The Rides: Can't Get Enough (2013)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Originally the result of a creative spark generated between guitarist/vocalist/composer Stephen Stills and keyboardist/vocalist/composer Barry Goldberg, who already shared some history as collaborators on the famous Super Session album (Columbia, 1968) the dynamic solidified dramatically with the introduction of guitarist/vocalist/composer Kenny Wayne Shepherd into the mix. Yet even with this ostensible surfeit of talent, the triumvirate-like the so-named collaboration of Dr. John, John Hammond Jr. and Michael Bloomfield-ends up undermining their intent by alternately trying too hard or second-guessing themselves.
Like much of the album, faultlessly played and produced, covers of Muddy Waters and Elmore James might better have been strictly relegated to their live shows. But because there's an abandon in "Honey Bee" "Talk to Me Baby," The Rides' own similarly styled original opener, "Roadhouse" almost sounds redundant, Likewise, the title song, basically a twelve-bar tune itself, would suffice in stating just how much of a debt Stills, Goldberg and Shepherd owe to the blues as a foundation of their individual styles; thus, the sum effect of "Can't Get Enough" and "Only Teardrops Fall" approaches overkill because the band sounds so self-conscious.
Even the crack rhythm section of drummer Chris "Whipper" Laytononce of Stevie Ray Vaughan's Double Trouble, and bassist Kevin McCormick can't generate sparks there. Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World," on the other hand, better exhibits The Rides' instrumental versatility and, unlike the non sequitur that is The Stooges' "Search and Destroy"-reportedly the suggestion of co- producer Jerry Harrison (ex-Talking Heads)-Stills' homage to his once and future partner gives a topical flavor to the album extended further by the exhumation of "Word Game" from Stills' second solo album.
In even more marked contrast to its rootsy surroundings, "Don't Want Lies," in its acoustic electric textures and emotionally stark lyrics, is comparable to the author's best contributions to the Buffalo Springfield and the CSNY axis. But rather than impart continuity to this album, this non-blues oriented track only further points up the fact Can't Get Enough is the work of a band whose whole remains decidedly less than the sum of its parts. Perhaps if Stephen Stills assumed a role as more than just titular leader of the group, The Rides would more effectively meet the challenge of forging a collective identity based on his talents as they complement those of Goldberg and Shepherd.
Track Listing: Roadhouse; That’s a Pretty Good Love; Don’t Want Lies; Search and
Destroy; Can’t Get
Enough; Honey Bee; Rockin’ the Free World; Talk to Me Baby; Only
Teardrops Fall; Word
Personnel: Stephen Stills: vocals, guitar; Kenny Wayne Shephaer: vocals; guitar;
keyboards; Kevin McCormick: bass; Chris Layton: drums; Luis Conte:
Chavonne Stewart: background vocals; Alethea Mills: background vocals.
Record Label: 429 Records