Certain Songs #962: The Long Ryders – “I Had A Dream”

Album: Native Sons
Year: 1984

Like their cousins in Green on Red and The Dream Syndicate, The Long Ryders almost instantly shed their early psychedelic Paisley Underground roots and went in a different direction, playing a more straightforward version of country-but-only-somewhat-country rock.

As co-led by Stephen McCarthy and music scholar Sid Griffin (whose book on The Basement Tapes is highly recommended), The Long Ryders recorded a pair of roots rock albums in the mid-1980s — Native Sons and State of Our Union — that I’ve always kinda underrated.

That said, they each had at least one absolutely killer song, like “I Had a Dream,” which I remember bowling me over not from the radio, but the video, which I remember seeing on Night Flight at some point around the time Native Sons came out.

“I Had a Dream” pretty much encapsulates everything I liked about The Long Ryders — anchored by a jangly, churning 12-string guitar, pounding double-time drums, and a stop-time organ drenched chorus that was both optimistic and melancholy.

I had a dream last night
Everybody’s laughing and everything’s alright
Still some hope in sight
But that was last night

I had a dream last night
Nobody’s crying nobody’s fighting
Still some hope in sight
But that was last night

And then at the end, for the last 90 seconds, it time for a guitar jam. First the riff starts over again, and then both Griffin & McCarthy are playing against other while Greg Sowders tries to knock both of the guitars out of their hands. But he fails, and finally figures the best thing is to just end the song once and for all.

“That was tight” somebody says afterwards, and damn straight it was.

“I Had a Dream”

“I Had a Dream” Official Video (mono sound) (but still pretty great)

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2 Responses to “Certain Songs #962: The Long Ryders – “I Had A Dream””

  1. Tom Stevens says:

    Thanks for the kind words. But please, it’s Sid Griffin, not Griffith.

  2. Jim Connelly says:

    D’oh!! Yes, of course it is. Fixed.

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