The Rides – Can’t Get Enough—429 Records FTN17940, 48:04 ****:
(Stephen Stills – guitar, vocals; Kenny Wayne Shepherd – guitar, vocals; Barry Goldberg – keyboards; Chris Layton – drums; Kevin McCormick – bass; Chavonne Stewart – background vocals; Alethea Mills – background vocals; Luis Conte – percussion)
Sixties rock stars are relentless. They do not fade away. The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood and others still try to reignite the creative fire. Stephen Stills has been elected to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame twice (Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills & Nash) and continues to record and perform. Recently, he has formed a new band with blues guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd (who has been prominent in his field for over a decade) and Barry Goldberg. Goldberg was a well-known Chicago blues pianist who played with Electric Flag. He was part of the Bob Dylan band that was booed at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Now, they have recorded an album.
Can’t Get Enough is the debut (which implies there are future projects forthcoming) of The Rides. With a combination of original material and covers (evenly split), the dual guitar attack Of Stills and Shepherd is underway, with the help of Goldberg on keyboards. This type of raw material suits these musicians (especially Stills). Most of the tracks were recorded together in the studio with only vocal dubbing. The opening track is an original medium- blues rocker featuring Stills’ vocals. His growling style fits the song, and he and Shepherd rip into some edgy, distorted guitar riffs. Like most of the new material, the compositions are not memorable, but serve the band. Shepherd sings lead on ‘That’s A Pretty Good Love”, (the first cover) and the overall energy feels magnified. The guitar work is punctuated and a “Hit The Road Jack” vamp is dynamic. Goldberg adds some honky-tonk piano licks that work as well.
The selection of covers is compelling, driving the flow of the album. Muddy Waters’ “Honey Bee” is powerful and manages to showcase the “super trio” at its finest. Goldberg steps out in front with barrelhouse piano and organ solos. Both Shepherd and Stills (who thrived in a dual guitar setting with Neil Young) play off each other with chemistry. Shepherd’s closing solo is breathtaking. Drawing on rock material, Stills takes a stab at Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World”. While he has a distinct feel for his former band mate, this version features terrific guitar work, but lacks the freshness of the original. Another unusual choice is Iggy Pop’s “Search And Destroy”. Shepherd infuses rock intensity, but there is a noticeable lack of Iggy And The Stooges anger. But The Rides hit the mark and then some on the Elmore James classic, “Talk To Me Baby”. Capturing the signature Chess sound, there are terrific blues hooks and spirited backup vocals. Goldberg propels the jam with his piano.
Stephen Stills always had a gritty resonance, whether in Buffalo Springfield or Crosby Stills Nash & Young, or on his solo outings. He reworks the acoustic blues number “Word Game” (from Stephen Stills 2) into a raucous jam. He sounds comfortable in this musical context. His gospel roots (and grandiosity) come to life on “Can’t Get Enough Of Loving You”. Again, both Stills and Shepherd deliver passionate, scorching guitar work. Some are comparing The Rides to the 1968 Kooper/Bloomfield/Stills Super Session. Unfortunately, it is not in that rarefied company. It is a promising start for Stills/Shepherd/Goldberg, and should peak interest for the next release.
TrackList: Roadhouse; That’s a Pretty Good love; Don’t Want Lies; Search And Destroy; Can’t Get Enough; Honey Bee; Rockin’ In The Free World; Talk To Me Baby; Only Teardrops Fall; Word Game