|Ry Cooder & Corridos Famosos — Live at The Great American Music Hall (2013)|
Ry Cooder & Corridos Famosos — Live at The Great American Music Hall
Virtuoso roots guitarist who was steeped in the blues, but spent his career exploring new musical worlds from Tex-Mex to Cuban bolero.
Birth name: Ryland Peter Cooder
Born: March 15, 1947 in Los Angeles, CA
Occupations: Musician, songwriter, film scorer, record producer, instructor
Instruments: Guitar, mandolin, vocals, array mbira
Location: Los Angeles, CA, U.S.
Album release: September 10, 2013
Recording Date: August 31, 2011 — September 1, 2011
Styles: Album Rock, Country-Rock, Ethnic Fusion, Film Music, Film Score, Roots Rock, Instrumental Rock, Blues-Rock, Contemporary Blues, Slide Guitar Blues, Mexican Traditions, Modern Electric Blues
Record Label: Nonesuch/Perro Verde Records
01 Crazy 'Bout an Automobile (Every Woman I Know) (Billy "The Kid" Emerson) 5:08
02 Why Don't You Try Me (Billy "Snooky" Young) 5:29
03 Boomer's Story (Carson Robison/Traditional) 4:42
04 Lord Tell Me Why (Ry Cooder/Jim Keltner) 6:19
05 Do Re Mi (Woody Guthrie) 5:43
06 School Is Out (Gary Anderson/Gene Barge) 5:02
07 The Dark End of the Street (Chips Moman/Dan Penn/Spooner Oldham) 7:32
08 El Corrido de Jesse James (Ry Cooder) 6:16
09 Wooly Bully (Domingo "Sam" Samudio) 4:59
10 Volver Volver (Fernando Z. Maldonado) 6:30
11 Vigilante Man (Woody Guthrie) 8:19
12 Goodnight Irene (John Lomax III/Huddie Ledbetter) 7:07
Themes: Freedom Hanging Out Politics/Society Reflection Reminiscing Road Trip Solitude
He was ranked eighth on Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". A 2010 ranking by Gibson placed him at number 32.
♣ Gary Anderson Composer
♣ La Banda Juvenil Featured Artist
♣ Gene Barge Composer
♣ Gilberto Carbajal Trumpet
♣ Edgar Castro Drums (Snare), Timbales
♣ Alonso Chavez Horn (Alto)
♣ Juliette Commagere Featured Artist, Vocals
♣ Joachim Cooder Drums, Featured Artist
♣ Ry Cooder Art Direction, Composer, Guitar, Producer, Vocals
♣ Julian Diaz Trumpet
♣ Billy "The Kid" Emerson Composer
♣ Terry Evans Featured Artist, Vocals
♣ Robert Francis Bass, Featured Artist
♣ Arturo Gallardo Clarinet, Sax (Alto), Sax (Bass)
♣ Carlos "Carlitos" González Trumpet
♣ Abel Guerra Trombone
♣ Woody Guthrie Composer
♣ Flaco Jiménez Accordion, Featured Artist
♣ Willie Jimenez Clarinet
♣ Huddie Ledbetter Composer
♣ John Lomax III Composer
♣ Fernando Maldonado Composer
♣ Arnold McCuller Featured Artist, Vocals
♣ Pablo Molina Sousaphone
♣ Chips Moman Composer
♣ Dan Penn Composer
♣ Martin Pradler Engineer, Mastering, Mixing
♣ Al Quattrocchi Art Direction
♣ Carson Robison Composer
♣ Everardo Rodriguez Drums (Bass)
♣ Domingo "Sam" Samudio Composer
♣ Jeff Smith Art Direction
♣ Susan Titelman Photography
♣ Traditional Composer
♣ Billy Young Composer
Review by Thom Jurek; Score: ****
♣ Recorded with a full band over two nights in 2011, this Ry Cooder & Corridos Famosos concert offering marks the guitarist’s first live recording under his own name since 1988.
