ry cooder

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Ry Cooder: My Name is Buddy (Warners)

Ry Cooder: My Name is Buddy (Warners)

Albums under Ry Cooder's name once only sold in the hundreds. But these days -- through high profile soundtracks such as Paris, Texas, The Long Riders and Trespass, internationally acclaimed work with the Buena Vista Social Club, and superb albums with the likes of fellow guitarist Manuel Galban (Mambo Sinuendo) and the late Ali Farka Toure from...

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga (Polydor) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Bright Eyes: Cassadaga (Polydor) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

A couple of years ago -- around the time Bright Eyes (Conor Oberst to his parents) broke biggish with the two 2005 albums I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn (the former of songs, the latter electronics) -- I was in Tower Records in Seattle. I spotted a seven album Bright Eyes box set (yes, all vinyl) for some...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007: Ibrahim Ferrer: Mi Sueno (World Circuit)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007: Ibrahim Ferrer: Mi Sueno (World Circuit)

Knowing that these were the final sessions by the late Buena Vista Social Club's star singer means that perhaps many will cast a more sympathetic ear over them than they might have otherwise. And let's be honest the other "final session" thing -- his duet with Omara Portuondo on As Time Goes By which appeared on the Rhythms Del Mundo...

Mavis Staples; We'll Never Turn Back (2007)

Mavis Staples; We'll Never Turn Back (2007)

The great gospel-soul singer Mavis Staples -- 76 at the time of this writing -- was a member of the legendary Staples Singers founded by her father Pops Staples, a close personal friend of Dr Martin Luther King. During the Civil Rights period music was on the frontline so to speak. Much of the Staples' music was political or inspirational...

John Hiatt: Same Old Man (Elite)

John Hiatt: Same Old Man (Elite)

It has been two decades since John Hiatt hit a high profile with the albums Bring the Family and Slow Turning. But despite some fine albums since (and a few duffers) he seems to be missed by the spotlight and has now become one of those rock-country journeymen who is more respected than actually listened to.His Crossing Muddy Waters at the start...

Ry Cooder: I, Flathead (Warners)

Ry Cooder: I, Flathead (Warners)

Right, I'm not going to pretend this is easy to follow, but it's Ry Cooder so it's worth the effort.This album apparently completes the trilogy of Californian albums Cooder started with Chavez Ravine and My Name is Buddy, but this one is slightly more problematic in that it comes from the perspective of an imaginary musician called Kash Buck (ho...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Omara Portuondo: Gracias (Harmonia Mundi)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Omara Portuondo: Gracias (Harmonia Mundi)

The great Cuban singer - who came to world attention via the Buena Vista Social Club a decade ago - is still going even though she is in her late 70, which may be some kind of testament to the life-affirming powers of Cuban rum or that country's health-care system. As with the final album by her late BVSC colleague Ibrahim Ferrer (the...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Buena Vista Social Club: Live at Carnegie Hall (Elite)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Buena Vista Social Club: Live at Carnegie Hall (Elite)

A decade on and the Buena Vista Social Club story just keeps being told: there was the original album, the Wim Wenders doco, the solo albums by various members, the touring, the t-shirts . . . Not bad for a project about which timbales player Amadito Valdes says, "I still don't know why Buena Vista Social Club became such a success...

Ry Cooder:The Ry Cooder Anthology, The UFO Has Landed (Warners)

Ry Cooder:The Ry Cooder Anthology, The UFO Has Landed (Warners)

Given the length - not to mention the breadth - of his career, this crammed double disc could almost still seem paltry. Cooder has recorded about 30 albums, reached from classic film soundtracks (Paris Texas and The Long Riders) to the Buena Vista Social Club, recorded concept albums (the recent LA trilogy) and pared-back acoustic material....

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Mavis Staples: Live. Hope at the Hideout (Anti)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Mavis Staples: Live. Hope at the Hideout (Anti)

The last album by the great Mavis Staples, We'll Never Turn Back was picked as one of the best albums of 2007 at Elsewhere, and that was no sympathy vote for one of life's survivors who had grown up with the civil rights movement and has now lived long enough to see Obama heading for the White House. So when she sings "keep your...

