I top rate this product because I am a Ry Colder fan and because in my view the Chicken Skin Review is his best assemblage of musicians. It is perhaps not quite up to the quality of the Live album which most Colder fans will be familiar with but has the same line up and is well worth a listen. For the price, it is exceptional value.
I like Cooder's work, both studio and live recordings. This new live edition from the past is OK, but far from his best works! Sometimes, while listening this concert, it seems that Ry and the band are not focused enough, and that he even forgot the lyrics few times. It could be cute though but when comparing to his recent Live recording with the Corridos Famosos this album is way behind. However, quality of the vinyl disc is excellent, so is the sound.
An album released recently, during a tour in 1977 that also resulted in the excellent live album "Show Time". The show is indeed similar, with Flaco Jimenez on fire. The album "Show Time" has the edge, and the soundscape works better there, but for a Ry Cooder fan this is still very good - any chance of hearing these songs are worth the dollar.
Initially I was a little disappointed with the recording. On several more listenings I took less notice of the recording and became overwhelmed with the brilliant musicianship and playing on this cd. I have a number of Cooder CD's, but I felt there was a beautiful uniqueness about the style of playing. Exceptional, an amazing uncomercial feel about it. I even became more forgiving about the recording, it wasn't as disappointing as I thought.
This is the original Chicken Skin era line-up and captured on fine form here. If you're a Ry Cooder fan you need this. This is Americana in spades before the term had even been invented. Flaco and crew are on fire.
Actually, my title is a little unfair. I don't think Ry Cooder has ever not been in his prime. His most recent releases are in my humble opinion just as much a celebration of taste and virtuosity as his earliest eponymous album.
Although his catalogue of releases has included 'Showtime' which was a live release there has been very little available of his concerts other than via the bootleggers. Indeed, I'm not sure this is not from a previous bootleg which I purchased nearly 20 years ago. However, this is better packaged and without the timing 'pips' which meant that it was from a radio recording of some kind.
Anyway, back to the music. Yes, perhaps there could be a slightly better fidelity in the soundstage but you'll quickly find that is entirely made transparent by the sheer beauty of Cooder's delivery. A great part of this album is actually an acoustic set with one or two other musicians or backing singers. Every performance is worthy of note but my favourites have to be 'One Meatball', if only because Cooder has been entirely responsible for keeping alive this wonderful piece of Americana (for which he should receive some kind of Congressional medal, imho) and 'Fool for a cigarette' which just keeps you engaged from start to finish. "Let Your Light Shine On Me" is a tribute I suspect to the Bahamian musician Joseph Spence - it is certainly delivered in that style.
If you are an audiophile and you pass on this album then you are an audiophilistine because as far as performances go it does not get better than this. Cooder demonstrates that he has to be taken seriously as one of the world's leading guitarists.