The album was released to varying reviews. A particularly scathing review by Pitchfork claimed that the album was "...flat and dead. It's as if Primal Scream have run completely out of ideas and so they've reverted to the detestable fallbacks of honking harmonicas and bar-band choogles, acting like college freshmen who just discovered blues." While The Guardian said "...Primal Scream are the kind of band that would probably snap there's no such thing as a guilty pleasure, only good music and bad music. But their eighth album undermines that claim. On the one hand, it is conservatism dressed up as rebellion, derivative, self-parodic and very, very, stupid. On the other, it boasts an energy and a shamelessness that demands you abandon your vast array of reservations. No mean feat."
A two-CD edition of Riot City Blues was released as part of a deluxe series consisting of their fourth through eighth albums. The first disc includes original album with six bonus tracks; the second includes an additional seven B-sides and remixes, including "Stone My Soul" and "Carry Me Home", previously released on the Dixie-Narco EP in 1992.