the interactive Ry Cooder Newsletter...for fans of RPC and good music of every kind.
Steve Strongman at Dr.Disc
Happy 20th birthday!
at Hugh's Room
the Four Seasons
by your's truly
The Cover of the Rolling Stone
not a lefty in the whole bunch
Lightfoot at Hamilton Place
photo by John Rennison (the Spectator)
Me & Billy
at the Studio Theatre (photo by Rich Humber)
Truman Capote on Mick Jagger:
One thing I'll say about Mick Jagger. He's fascinating in the sense that he's one of the most total actors that I've ever seen. He has this remarkable quality of being absolutely able to be totally extroverted...and then revert into another person almost instantly...he's really an extraordinary actor. And that's exactly what he is because: (a) he can't sing; (b) he can't dance; (c) he doesn't know a damn thing about music. But he does know about coming on and being a great showman. And putting on a fantastic act, of which the vital element is energy. Don't you think? Tell me what you think. You think he can sing? (quoted in Rolling Stone interviewed by Andy Warhol, 1973)
Me & the Devil Blues
Mr. Johnson...your ride's here
Festival of Friends '09
Memories of Jackie
Los Angeles Stories
by Ry Cooder
Richie and Dave
at Hugh's Room (photo by Rich Humber)
Big Night for Jackie
and McMaster too! (photo by Ron Scheffler)
at the Studio Theatre (photo by Dave Avery)
New Star Cinema
from Dominion City
this is a self portrait!
at Hamilton Place (photo by DEK)
Rigsby & Clark
pickin' 'n' grimacin' (photo by DEK)
Pattie snaps George...
at Hugh's Room (photo by Rich Humber)
a Flying Leap
The UFO Has Landed
the Ry Cooder Anthology
...I'm addicted too!
the two Mr. Daves...
together at Hugh's Room (photo by Rich Humber)
the new baby!
so long old pal! (photo by DEK)
the deluxe edition
and Dave's beer at the Slye Fox (photo by Rich Humber)
the new Rylander
Cooder on TV
from the BBC
Blondie signs the review...
Steve Strongman Band
at Pepper Jack (photo by Dave Avery)
nifty if simple
Ry & Joachim
Happy Father's Day!
...worth every penny!
One Long Tune
the life & music of Lenny Breau
Portage & Main
about 25 degrees C
We'll Never Turn Back
signed by Mavis
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Ry Cooder’s Rabble-Rousing New Album (from The New Yorker)
Originally posted July 25, 2012 by Alec Wilkinson
Ry Cooder, who over the course of fifty years has become one of the most singular musicians in America, has a new record, “Election Special,” a collection of songs with a political cast, which comes out in August. Cooder is nothing like as well known as he might be, because he would rather do practically anything than perform in public. He established himself initially as a studio musician, playing in private, and in the past decade he has played in public only a handful of times, several of them only as a sideman. “The people who like the applause should have it,” he once said, “I just don’t care for it.” He has appeared so infrequently that a feeling of nervousness has built up around the occasion. What he will meet, he knows, is three rows of guitar players with their camera phones aimed at his hands, and three more rows of wiseasses, saying, “This is supposed to be a great guitar player? How come he’s not shredding?” Remarks like that can go a long way to dampen the pleasure of the occasion for him, especially if the theatre is intimate.
As for his abilities, no other guitar player has mastered the range of styles that Cooder has, or even come close—variations of blues playing (Robert Johnson and Big Bill Broonzy come to mind); slide playing that is sometimes so succinct it is searing; Joseph Spence-style fingerpicking; his own version of electric guitar playing, the most widely known example of which is “Honky Tonk Women,” which Keith Richards based on Cooder’s playing (Cooder was recording with the Stones at the time, on “Let It Bleed,” and Richards wrote the song after listening to him). Cooder’s reach is wide—if you don’t believe me, search Ry Cooder and see all the musicians who list him as an influence. Paul Simon once asked a guitar maker to build him a guitar like Cooder’s—it’s the guitar Simon is holding on the cover of “You’re the One.”
Guitar playing is not the only thing Cooder does, though. He also assembled, rehearsed, picked the repertoire for, and recorded a group of old men in Cuba whom he called The Buena Vista Social Club. The record he made with them was the best-selling in world-music history, and led many musicians and producers to see dollar signs when they looked at Cuba. Cooder’s uncommonness as an artist is the exemplification of Rainer Maria Rilke’s remarks, originally made about Cezanne, “The further one goes, the more private, the more personal, the more singular an experience becomes, and the thing one is making is, finally, the necessary, irrepressible, and, as nearly as possible, definitive utterance of this singularity.”
The songs that Cooder has chosen to record, and his own writings, too, have always had a populist tendency. He likes unions. He likes working men and their lore, detectives, and shadowy parts of Los Angeles, where he has lived all his life. “Election Special” expresses his scorn and outrage about what used to be called current events. “Some of these tunes are a little bitter, I will admit,” he has said. The “Mutt Romney Blues” is sung as if by Romney’s dog, the one he tied on the roof of the car when his family went on vacation. “It don’t look right / don’t seem right,” the dog sings. “Hot in the day / cold all night; Where I’m goin’ I just don’t know / Po’ dog got to bottle up and go.”