♣ His band is, as one would expect, full of killer musicians, many of them old friends. ♣ The vocalists include Juliette Commagere, Terry Evans, and Arnold McCuller. Son Joachim holds down the drum chair while Robert Francis plays bass and Flaco Jiménez appears intermittently on accordion. In addition, Cooder recruited the ten-piece brass ensemble La Banda Juvenil from Mexico.
♣ The program consists of 12 tunes. While only two are originals — live readings of tunes from Pull Up Some Dust & Sit Down — many of these selections are Cooder heritage favorites. The opener is a snarling, soul-blues read of “Crazy ‘Bout an Automobile,” with a mean slide solo and Arturo Gallardo‘s bass sax burping in tandem. ♣ It’s followed by a fine, gospelized reading of “Why Dont You Try Me?” (from 1980's Borderline) that gets not only all three vocalists in on the action, but the entire horn section as well. The big surprises are the inclusion of “Boomer’s Story” — with excellent martial shuffling by Joachim — and the “The Dark End of the Street,” with Evans and McCuller in duet, and Jiménez’s accordion adding a lonesome sweetness to the proceedings. Cooder’s stage banter is in fine form as well, as evidenced by his introduction to the smoking “El Corrido de Jesse James.” The other original, “Lord Tell Me Why,” with Evans singing the ironic “racial” lyric, underscores its intentional absurdity. Cooder remains a master of traditional and cover material. There are two Woody Guthrie tunes here and both are radically reworked. “Do Re Mi” is a polka in which Pablo Molina’s Sousaphone and Jiménez’s accordion duel for dominance, and “Vigilante Man” is nasty, moaning, grimy blues driven by the slide guitar. Sam “The Sham” Samudio’s “Wooly Bully” is given a full-on boogie treatment by the whole band, and there is a reprise of Gene Barge’s “School Is Out,” that first appeared on the live album Show Time in 1976. Commagere takes center stage on the Fernando Maldonado classic “Volver Volver,” with Le Banda Juvenil in full mariachi mode. She delivers the tune with stirring, soulful commitment. The set closes with a loose, beautifully performed “Goodnight Irene,” with Jiménez coloring in the edges with his deft squeeze box, and Cooder’s guitar answering with one of his most tender solos on record. For those who’ve longed for the return of his immediate, loose, warm, live recordings, Live at the Great American Music Hall is where it’s at.
♣ Juliette Commagere rose to regional prominence as the frontwoman of Hello Stranger, an L.A-based indie band with a penchant for indie rock song structures and keytar solos, before pursuing a solo career in 2008. Raised in Los Angeles by her piano-playing father and ranchera-singing mother, she was surrounded by music at an early age. Commagere also took influence from Ry Cooder, the father of her high school sweetheart (and future bandmate) Joachim Cooder. After logging several years alongside the younger Cooder in Hello Stranger (whose music won the band an international tour alongside the Foo Fighters), Commagere opted to chase her own dreams as a solo artist. She lent her alto vocals to albums by Puscifer and Avenged Sevenfold, but it was Commagere's solo debut, Queens Die Proudly, that turned the most heads. Released in 2008, the album eschewed the rock-based songs of her former band for a blend of lush orchestrations and pop-art soundscapes.
♣ Terry Evans eventually became a soulful, gospel-flavored vocalist fronting a band, but his career took many steps to reach that pinnacle. Like many blues artists, his first exposure to music was in church, where he sang in the junior choir. As is often the case, his parents allowed him to sing only gospel, but on the sneak, he listened to blues artists such as Elmore James, Little Walter, Albert King, and B.B. King.
♣ His first break was as a member of a Southern vocal group, the Knights. From there, he moved to Southern California and began picking up guitar and writing songs. Among the songs he wrote were "Love Is a Precious Thing," which was recorded by Pops Staples, and "Hop, Skip, and Jump," recorded by Louis Jordan.