Ali Farka Toure/Toumani Diabate: In the Heart of the Moon (Elite)

Ali Farka Toure/Toumani Diabate: In the Heart of the Moon (Elite)

In world music circles Malian guitarist Toure and kora player Diabate, are acknowledged geniuses, and Toure’s playing and sandpaper vocal style have drawn comparisons with Delta blues musicians. He almost leapt to greater recognition with Talking Timbuktu a few years ago (with Buena Vista Social Club prime-mover Ry Cooder, in the...

Ry Cooder and Manuel Galban: Mambo Sinuendo (2003)

Ry Cooder and Manuel Galban: Mambo Sinuendo (2003)

Of all the Cuban albums which came roaring down the turnpike after Ry Cooder waved the starter's flag with the Grammy-friendly Buena Vista Social Club in '97, the most unexpected came from a group called Cubismo. Their lively self-titled album was a real cracker: vibrant rhythms, great horn section, joyousness and so on. All the hallmarks of...

RY COODER INTERVIEWED (2009): Dry, wry and moving right along

RY COODER INTERVIEWED (2009): Dry, wry and moving right along

Ry Cooder -- if a slightly flinty 15 minute conversation with someone who rarely gives interviews suggests -- gives the clear impression of someone who doesn’t like to waste his time. His answers can sound abrupt, he barely laughs even when he makes a mild joke, and bristles at some questions. The other problem in talking with...

NICK LOWE INTERVIEWED (2009): As times go by

NICK LOWE INTERVIEWED (2009): As times go by

It is one of the ironies of Nick Lowe’s life that -- despite producing the first three Elvis Costello albums, the success of his solo debut Jesus of Cool in ‘78 (retitled Pure Pop for Now People in the more sensitive American market), being in the dream team with Cooder and drummer Jim Keltner on the exceptional John Hiatt album...

Doug Cox: Without Words (Black Hen)

Doug Cox: Without Words (Black Hen)

Dobro player Doug Cox from Canada appeared here previously with his lovely album Slide to Freedom where he worked with Indian slide guitarist Salil Bhatt. That album alone would recommend this compilation of instrumentals from his obviously extensive back-catalogue. Cox has a light touch, plays without unnecessary embellishment and brings...

Hope Sandoval and the Warm Intentions: Through the Devil Softly (Shock)

Hope Sandoval and the Warm Intentions: Through the Devil Softly (Shock)

Sandoval was the emotionally cool, quietly mesmerising singer in Mazzy Star who has been off the radar for some while as a front person. (She has collaborated widely however, a new Mazzy album soon.) Here she fronts the band of her partner Colm O Ciosoig (of My Bloody Valentine) and various others on their first outing in about eight years....

Various Artists: Panama!3 (Sound Way)

Various Artists: Panama!3 (Sound Way)

This third installment of this excellent and enjoyable on-going series of music pulled from old singles is subtitled "Calypso Panameno, Guajira Jazz and Cumbia Tipica on the Isthmus 1960-75". Even if you don't have a clue about those various styles (the liner notes are exceptionally helpful) you can still enjoy these warm sounds...

Joe Robinson: Time Jumpin' (Universal)

Joe Robinson: Time Jumpin' (Universal)

Not being a great watcher of mainstream television means I happily get to miss things like Australia's Got Talent. (I didn't doubt it, the Easybeats, the Church and AC/DC are great.) But that also means people like me miss someone like 18-year old acoustic guitarist Robinson who won the "play-off" in 2008. Let it be said...

Various Artists: Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura (Brownswood/Soutbound)

Various Artists: Gilles Peterson Presents Havana Cultura (Brownswood/Soutbound)

The global success of Buena Vista Social Club a decade ago meant some presumed the group represented the sound of Cuba -- and that shut out any notion there might be vibrant young players (or even hip-hop) in that land of cigars, old cars and benign, soft-focus images.  Here itinerant UK DJ Peterson helps correct that misconception and...

