Certain Songs #963: The Long Ryders – “Looking For Lewis and Clark”

Album: State of Our Union
Year: 1985

One of the greatest roots-rock songs to come out of the mid-1980s, Sid Griffin’s “Looking For Lewis and Clark” is a pulse-pounding manifesto of identity and defiance.

In just a few stanzas he’s able to tie a key moment in U.S. history together with punk rock, the Reagan Adminstration, international espionage and The Kingsmen all the while worrying about whether Gram Parsons is watching him from heaven.

I was standing alone in Mabuhay Gardens
(Looking for Lewis and Clark)
I was thinking about the late Tim Hardin
(Looking for Lewis and Clark)
Well when Tim gets to heaven, hope he told Gram
About the Long Ryders and just who I am
Yeah, no one gave Tim reason to believe
So he just packed his bags to leave
Looking for Lewis and Clark
Looking for Lewis and Clark
He was looking for Lewis and Clark

With Sid Griffin & Stephen McCarthy’s guitars riding the rails laid down by bassist Tom Stevens & drummer Greg Sounders, “Looking For Lewis And Clark” leaps from the speakers like a freight train aimed straight up heaven where Lewis, Clark, Parsons & Hardin were hanging out, talking about the Long Ryders.

And as they approached the gates of heaven, they chanted the password: “Louie, Louie, Louie, Louie, Lou!” following that with a guitar solo that was guaranteed to knock ’em down, just in case the password didn’t work. Which, of course, it did.

I remember my close personal friends in the Town Cryers covering “Looking For Lewis and Clark” with a combination of ferocity and balls, even changing “Long Ryders” to “Town Cryers” with the exact right amount of cocky diffidence.

“Looking For Lewis and Clark”

“Looking For Lewis and Clark” performed live, 1985

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

Comments are closed.