Ride Away from the World takes Barbara Keith and her family band from the country-rock the Cowboy Junkies have been so successful with to a new wave level on the pounding opening track "I Don't Know Why," and toward the end of the disc with an excellent read of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid." Though the original version with Ozzy Osbourne's cutting voice is in a class by itself, this rendition makes some sense of the Sab signature tune. There are reworkings of some of Keith's famous tunes: an excellent and different "Free the People" -- the minor hit for Delaney & Bonnie also covered by Streisand and Olivia Newton John -- as well as the country classic "The Bramble & the Rose." Sounds change throughout the disc: the gritty axe on "Plain American Girl" turns into folk/electric guitar on the final track, "Face on the Train," which borrows much from Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," covered by Keith on a previous album. An elaborate eight-page booklet contains lots of photographs, the lyrics, multiple websites to check out, and an intriguing, mutated Mother Hubbard or Alice in Wonderland-type painting on the back. John Tibbles, bassist and son of the singer and her husband drummer, plays lead guitar on four tracks, including "Slip and Shackle," a song which borders on heavy metal. Black Sabbath could return the favor and easily cover this, and they actually should! The tone on Tibbles' guitar is a good contrast to what his mom is playing. "Cold Hard Winter" has a nice Rolling Stones "Salt of the Earth"/Beggars Banquet feel, easing up the mood before the hard country-rock of "Pennsylvania Coal Mine." "Born to Howl" is the title of their previous album; it turns into a song on this outing. The Tibbles family is the underground version of the Cowsills or the Partridge Family, music played with lots of heart and composed for the most part by a proven songwriter. Ride Away From the World is unique and interesting because it covers so much territory and does it so well.
AllMusic Review by Joe Viglione