The Chieftains featuring Ry Cooder: San Patricio (Universal)

The Chieftains featuring Ry Cooder: San Patricio (Universal)

Here's something we don't hear as often as we used to: a concept album with guest stars and telling a historical story – in this case the Irish Catholics migrant soldiers who deserted from the predominantly Protestant US army during the Mexican-American war and sided with the Mexicans. The San Patricio Battalion actually...

Various Artists: Rhythms del Mundo, Revival (Ape)

Various Artists: Rhythms del Mundo, Revival (Ape)

After the Buena Vista Social Club alerted the planet to great old, and largely forgotten, musicians in Cuba – and of course the beguiling rhythms of that small island – it was open season on catalogue exploitation for major record companies, many of whom suddenly discovered they had Cuban bands on their books from decades before...

CUBA; THE SIGHTS, SOUNDS, FLAVORS AND FACES by PIERRE HAUSHERR AND FRANCOIS MISSEN

CUBA; THE SIGHTS, SOUNDS, FLAVORS AND FACES by PIERRE HAUSHERR AND FRANCOIS MISSEN

With the geriatric Fidel Castro literally shuffling off the stage leaving it to his brother Raul and a cadre of elders, these look like the end days of the Cuba which has existed in proud but imposed Leftist isolation and has stared down an American trade and cultural boycott for decades. This has come at a price for Cubans who enjoy high...

Mamadou Diabate: Courage (World Village)

Mamadou Diabate: Courage (World Village)

As the son of kora player N'fa Diabate who was a founder of the Instrumental Ensemble of Mali and with the great Toumani Diabate as a cousin, Mamadou was born to play the kora. For this, his fifth album -- it follows his previous Douga Mansa which won the '09 Grammy for Best Traditional World Music album and his second album Behmanka which...

Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down (Nonesuch/Warners)

Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down (Nonesuch/Warners)

Ry Cooder's last three outings were the occasionally rewarding but often hard haul through his concept album trilogy Chavez Ravine (Mexican LA in the Forties), My Name is Buddy (Depression era America) and I Flathead (sci-fi Fifties with cool cars). Great songs scattered throughout, but . . .   For this one however Cooder...

Nick Lowe: Dig My Mood (1998)

Nick Lowe: Dig My Mood (1998)

It is coming up close to two decades since Nick Lowe -- once a laddish and witty figure in British rock in the immediate post-punk days -- decided to take the long view on his career and reposition himself. As he told Elsewhere late last year, “Back when I first got noticed in the Seventies it was for being rather irreverent and...

BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB in concert, review: Music, myth and marketing in Melbourne (2001)

BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB in concert, review: Music, myth and marketing in Melbourne (2001)

The old man looks desperately frail, shuffling as if each step could be his last. But as he is helped the few metres from the wings of the stage to the piano, each faltering footfall is accompanied by a deafening roar of applause and a standing ovation. The footstamping and clapping subsides, the band kicks in and Ruben Gonzalez starts to...

Alejandro Escovedo: The Boxing Mirror (Back Porch/EMI)

Alejandro Escovedo: The Boxing Mirror (Back Porch/EMI)

When you see that John Cale, formerly of The Velvet Underground, has produced an album you tend to take notice: he helmed the stunning debuts by Patti Smith, The Stooges and Modern Lovers, and down the decades has worked with Nico, Jennifer Warnes and Jesus Lizard. With singer-guitarist Escovedo he has a like-minded, dark-hearted spirit who...

M Ward; Post-War (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

M Ward; Post-War (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

Matt Ward could easily be a musicologist's research assignment: this album -- his fifth -- roams effortless from hushed balladry to guitar work which sounds like the Shadows on a surf-rock kick, and from alt.rock to something Paul Simon would be proud of. And in many places he sounds like someone a few decades older -- and blacker -- than he...

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