Thursday, November 13, 2008

Album Review: Ry Cooder

Ry Cooder -'The UFO Has Landed -The Ry Cooder Anthology.' (Rhino)

An excellent compilation that does exactly what it says on the tin! Right from the weird and wonderful artwork (Ry says that he was given the artwork years ago, and he would love to find out who from), to the rich and diverse music contained inside, this is a treat.

I have to put my hand up here and say that I am not an authority on Ry Cooder's music. According to legend, Bob Dylan once went to him at 3am to learn to play guitar like Sleepy John Estes. So if he's good enough for Dylan, who are the hell are the rest of us to argue?

Cooder's career strectches back nearly forty years. This compilation includes his covers of 'Dark End Of The Street' which is heartbreaking, and is totally instrumental. Its' emotional strength is solely down to the playing. He also covered Johnny Cash's 'Get Rhythm' in the late eighties, which was the first time I ever heard his music, aged eleven.

Cooder has been described as one of the top ten guitarists of all time, and listening to this compilation, you'd be seriously pushed to argue with that. Whereas some have pilfered roots music and claimed it as their own, Cooder has always respectfully acknowledged the music that has influenced him, be it rock, blues, country, tex-mex, to name just a few of the styles on here.

He is also an accomplished soundtrack composer, perhaps most famously for Wim Wenders' masterful Paris, Texas. This is amongst another twenty soundtracks he has done.

If you've never heard Ry Cooder's music before, this is an excellent place not just to get an introduction, but also to get an education. It was assembled with his son, Joachim, who surely didn't find his father an embarassing Dad!


The UFO Has Landed -The Ry Cooder Anthology is out now.

US readers can hear much of stuff released on the album here and UK readers here

A video clip for Paris, Texas on You Tube:

Oh, and was sent these links by the PR company to help promote it:





Anonymous said...

Not got any of his stuff but i know when he was 20 he was asked to help Beefheart on 'Safe As Milk'.

Ed said...

He was indeed. Trust you to pick up on that, ya beefheart bloodhound you!


Huge Grunt said...

Paris, Texas is a great film, Ry Cooder's music really adds to the desolate atmosphere of the movie. I've got some of his tracks somewhere, must dig them out.

Ed said...

Glad you like it too, not a Wenders expert by any means, but Paris Texas is wonderful, as is Wings of Desire. Oh, and the video for Idlewild's Live In A Hiding Place, obviously...

Huge Grunt said...

Getting slightly off topic, you should do a piece on Idlewild, they are superb :) They're doing a 5 nighter at King Tuts in Glasgow in December, playing a different album each night. Unfortunately I can only make one of the nights.

I just dug out the Ry Cooder tracks I have, it's the soundtrack album to Crossroads.

Ed said...

Good point, I have written about Idlewild here before. Including reviewing their Queen's Hall gig last November and writing about their Queen Of the Troubled Teens single. Maybe it's time they did get another mention...