Monday, February 1, 2010

Sid Griffin - Jerusalem Road (Little Victories,1997)

Sid Griffin is that rare artist who has distinguished himself in a number of contexts and on two continents. While best known as the leader the Long Ryders, as a musician, songwriter, producer, author, and archivist, Griffin has become a pivotal member of the roots rock movement, both in the United States and the United Kingdom.By 1981, Griffin had defected to form a new group, the Long Ryders. One of Griffin's pals, Steve Wynn, stepped in to play guitar, but he soon left to form his own (much noisier) band, Dream Syndicate; however, Wynn and Griffin stayed in touch, and the Long Ryders and Dream Syndicate (along with Green on Red and Rain Parade) became known as the key members of a scene dubbed "the Paisley Underground," owing to their shared allegiance to the sounds and musical integrity of the mid- to late '60s, though the influence manifested itself in very different ways within each group. (Wynn later recruited Griffin and two other Long Ryders to backup himself and Dan Stuart for the Danny & Dusty album The Lost Weekend.)
Sid Griffin's first solo album is a solo album in every sense of the term -- it's just him with his acoustic guitar. More folk-oriented than his work with either the Long Ryders or the Coal Porters, Little Victories is an intimate album, and while some of the songs are a little stilted or sentimental, the bulk of the record -- including "The Man Who Invented the Blues" and the previously unrecorded Phil Ochs song "Sailors and Soldiers" -- is quite affecting.

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