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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Appreciation of a great album
Ry Cooder - Paradise and Lunch
If you were to cut Ry Cooder in half he would be lettered 'Musician' all the way through. He hardly seems to have made anything except excellent albums, apart from 'The Slide Area'. So here is another eclectic mix of blues, gospel, folk and interpretations of obscure old pop songs. All played by his early house band, with a few...
Published on 27 Mar 2001 by Mr. M Errington

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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable...
...but not one of his best (there are so many to choose from). Still, full of Ry Cooder's lovely bluesy vocals and GORGEOUS guitar playing, so all in all, pretty good.
Published on 12 Nov 2008 by anonymous


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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Appreciation of a great album, 27 Mar 2001
By 
Mr. M Errington "Chelonist" (Hereford UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Paradise And Lunch (Audio CD)
Ry Cooder - Paradise and Lunch
If you were to cut Ry Cooder in half he would be lettered 'Musician' all the way through. He hardly seems to have made anything except excellent albums, apart from 'The Slide Area'. So here is another eclectic mix of blues, gospel, folk and interpretations of obscure old pop songs. All played by his early house band, with a few distinguished guests, so nothing new there. But some albums just work, and all I can suggest is that when you get the right people together at the right time the magic just happens, and it really happens here. I think the secret is in knowing what to leave out. This sort of music doesn't smack you on the forehead, it just sidles up and makes friends. The rythms are generally gentle and subtle, but still make you want first to tap your feet and then dance around the room. This mood is set in the first track, 'Tamp 'em up solid', but this is no surprize, Cooder has always been at expert at first tracks (Such as 6-3-4-5-7-8-9 and Get Rythm). 'Jesus on the main line' is one of those left field tunes that just get to you after a couple of playings, and 'Fool for a cigarette' has that depression / dust bowl feel so well done on the 2nd album (Into the Purple Valley). The guitar licks are immaculate as ever, electric accoustic and slide, but the point is not how clever they are, but how well played they are. No-one can play as sweetly or with more emotion than Ryland Peter Cooder. The final track is a duet between Cooder and the veteran jazz pianist Earl Hines. They play the Blind Blake standard 'Ditty wah ditty' with real swing. Cooder keeps the melody and rythm driving along whilst Hines plays some astonishing variations. I'm still not sure if it works, but I can't stop humming the tune. All in all this is an addictive album, one of those I get every 3 or 4 years that I play almost non-stop . Five stars are hardly adequate. I have a reservation about the design of the cover, one of the worst I have ever seen, especially with a hangover, but it does make the album easy to spot on the rack. I just can't think why I didn't buy the album before.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Cooder classic, 9 July 2008
By 
G. E. Harrison (Cheltenham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Paradise And Lunch (Audio CD)
"Paradise and Lunch" followed a similar path to his previous release "Into the purple valley" but overall probably has a more electric, R&B sound, with either Jim Keltner or Milt Holland on drums. Again it's a very consistent record that seamlessly mixes blues, rock and roll, country and jazz to provide a varied but somehow completely unified sound.

