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Music By Ry Cooder

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Album Review

Since he's a limited vocalist with erratic songwriting skills, one could justifiably argue that the soundtrack medium is the best vehicle for Ry Cooder's talents, allowing him to construct eclectic, chiefly instrumental pieces drawing upon all sorts of roots music and ethnic flavors (often, but not always, employing his excellent blues and slide guitar). This two-CD, 34-song compilation gathers excerpts from 11 of the soundtracks he worked on between 1980 and 1993 (three of the cuts, from the 1981 film Southern Comfort, are previously unreleased). As few listeners (even Cooder fans) are dedicated enough to go to the trouble of finding all of his individual soundtracks, this is a good distillation of many of his more notable contributions in this idiom, although it inevitably leaves out some fine moments. Still, it's well programmed and evocative, often conjuring visions of ghostly landscapes and funky border towns.

Customer Reviews

wry comments regarding review

how true ry cooder is not a great vocalist, neither is neil young. Erratic song writing skills, do you ever listen to Ry Cooder's songs? Ry is one of the most versatile, diverse and prolific song writers in North America alive today. But I guess those who can't do become critics. This recording showcases Cooder's musical creativity with or without his voice. His ability to evoke an emotion(s) without words. Another example of Cooder's immense impact on modern music. I am only surpised that the review above did not slight his guitar playing.


Limited singer? Well, no, he can't warble like the great George Jones and he can't belt like Robert Plant at his best, but for the music he has picked to sing, especially the songs on his early albums that plucked gem after gem from Dust Bowl Americana forward, his voice is perfect. But, I digress. Cooder's instrumental prowess, not so much his technical skill as incredible feel and expression, is second to none. Soundtracks have been lucky to have him, because I know that he pulled everything he could sonically out of what we was watching. No one I can think of has played with a wider range of musicians (and within their styles), and his playing has buoyed each of them up. Why? Because no one gets the subtleties and the silence between the notes like him. Like George Harrison, he has never wasted a note.


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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Music By Ry Cooder, Ry Cooder
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