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

 |   |  1 min read

Ry Cooder: No Hard Feelings
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 re-enters the present and it is the better for it.

On this exceptional album he takes a hot poker to Wall Street greed and the bail-out (No Banker Left Behind), has Jesse James comes back to Earth to mete out justice to the corrupt, and addresses Americans in foreign wars (“our children will be coming in plastic bags”) and the plight of Mexican migrants.

He has God considering how Man and his creation has turned out on Humpty Dumpty World: “Television was the worst of all.”

However this being Cooder, from the album title inward he couches these pointed lyrics in music which refers to the Dustbowl era, rural blues, Tex-Mex (with accordion player Flaco Jimenez) and old time folk.

Dirty Chateau is a beautiful bitter-sweet ballad with an old man reflecting on better days (you can speculate on who it might be), Baby Joined the Army is back-porch acoustic blues (a woman signs up to escape dead-end America) which refers to Robert Johnson but sounds contemporary, and John Lee Hooker for President calls up the spirit and moan of Hook.

Cooder delivers songs steeped in lacerating humour, wisdom, anger, the long traditions of American music and closes with the weary, almost forgiving No Hard Feelings, a nod to Woody Guthrie (“this land should have been our land, you took it for your land”).

Some have observed that this is a specifically American series of complaints and observations, but that shouldn't exclude anyone from recognising their universality and making the intellectual leap into that consciousness. Not so much of a leap anyway, the territory -- both musical and lyrically -- is very familiar.  

Yes, exceptional.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

Clive - Oct 22, 2011

Agree with you Graham,the Triology is hard work and I doubt if I will play them again,however I will keep them because it is Ry.Mayby my Grandkids will play them when they grow up!!.I keep going back to the old stuff-'Into the Purple Valley,Chicken Skin Music and the great sound tracks of 'The Long Riders,Crossroads,Paris Texas,The Border and Alamo Bay.Now coming to 'Pull up some Dust',love it,the old time flavour suits the modern topics and John Lee for president should be on the radio,but no one would get it.

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

The Whispertown 2000: Swim (Acony)

The Whispertown 2000: Swim (Acony)

This alt.country/indie-pop four-piece from LA will doubtless be an acquired taste: but they are certainly alt.country (Jenny Lewis appeared on their debut which makes sense and they are the first... > Read more

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Michael Jackson; Off the Wall (Sony CD/DVD)

RECOMMENDED REISSUE: Michael Jackson; Off the Wall (Sony CD/DVD)

Yes agreed, Thriller three years later was bigger and better, but Jackson's '79 Off the Wall is historically more important because it was such a pop/r'n'b/disco-cum-funk game-changer. He... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

RANDOM RADIO (2015-16): Archived radio spots

RANDOM RADIO (2015-16): Archived radio spots

Because Elsewhere is so eclectic in its taste, Graham is frequently invited on to various radio programmes to discuss music, great concerts and the passing of some greats (and there have been a few... > Read more

HILLARY AND BILL CLINTON'S AUTOBIOGRAPHIES CONSIDERED (2003, 2004): Sax, lies and soundbites

HILLARY AND BILL CLINTON'S AUTOBIOGRAPHIES CONSIDERED (2003, 2004): Sax, lies and soundbites

Last week, late-night US television host Jay Leno quipped about a matter diverting American attention - the long-awaited US$8 million ($13.85 million) memoirs of Hillary Rodham Clinton.... > Read more