As there is only one other review of this masterpiece I just had to lend a hand into leading other people into the music of good old Ryland. A magnificent guitar player and an o.k. singer, the two disciplines seem to gel with each other to produce music which at first seems too easy and lazy but once you get hooked you'll move on to the two later masterpieces "Into the Purple Valley" and the seminal "Boomer's Story". "Ry Cooder" his first commercial album is filled with Woody Guthrie style mid west folk and blues and finishes with three blues tracks, my favourite being Sleepy John Estes "Goin' to Brownsville". The other stand out tracks on the album are "How can a poor man stand such times and live", "Alimony" and "Do Re Mi" but really you will just have to buy the C.D. and get into the groove and listen to Ry's fingerwork and slide playing which at times is awesome. I liked this period of his music the best, as I am not into Texmex or his later Cuban styles, so if want to hear the early Ry at work with his excellent band of musicians, including Van Dyke Parks on piano, get this C.D. as your starting point. You will not be disappointed.
You can trust me on this one - I have been listening to this record/CD since it first came out way back in 1970! It's a stayer - not something you have continuously on your player, but songs you come back to, time and again. They're all covers, apart from his own excellent instrumental 'Available space' - but there's some real crackers here, with fantastic guitar playing and Cooder's trademark melancholy/wistfulness/whatever. Top numbers are really all of them, with the exception of 'One meat ball' - too much over the top dripping-with-pathos (or bathos). On Alimony you even get backing vocals by Gloria Jones & co, who also sang with Neil Young and Little Feat (and T Rex, of course). Chris Ethridge and Roy Estrada play bass on some numbers; Van Dyke Parks on piano. I still like some of his later work, especially the one with Ali Farka Toure, but his first two albums - this one and 'Through the Purple Valley' - are still among my favourites, 40 years on!
This 1970 self titled recording is the debut from Californian guitarist/singer/songwriter Ry Cooder. Here he uses a rootsy folky blues style coupled with a laid back Californian drawl to produce 11 tracks of pretty fine music. Rooted in the classic story-telling style of blues and coupled with quite a satirical sense of humour, Cooder started his career off with a foot tapping set that raises a smile. Add his laconic delivery and some great guitar picking into the mix and this is an excellent and entertaining set. From the humour of Alimony through to the superbly moody closer, dark is the night, one of my favourite tracks of slide blues, I love the album.
This 1995 disc is a barebones release of the album, with minimum liner notes, and no extras on the disc. The sound has allegedly been remastered, but still sounds a bit murky and Cooder's voice lost a little in the mix. It's not bad, and still a good buy, it's just that I feel that with today's techniques a remastering opf this album would make into something really spectacular. 4 stars.
If you have heard a lot of Ry Cooder, and like his stuff - you will like this. It's generally authentic folk/blues with some occasional of the wall arrangements added to give some tracks a decidedly leftfield sound.
I started with the "Get Rhythm" album.Both this and the likes of Bop Till You Drop are to my ears more accessible to the casual music fan.By the eighties Ry had developed a more mainstream R&B sensibility , especially with his voice.
Here,he adopts the kind of wailing that you might hear on the old folk and blues records that he is covering.Not his best, but an impressive 1st album for sure. The last track "Dark Was The Night", a bottleneck acoustic guitar solo is essential, and totally indicative of his sound and style.(later used on the soundtrack of Paris Texas etc)
If you don't already have any of Ry's stuff, start with "Get Rhythm", "Bop Till You Drop", "Borderline" ,or "I Flathead" - and then work your way back to the early stuff like this.
Ry Cooders first solo outing from 1970, after The Rising Sons and Captain Beefheart he was on his way with what has become a truly great cd (LP), with songs like Alimony, Do Re Mi, Goin to Brownsville and instrumentals, Available Space and the classic slide of "Dark Is The Night".Cooder had (still has) the touch, both on guitar and mandolin, a fine musician with a classic album.
This album focuses on a small section of Ry Cooders range and style. It is mostly about poverty, the depression, the dustbowl and the general unfairness of life. Not an appealing subject matter, you would think but I love it. Ry Cooders talent brings it to life. I play it all the time.