Ride is without doubt one of my favourite Oyster albums with nothing but strong tracks from beginning to end on it. Originally released as an a LP in the UK and Germany (as were most of The Men They Couldn't Hang recordings of this period), it is unusual in that there are no guest musicians 'tall on it -- just John Jones (vocals, melodeon); Ian Telfer (fiddle, alto saxophone, organ); Alan Prosser (guitars, vocals, bones); Russell Lax (drums); and Chopper (bass guitar, electric cello, vocals)! Thus it has a more stripped down sound, a clarity of presentation which I must note sometimes gets lost on their later recordings.
They're songs -- here -- show you how deep the talent is in the Oysters when you look at who wrote each song:
Two songs, 'New York Girls' (Trad. Arr. Oyster Band) and 'Love Vigilantes' (Stephen Morris / Peter Hook / Bernard Sumner / Gillian Gilbert [aka New Order]), reflect their ability to take existing works and make them their own. This is the second tome they recorded 'New York Girls' as it's also Leipzig to Little Rock.
This album has some of their best political music ever as you can see from the opening stanza of 'My Dog (Knows Where The Bones Are Hid):
A folk band they do not sound like on this album, but instead come across as a very smart pop band, think New Order or Spandau Ballet for the sake of what I see here.
John Jones has quite likely the most perfect male singing voice which I've ever heard, period. On some Oyster recordings, his sublime vocals get mixed back just a bit too much in the recording mix, but not here. Every word, every bit of emotion is clearly able to be savoured by the listener. This along with previous two albums they released, Wide Blue Yonder and Step Outside have arguably have the best vocals of all of the recorded output of this band in just sheer quality of what they sound like.
If you haven't heard this yet, you are definitely in for a treat!