "Thanks" for it's seemingly bleak yet optimistic resolution of the poetry and the child-like, nursery-ryme simplicity of the opening and repetitive chord rhythm. There are no weak tracks on the album although they are more distinct from each other, less pure-rock, possibly even veering towards 'Middle-of-the-Road'-ishness on side-two but nothing that would disappoint a Beatles or early Rolling Stones connoiseur. Yes I'm reviewing the CD which sounds just as good now as on the original Vinyl through my then 1970's state of the art Bang & Olafsen Technology. I'm not a snob, I just preferred to spend my money on Music and decent equipment than anything else, I was a sucker for the Week-end Hippy life-style ( it has to be better than the current Goth-ism or whatever is 'de riguer' with today's teenage or weeny-bopper milleu ). Others have criticised the final track, " Ashes, the Rain, and I " but it's similar to some songs and treatments by the Doobie Brothers, and even reminescent of the Stones version of " As Tears Go By " [ but better ]. If you've an open mind, you should like this album but if you're into "House/Electro-Tec/(C)Rap/ETC." sounds then this isn't probably of interest 2 U.
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on 27 January 2008
Cannot judge the sound quality on the remastered version, but this is a terrific album. Whilst it's a James Gang album, it's also one of Joe Walsh's career highlights. The first side is fabulous, as it rocks through "Funk #49", "Asshton Park", "Woman" and "The Bomber". Side two is more gentle, and acoustic, in style. "Tend My Garden" gives a good indication of where Joe would head, on his "solo" albums. "Garden Gate", "There I Go Again" and "Thanks" keep things moving along very nicely. The album's closer ("The Ashes, The Rain and I") is the one song which doesn't quite work, for me. The style, and arrangement, are out of kilter with the other tracks on the album. Nevertheless, a terrific example of late sixties/early seventies US rock.
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on 10 October 2013
I bought this as a vinyl album when it fiorst came out having listening to "the bomber" about 50 times on a flight from UK to Australia. One of the best rock and roll albumes ever made. Joe Walsh is totally brilliant.
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on 16 September 2008
This is a fabulous album, and only goes to illustrate all the more why along with his other James Gang albums and solo works, what a complete waste of talent the Rock World lost when Joe Walsh joined The Eagles.
As fellow reviewer's point out, this is a 50 / 50 electric / acoustic album, which again only goes further in highlighting his talent so early on in his career. 'Funk #49' is a Classic he played when he appeared at Eric Clapton's 'Crossroads Festival,' and was instantly recognised by the audience with a huge cheer.
This whole album is an absolute belter, but the slide guitar in 'Cast Your Fate To The Wind' is amazing, and could go on forever.
As a solo artiste Joe wrote another Classic with 'Rocky Mountain Way,' with the fabulous 'Turn To Stone' and 'Walk Away' as neck-and-neck runner's up. Indeed, talent wasted with The Eagles, any and all of his James Gang and solo albums will be well placed in your collection.
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on 15 April 2015
There was a resurgence of The James Gang in the early nineties - which is where I first heard them.

The big hit, Me The Wind and I led the way in bringing them recognition from another generation, but it is the mellow vibes which predominate on the albums.

Good vocals, intricate playing and melodic basslines make The James Gang a good band.
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on 26 October 2014
An album (and a band) unjustly forgotten. Crunching, funky rock n roll. Most listeners will recognise Funk 49; but there is a pleasant surprise in Ashes, the Rain and I.
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