♣ In the '70s, he performed as a duo with Bobby King on the chitlin circuit, playing their brand of Stax-styled soul and gospel. A hard-working performer, Evans continued with King while at the same time working as a background vocalist for Ry Cooder, both on Cooder's albums and in his touring band. Evans' breakthrough came during the movie Crossroads, where he sang lead on "Down in Mississippi" and the title piece.
♣ Trouble Monkey In 1993, Evans released his first solo album, Blues for Thought, on Pointblank. While providing backing vocal tracks for Lloyd Jones' Trouble Monkey, he attracted the attention of record producer Joe Harley, who then signed Evans to Audioquest. Evans recorded two fine albums with Harley, Puttin' It Down and Come to the River. Walk That Walk followed in early 2000; Mississippi Magic was issued a year later.
♣ Ry Cooder is a world-famous guitarist, singer and composer, known for his slide guitar work, interest in roots music, and more recently for his collaborations with traditional musicians from many countries, including The Buena Vista Social Club. He has composed soundtracks for more than twenty films, including Paris, Texas. Two recent albums were accompanied by stories Cooder wrote to accompany the music. This is his first published collection of stories.
♣ A Los Angeles Times's and Southern California Indie Bookseller Association's Bestseller!
♣ Los Angeles Stories is a collection of loosely linked tales that evoke a bygone era in one of America's most iconic cities. In post-World War II Los Angeles, as power was concentrating and fortunes were being made, a do-it-yourself culture of cool cats, outsiders and oddballs populated the old downtown neighborhoods of Bunker Hill and Chavez Ravine. Ordinary working folks rubbed elbows with petty criminals, grifters and all sorts of women at foggy end-of-the-line outposts in Venice Beach and Santa Monica.
♣ Rich with the essence and character of the times, suffused with patois of the city's underclass, these are stories about the common people of Los Angeles, "a sunny place for shady people," and the strange things that happen to them. Musicians, gun shop owners, streetwalkers, tailors, door-to-door salesmen, drifters, housewives, dentists and pornographers, new arrivals and hard-bitten denizens all intersect in cleverly plotted stories that center around some kind of shadowy activity. This quirky love letter to a lost way of life will appeal to fans of hard-boiled fiction and anyone interested in the city itself.
♣ Publisher City Lights Publishers
Title First Published: 01 October 2011
— Nb of pages: 224 p.
— ISBN-10 0872865193
— ISBN-13 9780872865198
Uncut Magazine, February 2012
♣ "It's a world at least partly familiar from fatalist noir classics from the time in which these stories are set (1940-1958), the kind of movies in which the way a character lights a cigarette tells you everything you need to know about them and how and where they may fetch up, which as a rule is nowhere they'd want to be. . . . Taken as a whole, this collection offers a panoramic view of a rapidly changing Los Angeles and its immigrant communities, rich in period detail and idiomatic dialogue, sometimes based on Cooder's own memories of growing up in the same neighborhoods in which the stories are often set."
♣ "On his records, Ry Cooder specializes in the talking blues, modernizing the struggle and humanity in his source materials — folk and public-domain covers, the rhythms of Tex-Mex and Chicano culture – with narrative grit and immediacy. His prose, in turn, is rich in sound — echoes of blues, jazz, boleros — in this superb debut of tales set in L.A.'s Hispanic neighborhoods and on its R&B-nightclub boulevards in the Forties and Fifties. Cooder writes with Chandler-esque pepper and an eye for character. A dental technician plays killer steel guitar; a guy who collects info for the city directory is an accidental shamus. John Lee Hooker gets a cameo, and at the end of one story, a ghost hangs around his garage, listening to 78s. Cooder shouldn't stop making records. He should keep writing, too."