We start with a great acoustic work-song "Tamp 'em up solid" and then Washington Phillips' beautiful ballad "Tattler" is given an R&B makeover to make it sound like the Drifters. Meanwhile the Drifters own "Mexican divorce" is taken south of the border and slowed down to produce a soulful TexMex classic. Blind Willie McTell's "Married man's a fool" is also updated with an R&B setting, although not quite as funky as the Womacks' "It's all over now" which really rocks. We also get an early version of the gospel song "Jesus on the mainline" which Ry was often to revisit. "Fool About A Cigarette/Feelin' good" is a medley of a country song and a J.B. Lenoir blues that somehow seem to fit together. Finally Ry and Earl Hines battle it out on a swinging ragtime version of Blind Blake's "Ditty Wah Ditty".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cooder's best and a classic must have, 8 Jun 2010
By 
Edgar of Baddesley (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Paradise And Lunch (Audio CD)
There are some truly excellent comprehensive reviews already here (and one off the mark) so I will not attempt duplication. However, I have to say that for me this is Ry Cooder's masterpiece and a timeless gem. Blues, gospel and country rock, sung and played with awesome skill but above all joy and a sense of humour. Although I like some of his later work, such as the Buena Vista etc, Ry Cooder peaked here with Paradise and Lunch, sandwiched in between the excellent Chicken Skin Music and good but slightly disappointing by comparison Borderline. Something really magical happened in recording Paradise. Earl Fatha Hines exquisite "Ditty Wa Ditty" just rounds it off perfectly along with a wonderful, definitive version of "It's All Over Now". Also, try: the aforementioned albums; John Hiatt's excellent "Slow Turning"; or in gentler vein Kate and Anna McGarrigle's also magical self-titled album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Puts you right in the groove, 6 Oct 2011
This review is from: Paradise And Lunch (Audio CD)
Yep Cooder all the way. Only Ry can produce an atmospheric feel of being right there as they play, he can turn the mood with a lick and the Cooder style shines out with every cord played.Paradise and Lunch
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gaudy, 15 April 2010
By 
S. Bailey - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Paradise And Lunch (Audio CD)
Despite its gaudy, luminescent yellow sleeve, this 1974 release is one of the best of the solo albums in Ry Cooder's bulky back catalogue. That is reflected in the inclusion of 3 of its 9 tracks on his 2008 anthology The UFO Has Landed. They were a string-driven romantic lament entitled 'Tattler' (which was a rare example of a track written by the man himself), and two gospel-tinged traditionals - 'Jesus On The Mainline', 'Tamp `Em Up Solid' - which were arranged and adapted by Cooder. The other six tracks featured here reflect his always eclectic choice of songs: material penned by pop songwriter Burt Bacharach is mixed with that of the bluesman Blind Willie McTell. Cooder's limited vocal authority is also less of a problem here than it had been on previous recordings, perhaps because of the more extensive use of backing vocalists. Only with his mid-paced version of soul artist Bobby Womack's awesome 'It's All Over Now' does Cooder really fall short in his attempt to reinterpret a song.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ry really starting to find his feet..., 30 April 2013
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This review is from: Paradise And Lunch (Audio CD)
This album is lauded by many as a classic - some even say his best.

In my opinion its a classic JUST because its a Cooder album. To me however his classic albums were made in the eighties and beyond.This is just of course a matter of opinion. In the eighties Ry moved on from more traditional folk/blues stylings to a more contemporary electric rhythm and blues feel - so it just depends what you prefer.

Paradise and Lunch was a step in the direction of what he would further explore in albums such as "Bop Till You Drop". Songs like Tattler and It's all Over Now would easily fit on "Bop Till You Drop" stylistically.

There are also acoustic blues worksongs like tamp em up , and traditional rag time / folk blues like Ditty Wah Ditty still in the mix.

With albums like Bop Till You Drop,Borderline , Slide Area and ESPECIALLY Get Rhythm, for me Ry really finds his voice , AND even more importantly his signature beefy Slide guitar sound. This is something that by his own admission he was struggling to achieve in the 70's. Jesus On The Mainline has become a signature track by Cooder, but the origional version on here imo is his weakest attempt to date.

Everything I've said here is subjective .Ry Cooder is my favourite guitarist, and I listen to this album a lot.I'm just comparing it to other Cooder albums. 3.5 - 4
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable..., 12 Nov 2008
This review is from: Paradise And Lunch (Audio CD)
...but not one of his best (there are so many to choose from). Still, full of Ry Cooder's lovely bluesy vocals and GORGEOUS guitar playing, so all in all, pretty good.
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If Bob like it..., 6 Oct 2006
This review is from: Paradise And Lunch (Audio CD)
Bob Dylan played A Married Man's a Fool on his radio show, what a song.
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Paradise And Lunch
Paradise And Lunch by Ry Cooder (Audio CD - 1974)
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