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I, Flathead

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iTunes Review

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.

Customer Reviews

He's baaaackkkk

There is something timely about a new Ry Cooder album breaking just as we lose George Carlin. Cooder has always struck me as something of a tongue in cheek commentator about a style of life that is passing...He's a wonderful observer and a true lyricist. My favorites so far, and I've got to listen a whole lot more are Filipino Dance Hall Girl (with a wonderful riff and a serious observation); and Can I Smoke in Here?; which Carlin probably would have loved, and on which Cooder reverts more to spoken word, almost what used to be called a tone poem, again commenting about life's day to day tribulations; and, finally, for me, no Cooder album would be complete with out really listening to one of the terrific acoustic guitar players out there. Listen to Pink-O-Boogie and Ridin' With the Blues; they are both the real deal.

Sorry 5 Second Rule

Sorry, Mr. Rule, but you obviously know nothing about Cooder...or rock history, for that matter. Ry Cooder, a guitar virtuoso, has recorded with everyone from Taj Mahal to the Stones, produced brilliant solo albums, and revitalized America's interest in various forms of roots and Cuban music over the years. To dismiss him and this album out of hand as you did is to admit to musical ignorance. So do your homework, listen again, and maybe someone somewhere will listen to your opinon...

I, Flathead

I don't know, but... is this the best album he's ever done? He's stepped into something that resonates with a lot of people right now... the sad loss of our once great country. If you're 20, you might not get it. Or maybe you will. Read some Cheever, Flannery O'Conner, Eudora Welty or Elmore Leonard... it'll give you a clue. Try on some Cash and some Sinatra. Watch the original Ocean's 11! Watch The Hustler. Watch Hud. Jesus God... watch Picnic. See if you can take a glimpse into the America that used to be and see if you like where we are now. This album will do that for you if you take the time to listen. It takes me further back than my years can. I was just a child when a lot tof this stuff went down, but it left an indelible imprint on my soul nonetheless... the cars.. the smoke... the whiskey. .. the women. Mr. Cooder was there, too. He was a kid like me... a little older maybe. But he nails it right on the head. He's put it all in a woderful box we can take a look at from time to time and wonder where everything went wrong!


Born: March 15, 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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