The Iowa Review
♣ "The stories of Ry Cooder are a lot like his music: stately, precise, well constructed; they grab you by the throat, quietly, and never let go . . . . Cooder is a passionate historian of Los Angeles, curating its small joys and predilections, its cultural pratfalls and senseless tragedies . . . . Los Angeles Stories is an unusual book, old-fashioned but not out of fashion. Its most beautiful quality is the genuine pathos, conveyed with tact and skill, for a city that has vanished, that has always been vanishing." — Andrew J. Khaled Madigan, The Iowa Review
Sydney Morning Herald
♣ "His stories are a little bit Pynchon-esque, in that they follow red herrings and odd U-turns much of the time. There's urban symbology everywhere: the dark jazz club, the laundromat, the fire escape, the record store, a clacking typewriter . . . The strict Los Angeles setting — the city's highs and lows romanticised ceaselessly — make them like Raymond Chandler or Mickey Spillane." — Chris Johnston
Our Man In Boston
♣ ". . . Ryland Peter Cooder ventures into new territory with his first collection of linked shortly stories, entitled (not surprisingly) Los Angeles Stories (City Lights) . . . Eight stories are set in post World War II Los Angeles intermingling the kinds of characters and narratives that Cooder has put to good use in his songs — blue collar workers, small time criminals and all kinds of fauna to be found in the barely visible underclass." — Robert Birnbaum, "Our Man in Boston"
♣ "While some of the stories focus on those who end up in LA, Cooder's focus in this book is mainly about those who have called LA home for most of their lives. The way Cooder describes the neighborhoods in LA — the homes and the working class — really paints a picture that doesn’t just give you an idea of what it was like; rather, he brings these images to life, especially if you live in or visit LA today."
♣ "Both Cooder's plots and narrative structures are riddled with interesting surprises. Each story is presented as a mystery, but Cooder doesn’t offer obvious clues and an explanation at the denouement. The stories all have an unpredictably reflexive quality, dovetailing seemingly inconsequential details, making a story ripple with unexpected meaning."
The Pioneer Online
♣ "From ordinary door-to-door men working for the City Directory and fired trolley drivers, to dental technicians and lots of musicians, Ry Cooder's Los Angeles Stories takes the reader on a tour of Los Angeles during the '40s and ‘50s when jazz, rock and Spanish music set the background of the time."
Sacramento News and Review
♣ "Repo men, waitresses, tailors, drifters, grifters and women of all sorts populate these stories that will appeal not only to Cooder fans. Although dark, the stories are never hopeless. They are filled with tough characters making their way in post-World War II Los Angeles, and there's usually a gun involved."
San Francisco Chronicle
♣ "In Los Angeles Stories, his first published collection of stories, Cooder pays homage to the jazz, the blues and the Latin beat of a bygone era. He also honors a cast of boisterous musicians, some murdered, others spared to tell their gritty tales of life and death. A few famous musicians — John Lee Hooker and Charlie Parker among them — make cameo appearances in these pages, but most of the guitar players, drummers and lounge singers are as unknown as the repossession men, waitresses and mechanics they entertain in forgotten bars and derelict nightclubs."
♣ "Nostalgia aside, the book is a deeply humane history of the time before instant pop hits and sprawling superhighways. As with his records, Cooder shows himself to be a sensitive student of cultural roots, and a delicate storyteller." (http://www.citylights.com/)
♣ 1988 Grammy Award (Best Recording for Children) — Pecos Bill, producer (Rabbit Ears Productions)
♣ 1993 Grammy Award (Best World Music Album) — A Meeting by the River
♣ 1994 Grammy Award (Best World Music Album) — Talking Timbuktu with Ali Farka Toure
♣ 1997 Grammy Award (Best Tropical Latin Performance) — Buena Vista Social Club
♣ 2003 Grammy Award (Best Pop Instrumental Album) — Mambo Sinuendo with Manuel Galbán
♣ 2003 Grammy Award (Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album) — Buenos Hermanos, producer (Ibrahim Ferrer, artist)
♣ 2000 — Ry Cooder received an honorary doctorate from Queen's University, Canada
♣ 2001 — Ry Cooder received an honorary doctorate from the California Institute of the Arts
|Ry Cooder & Corridos Famosos — Live at The Great American Music Hall (2013)|