Writing for Allmusic, critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote of the album "With their second album Rides Again, the James Gang came into their own... Walsh's songwriting had improved, giving the band solid support for their stylistic experiments. What ties the two sides of the record together is the strength of the band's musicianship, which burns brightly and powerfully on the hardest rockers, as well as on the sensitive ballads."
On the initial pressings of James Gang Rides Again, a 1:25 electric rendition of Ravel's "Boléro" is interpolated into the song "The Bomber." Ravel's estate threatened suit against both the James Gang and ABC Records for its unauthorized use. As a result, the track was edited, and the "Boléro" section was removed on subsequent pressings of the album until the late 1970s. The edited song's running time on such pressings is 5:39. CD re-issues of Rides Again contain the full version of "The Bomber," with the "Boléro" section restored.
The song "Funk #49" was updated and made available to download on March 1, 2011 for use in the Rock Band 3 music gaming platform in both Basic rhythm, and PRO mode which takes advantage of the use of a real guitar / bass guitar, along with standard MIDI-compatible electronic drum kits / keyboards in addition to up to three-part harmony vocals.