You need to pull up and give a listen to Ry Cooder’s latest
Ry Cooder has been recorded for 40 years and has released some great albums, including “Into the Purple Valley,” “Paradise and Lunch” and the stunning “Buena Vista Social Club.”
He also recorded the soundtracks to “The Border” starring Jack Nicholson and featuring John Hiatt as vocalist, “The Long Riders” with an all-star cast and stunning instrumental score, and the blues classic “Crossroads.”
Cooder, a multi-talented musician and virtuoso with a string instrument in his hands, has never played anything straight-up.
On his debut album, the eclectic Cooder played a slat key Hawaiian guitar. He is equally comfortable playing many different styles, including rock ‘n’ roll, blues, Hawaiian, Dixieland jazz, country, folk, R&B, gospel, ragtime, reggae and Tex-Mex.
It always has been my belief that Cooder’s favorite style is the blues, though.
Cooder’s latest release, “Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down,” is one of the very best of his 27 recordings and, as it stands right now, my pick for CD of the year.
It is a CD that stylistically goes back some 40 years for influence to some of the afore-mentioned musical styles — blues, folk, ragtime, rock, Tex-Mex and country — as well as marching band and even waltzes giving it a very “depression era” feel.
If you already are a fan, you will want to add this one to the collection.
If you don’t know Cooder, this is a great place to start.
One of my favorite cuts on the CD is “John Lee Hooker For President,” which is an incredible interpretation of the late blues master with these lyrics: “I’m compastatic. I ain’t Republican or Democratic.” His campaign promises a “groove time” for the nation if elected.
Although the 2007 bailout is the general theme and topical nature of “Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down,” Cooder doesn’t take sides and delivers his message with subtlety and a terrific sense of humor.
In fact, if you just listen to the music and didn’t pay attention to the lyrics it’s still an excellent recording.
Some of my other favorites are:
“No Banker Left Behind” with its scathing humor and on target accuracy of the 2007 bailout.
The unmistakable Howlin’ Wolf style rocking blues of “I Want My Crown.”
The Tom Waits’ style rocking gospel blues of “Lord Tell Me Why.”
Tex-Mex is the style of “El Corrido de Jesse James” featuring Flaco Jiminez on accordion as James laments from heaven, “Boys I was branded as a bandit and a bank robber, but I never turned a family from their home.”
Tex-Mex is also the style of “Dreamer” and “Christmas Time This Year,” both of which would be welcome on a Texas Tornados recording.
“Dirty Chateau,” a slow acoustic folk song, and the very Hawaiian influenced “Simple Tools” are both love songs with different points of view.
“Quick Sand,” “Humpty Dumpty World” and “If There’s a God” are Memphis style R&B that made me check on if John Hiatt was singing on the disc, but it was that vocal chameleon Cooder. Maybe that is why he and Hiatt sound so good together.
That is just 10 of the 14 tracks on this 60-plus minute CD. Every song on this disc is great.
In my opinion, “Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down” is not only a CD for the ages but one for the times in which we live and everybody should listen.