“The Wall Street Part of Town,” has a narrator looking for refuge in the part of town where the wind always blows at your back and the ground tilts in your favor. In “Cold Cold Feeling,” Obama is wandering alone, late at night: “I walked up and down the White House / Till I wore the leather out from under my shoes / I didn’t have nothing but the cold cold President blues.” The narrator in “Going to Tampa” is on his way to the convention with ideas in his head. Bring back Willie Horton and scare the nation and blame the Mexicans is one of them.
The record rises to a climax with “Take Your Hands Off It,” Cooder’s rebuke to politicians and their posses, the harm they have caused in the service of greed, and the damage they have done to essential rights around the world. “Get your dirty hands off my Constitution,” it begins, and each verse is a reprimand that spreads like the circles from a stone tossed into a pond. “Get your greasy hands off my Bill of Rights,” and so on, through reproductive rights and war-making. “You don’t speak for God, you know he don’t belong to you.” Pete Seeger believes that songs are more effective as political tools than writing is, because a piece of writing is read once, and songs are sung over and over. A firebrand song is what “Take Your Hands off It” is, a rabble-rousing call, and by the end, you feel all stirred up and ready to close the curtain behind you and pull some levers.
the collection (but where's "Discover America"?) and...yep...Wild Bill is signed!
contents of RYLANDER Quarterly
1.1:Paris, Texas tab; brief RPC comments; publisher's introduction 1.2: Joseph Spence issue; some tab; review of Out on the Rolling Sea CD; RPC movie music 1.3: Archival reviews from music magazines; memorabilia; do-it-yourself bottleneck slide (don't cut yourself!) 1.4: RPC soundtrack interview; Great Dream From Heaven tab 2.1: The Rising Sons (by Dr. Demento); Afro-Cuban All Stars; review of slide guitar CD & Joseph Spence tab book 2.2: Buena Vista Social Club live; reviews of Unknown Legends and Fairport Convention books; RPC sessions LPs 2.3: David Lindley interview; RPC biography (in Italian); reviews of Doug Legacy, Knut Reiersrud, Rick Danko, Levon Helm 2.4: Ry Cooder's odyssey; Bert Williams; sheet music for "Nobody"; reviews of Bill Frisell, Fusion, Lunar Notes and Jeff Beck biography 3.1: Zoot Horn Rollo interview (pt.1); RPC interview ('83); reviews of Ochoa, Ferrer, Segundo, Reirsrud, Beefheart, Lightfoot, Danko 3.2: Beefheart memories from RPC & Zoot Horn Rollo (pt.2); reviews of Terry Evans, Chris Whitley, Johnny Society, Omara Portuondo 3.3: Zoot Horn Rollo (pt.3); Terry Melcher; honorary doctorate for RPC; reviews of Dennis Wilson bio, John Hunter Phillips CD 3.4: MerRY ChRYstmas! Sing Out! interview; Ry Cooder songbook; reviews of Pat Boone, Dave Rea, Beefheart & Bert Jansch books 4.1: John Tobler interviews RPC (pt.1); reviews of Jimmy Agren, Borderline, Don Everly, Scott McKenzie, Byrd-parts 4.2: John Tobler interviews RPC (pt.2); reviews of Garth Hudson, the Crowmatix, the Parlor Dogs, Sir Mack Rice 4.3: RPC buyer's guide; RPC & World Music; reviews of Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, Colin Linden, a couple books 4.4: RPC interview; memorabilia; reviews of Spencer Bohren, the Yearlings, Harry Manx, a Richie Unterberger book 5.1:Mambo Sinuendo reviews from the world press; Bert Williams re-issues 5.2: RPC interview from NPR; more Mambo Sinuendo coverage; review of Los Zafiros film 5.3: The Rolling Stones influence; listening with Ry (from Guitar Player); reviews of Fusion, Mark Levine, Steve Young, Blackie & the Rodeo Kings 5.4: Rock'n'Roll Outlaw; RPC goes record shopping; RPC remembers Compay Segundo; review of Jim Dickinson CD 6.1: Chicken Skin Slide; RPC interview; Meeting with Masters (pt.1) 6.2: Meeting with Masters (pt.2); RPC's movie music; reviews of box-sets (Fairport, Swarbrick, the Transports) 6.3:Chavez Ravine; Taj Mahal interview; Leadership in Mental Health Award; L.A.County Award 6.4: The World Press reviews Chavez Ravine; drawing on the front page! 2006: RPC's Grammy Awards; more Chavez Ravine; review of Garth Hudson live Sept. '07: an e-mail from Van Dyke Parks; RPC interview; some Buddy reviews and more (10 pages!)
RYLANDER first edition
available as photocopies only
RYLANDER second edition
still some copies available ($3 each)
RYLANDER 3rd edition
Quite a few copies left ($3 each)
RYLANDER 4th edition
all available ($3 each)
RYLANDER 5th edition
for contents of back issues read the contents list above
RYLANDER 6th edition
get 'em while they're hot ($3 each)
Hamilton Spectator CD Review
Big Georgia Dave & Maria Muldaur (photo by Dave Avery)