Ry Cooder has done it all. From rock, to country, to blues and beyond, Cooder has mastered nearly every facet of music over 40-plus years of contributions, collaborations, soundtrack work, and solo efforts.
Ry Cooder started working in the ‘60s playing with an impressive array of artists that includes The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Captain Beefheart, to name but a few. Over his career, Cooder has won four Grammy awards. An accomplished slide guitarist and excelling in blues/rock and Americana, Ry Cooder is easily one of our unique treasures.
To give a thumbnail rundown of the vast career that Ry Cooder has carved out for himself it’s important to note the excellent solo releases in his catalog. Cooder had released his first solo album in 1970, the eponymously titled classic that featured a grand array of cover songs from a varied mix of songwriters.
With this album, a face was attached to the great guitar work that Cooder had contributed elsewhere prior to its release. Throughout the fertile period of the ‘70s, he continued to release a steady stream of albums that included the fantastic roots set, Paradise and Lunch (1974), followed up with Chicken Skin Music (1975), and the perfect covers set, Bop Til You Drop, from 1979.
Ry Cooder entered the ‘80s with Borderline (1981) and the slide guitar extravaganza of The Slide Area (1982), on which he covered familiar tracks with an arresting display of slide guitar prowess. Carl Perkins’ “Blue Suede Shoes,” popularized by Elvis Presley, takes on a completely new life. On the same album, he brilliantly covers Curtis Mayfield’s “Gypsy Woman,” a big hit by Brian Hyland, and a collaborative song with the great bluesman, Willie Dixon, “Which Came First.” After The Slide Area, Cooder’s output slowed down dramatically, releasing just four more albums up through I, Flathead (2008), with a large gaping hole between 1987 and 2005. During that period, Cooder was involved in a series of film soundtrack work.
One outstanding highlight is Ry Cooder’s work on the music heard in the film Crossroads starring Ralph Macchio. Crossroads was an underrated film following a young blues guitar player (Macchio) in a quest to free Willie Brown’s soul from the grasp of Old Scratch. The movie’s blistering period piece music was masterminded by Cooder, making the film even more memorable. The keeper soundtrack was released in 1986.
On August 30, Nonesuch Records will release the newest album by Ry Cooder entitled Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down, on CD. The album is also planned as a two-LP set (with a bonus CD inclusion) scheduled a few weeks later on September 13. Given the excellence of Ry Cooder’s catalog, Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down should be just as welcome an album as any of his previous works.