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14
4.4 out of 5 stars
I, Flathead
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2008
I had to write a few words to offer a counter view to the guy who shows a complete lack of creative understanding of this album's raison d'etre. As for the comment about it being for, 'nostalgic, over 60's American males', well if you liked the recent Coen Bros movie, 'No Country for Old Men' then you'll understand the sentiments expressed through this music.
This is a masterpiece of understatement and contains some all time classics. 'Can I Smoke in Here' and 'Flathead One More Time' are condensed movies that create their own quirky mis-en-scene with believable, fleshed out characters, lamenting the onset of old age and the changes that are a comin'. There is an air of hedonistic abandon and black humour in some tracks, desperation and melancholy in others, yet all are born out of the eclectic musical styles of 20thC American - that includes Latino too - popular music. A language that Ry Cooder is an honorary professor of. Buy it and be moved! In the words of the great man himself: "What a world: smile today, cry tomorrow".
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2009
Wey hey hey...at long last Ry Cooder returns to electric slide. After over 20 years of unbelievably eclectic musical wanderings, and in spite of this being labelled a 'concept' album and the final instalment of the California trilogy that began with the brilliant "Chavez Ravine", this is in many senses a follow-up to 1987's "Get Rhythm", and is none the worse for it.

Delving into a variety of musical genres well-trodden by Cooder over the years - such as the rock'n'roll of "Ridin' With The Blues" "Drive Like I Never Been Hurt" and "Pink-O Boogie", the 1940's influenced "Steel Guitar Heaven" "Filipino Dance Hall Girl" and "Spayed Kooley", the world music of "Fernando Sez" and the film noir of "Can I Smoke In Here", not to mention the inspiringly titled ballad "My Dwarf Is Getting Tired", this album touches all Cooder's familiar bases and sounds like it was a real labour of love from start to finish.

As someone who was largely disappointed by his previous "My Name Is Buddy" album, this is a stunning return to form and is probably my favourite album of 2008. Where does he go from here? That'll be interesting.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 3 September 2008
I'm not what you'd call a die-hard Cooder fan, but anyone who likes his older stuff (especially back from the 70's) will love this concept album. What really makes it for me is the combination of his sense of humour combined with some of his best music in years (IMHO).

As he writes in the notes (in his alter-ego, "Kash Buk"), "You got your hard times, your good times, a dog story... and a forbidden-race-love song."

First time I played it I wondered what it was all about - background music it ain't - but stick it in the car CD player (as Kash recommends) and it comes to life.

I've only played it about half a dozen times but I'm singing the songs already.

With regard to the first review, I'm not over 60 but I do love musical-Americana and Ry Cooder does it brilliantly. I have no involvement/knowledge re' the post-war California lakebed racing scene (and it doesn't matter if you have no idea what that is) but this record creates an atmosphere which is both amusing and ghost-like which I can relate to - even on a wet English morning in Wiltshire!

Trying to categorise the music is difficult but most of it comes nearest to Country - with a strong blues influence as you'd expect. There's a lot of spoken word too but it's either hilarious (Steel Guitar Heaven, Fernando Sez) or spooky (Can I Smoke in here?, Flathead One More Time) and well worth the effort.

If you like this genre, buy it. You won't be disappointed!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2008
This is a very good album indeed, a SONG album, Maybe Ry sorta felt he didn't need to whip out his slide this time around, (it makes a brief show on 'PINK 'O BOOGIE') sort of imagine a Beach Boys album without any harmonies and you get the idea. Ry's singing is very strong and confident although a little affected at times, even apeing Mick Jagger on the Stones-like 'WAITIN' FOR A GIRL'. '5,000 COUNTRY MUSIC SONGS' will probably in time be covered by every musician/singer in Nashville. The production is first class and sounds great relaxing in your favourite chair on your own by lamplight. The killer track is 'LITTLE TRONA GIRL' sung by Juliette Commagere with Ry in 'Duane Eddy mode', this is so touching and lovely it could make a stone statue weep...absolutely beautiful and a brilliant closer to a real fine collection of songs...miss this at your peril !.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2008
I could be wrong butI get the impression that Mr Cooder has been listening to a lot of Tom Waits recently and that is no bad thing. Great album both musically and lyrically, could have done with some more of his trademark slide guitar but no complaints really.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
These days, Ry Cooder has become a musical novelist and I happen to believe that his new format of album making is quietly revolutionary. After the awe inspiring "Chavez Ravine", here is another great example of what a concept album should sound like. Mysterious, iconic, intruiging and totally musical.

In an age where we can, with a few lazy clicks of our mouse download a few tracks of an album without commiting to the whole thing entirely, it's great to still have a modern artist like Ry who can make you cough up the full amount, and for once, our lazy MP3 heads don't feel cheated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is in fact one of Ry's best ever albums.By far the best of the Californian "trilogy".Great to hear him singing on EVERY track.I felt short changed with Chavez Ravine because there were far too many other artists doing the lead vocals.

I don't understand people who don't like his singing and still claim to be fans?! Thats part of the package , and he proved when i saw him in Edinburgh recently that he is actually a fine blues/rock/folk singer.

Great writing,great playing and great singing.I Flathead is classic cooder, and deserves to be huge.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2008
If you like the recent crop of character fuelled narrative records from Ry, then this is for you.

Paints wonderful images with his lyrics and often profound emotions with his music. A true new world genius.
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on 14 October 2011
Ry Cooder's "I, Flathead" must be the best album ever about motor maniacs. Not being that interested myself in speed cars, I could actually consider, if not driving myself, at least watch a drag race of kind. The odd story about the fictive Kash Buk musician and his band add yet one more dimension to the album. Wonderful!
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on 16 April 2013
Once you hear this you will not want to take it of the CD player or your MP3 a wonderful story from start to finish..
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