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I, Flathead

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Ry Cooder has earned his reputation as a peerless instrumentalist who has graced the fringes of popular music since the 1960s. His own solo work has often seemed secondary to his pivotal roles in bringing other people’s music to fruition, whether it’s been John Hiatt, the Bueno Vista Social Club, or his film scores (Paris, Texas, Last Man Standing) that expanded the filmmaker’s vision with heart-shuddering results. I, Flathead is a complex song cycle based on a novella regarding a country music singer named Kash Buk, his backing group the Klowns, and his dealings with an extraterrestrial named Shakey. The story, however, is secondary to the mix of roots-rock, mariachi, country blues, and genre-bending exercises that defy easy categorization and are jammed with Cooder’s expertise and affection. “Johnny Cash” swashbuckles down the rhythm ramp. “Ridin’ With the Blues” and “Pink-O-Boogie” add slide-guitar, gutsy blues and barroom funk. “Can I Smoke In Here?” has an otherworldly reverb added to its perfectly askew spoken words. Cooder enjoys evoking the weird and lost.


Born: 15 March 1947 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Whether serving as a session musician, solo artist, or soundtrack composer, Ry Cooder's chameleon-like fretted instrument virtuosity, songwriting, and choices of material encompass an incredibly eclectic range of North American musical styles, including rock & roll, blues, reggae, Tex-Mex, Hawaiian, Dixieland jazz, country, folk, R&B, gospel, and vaudeville. The 16-year-old Cooder began his career in 1963 in a blues band with Jackie DeShannon and then formed the short-lived Rising Sons in 1965 with...
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I, Flathead, Ry Cooder
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