AC-8648 Back From Rio
Produced by David Cole and Roger McGuinn
Released on January 8, 1991
Find it at GEMM
AC-8648 cover  

R oger McGuinn is back. From Rio (not really). And he brought Tom Petty with him. I guess that’s the premise behind re-launching his solo career after so many years. Back From Rio sounds a lot like Tom Petty, or at least Tom Petty with Don Henley’s brain inside of him. (I don’t know why I’m always taking out people’s brains and putting them in other people’s bodies.) The songs are punchy, polished pop with a noticeable twang, not far removed from the contemporary work of singer/songwriters like Graham Parker and Lindsey Buckingham. The lyrics generally emanate from a failed romance (must be the influence of all those Heartbreakers); the Henley connection occurs in the social correction and anti-materialism found in songs like “Car Phone” and “The Trees Are All Gone.” It’s a very professional affair, affording younger artists (Elvis Costello, Michael Penn) a chance to work with an influential if infrequent artist. McGuinn, never a prolific songwriter, takes help where he can get it: EC is stamped all over “You Bowed Down,” Petty on “King of the Hill.” Combined with McGuinn’s own material (“The Time Has Come,” “Someone To Love”), Back From Rio is remarkably solid. Of course, a lot of people were making music like this: studio pop with ringing guitars and harmonies that could be seen as an alt rock update of The Byrds’ original vision. That McGuinn can lay claim to this legacy puts him ahead of the pack, much as it aided Roy Orbison and The Traveling Wilburys. But the history lesson was lost on most, and despite charting well Back To Rio went back to the cutout bins. If you missed his emergence from the shadows the first time, this effort is worth a second look.

AC-8648 picture sleeve
AC-8648 picture sleeve


  1. SOMEONE TO LOVE    (Roger McGuinn/C. McGuinn)
  2. CAR PHONE    (Roger McGuinn/Mike Campbell)
  3. YOU BOWED DOWN    (Elvis Costello)
  4. SUDDENLY BLUE    (Roger McGuinn/S. Cutler/D. Morgan)
  5. THE TREES ARE ALL GONE    (Roger McGuinn/C. McGuinn)
  6. KING OF THE HILL    (Roger McGuinn/Tom Petty)
  7. WITHOUT YOUR LOVE    (Roger McGuinn/C. McGuinn)
  8. THE TIME HAS COME    (Roger McGuinn/S. Cutler)
  9. YOUR LOVE IS A GOLD MINE    (Roger McGuinn/Dave Stewart)
  10. BACK FROM RIO INTERLUDE    (Roger McGuinn/Tom Petty/Jeff Lynne)
  11. IF WE NEVER MEET AGAIN    (Jules Shear)


ROGER McGUINN -- lead vocal, background vocals, 12-string electric guitar, 12-string acoustic guitar, mixing
GEORGE HAWKINS -- bass guitar
JOHN JORGENSON -- 6-string electric guitar, saxophone, baritone guitar, 6-string lead guitar, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin
STAN LYNCH -- drums, percussion
BENMONT TENCH -- organ, keyboards, Hammond B-3
MICHAEL THOMPSON -- 6-string acoustic guitar, 6-string electric guitar
Mike Campbell -- 6-string electric guitar, slide guitar, baritone guitar
David Cole -- percussion, piano riff, acoustic guitar, MPC-60, engineer, mixing
Elvis Costello -- background vocals (3)
David Crosby -- background vocals
Dan Higgins -- saxophone
Chris Hillman -- background vocals
Michael Penn -- background vocals, 12-string acoustic guitar
Tom Petty -- background vocals, lead vocal
Stan Ridgway -- telephone voice (2)
Kimmy Robertson -- telephone voice (2)
Timothy B. Schmit -- background vocals
J. Steven Soles -- background vocals
Peter Doell -- engineer
Eileen Connelly -- art direction, props
Max Aguilera-Hellweg -- photography
Jimmy, Millie and Randy -- cover concept
Peter Kukla -- grooming
Rick Elden -- props

US January 8, 1991 Arista LP/CD/CS AL/ARCD/AC-8648 lyric sleeve
UK/GER 1991 Arista LP/CD/CS 211/261/411 348 lyric sleeve


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