Cooder, Ry

Band members               Related acts

- Roy Astrada -- 

- John Barbeda -- 

- Max Bennett -- 

- George Bohanon - horns

- Oscar Brashear - cornet

- Bobby Bruce -- 

- Ry Cooder -- vocals, guitar, mandolin, bass

- Red Callender - bass

- Ry Cooder - vocals, guitar, accordion, mondola

- Chris Ethridge - bass

- Terry Evans - vocals

- Isaac Garcia - drums

- Hugo Gonzales - bajo sexto

- Ritchie Haward -- 

- Milt Holland -- percussion

- Atta Isaacs - slat key guitar

- Fred Jackson Jr. - sax

- Flaco Jimenez - accordion

- Herman Johnson- vocals

- Jim Keltner - drums, percussion

- Bobby King - vocals

- Henry "Red" Ojeda - bass

- Gabby Pahimui - vocals, steel guitar

- Van Dyke Parks -- keyboards

- Benny Powell - trombone

- Pat Rizzo - sax

- Russ Titleman - bajo

- Frank Villarreal - sax



- The Rising Sons





Genre: blues-rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Ry Cooder

Company: Reprise

Catalog: RS-6402

Year: 1970

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG-/VG

Comments: $2.00 scrawled on front cover (not shown in picture; minor staining on back cover

Available: SOLD

GEMM catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD

Cost: $66.00


Co-produced by Van Dyke Parks and Lenny Waronker, 1970's "Ry Cooder" is an interesting and artistically daring debut.  Tracks such as 'One Meat Ball', 'Do Re Me' and '' served to showcase Cooder's long standing interest in the blues, folk, Americana roots rock and other largely forgotten musical genres.  While his raw and strained voice was an acquired taste, the set has a rough hewn charm that's simply hard to adequately describe ...  Ever gone to see your 1st grader play in a strings concert?  Technically the results are an aural disaster, but somehow the kids' dedication makes up for musical lapses?  That's kind of the story here.  You certainly had to admire Cooder's willingness to record obscurities such as Louis Singer and Hy Zareti's 'One Meat Ball' and Woody Guthrie's 'Do Re Me'.  Accepting Cooder's voice for what it is, there's no denying his guitar prowess.  While quite a bit of the album is acoustic, tracks such as 'Alimony' and 'How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?' showcase Cooder's exquisite slide playing.  Curiously, at least to my ears the stand out tune is Cooder's lone original - the acoustic instrumental 'Available Space'.

"Ry Cooder" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Alimony   (B.L. Jones - W. Young - R. Hoggibotham) - 2:11

2.) France Chance   (Jope Caoolicott) - 2:45

3.) One Meat Ball   (Louis Singer - Hy Zareti) - 2:27

4.) Do Re Me   (Woody Guthrie) - 3:03

5.) Old Kentucky Home   (Randy Newman) - 1:45

6.) How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?   (Alfred Reed) - 2:43


(side 2)
.) Available Space (instrumental)   (Ry Cooder) - 2:11

2.) Pig Meat   (Huddie Ledbetter) - 3:07

3.) Police Dog Blues   (Arthur Blake) - 2:43

4.) Goin To Brownsville   (John Estes0 - 2:43

5.) Dark Is the Night (instrumental)   (Blind Willie Johnson) - 2:48





Genre: blues-rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Into the Purple Valley

Company: Reprise

Catalog: MS-2052

Year: 1972

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: gatefold sleeve; minor scuffing on front cover; two inch seam split along top edge

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4763

Price: $9.00

Cost: $1.00


1972's "Into the Purple Valley" was co-produced by Lenny Waronker and Jim Dickinson.  Musically the set offers up another typically odd mixture of commercial and eccentric materials.  It's overused, but the word 'Americana' readily comes to mind when listening to these eleven tracks. That said, the thing that always surprises me about this album is Cooder's voice.  Critics and fans rave on and on about his instrumental prowess (which is aptly displayed throughout the album), but the man has a great voice that's equally suited to conventional rock ('Money Honey'), soul ('Teardrops Will Fall') and his more eclectic offerings ('F.D.R. In Trinidad').  Peaking at # 113 the album also introduced Cooder to the album charts and a taste of commercial success.


"Into the Purple Valley" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) How Can You Keep Moving   (traditional - adapted by Ry Cooder) - 2:25

2.) Billy the Kid   (traditional - adapted by Ry Cooder) - 3:45

3.) Money Honey   (Jesse Stone) - 3:28

4.) F.D.R. In Trinidad   (Fitz Maclean) - 3:01

5.) Teardrops Will Fall   (Dickey Doo - Marian Smith) - 3:03

6.) Denomination Blues   (Washington Philips) - 3:58


(side 2)
.) One a Monday   (Huddie Ledbetter) - 2:52

2.) Hey Porter   (Johnny Cash) - 4:34

3.) Great Dreams from Heaven   (Jospeh Spence) - 1:53

4.) Taxes On the Farmers Feed Us All   (traditional - adapted by Ry Cooder) - 3:52

5.) Vigilante Man   (Woody Guthrie) - 4:15


First, there are no other credits for musicians; because of Ry Cooder's reputation for honesty in music, one can only assume that he plays all the instruments, including the ones with no strings. He is known as a virtuoso on almost every stringed instrument, and on Into the Purple Valley, he demonstrates this ability on a wide variety of instruments. The main focus of the music here is on the era of the Dust Bowl, and what was happening in America at the time, socially and musically. Songs by Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, and a variety of others show Cooder's encyclopedic knowledge of the music of this time, combined with an instinctive feel for the songs. 'Phenomenal' is the descriptive word to describe his playing, whether it is on guitar, Hawaiian "slack key" guitar, mandolin, or the more arcane instruments he has found. This is a must for those who love instrumental virtuosity, authentic reworkings of an era, or just plain good music.


Genre: world music

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Chicken Skin Music

Company: Reprise

Catalog: MS 2254

Year: 1976

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: original inner sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $9.00


In an age where sales are the driving motivator in music, you have to admire Ry Cooder.  Cooder''s unique in that he's always followed his own muse; even when doing so has brought him into direct conflict with the business side of the house.


1976's self-produced "Chicken Skin Music" found Coorder continuing his explorations of what were little know musical genres.  On the menu this time around were 1940s and 50s Hawaiian music; American Gospel, and (spotlighting the genre a couple of years before it's popular discovery), Tex Mex.  While all nine tracks were interesting, the album became magical when Cooder began mixing and matching the genres.  "Stand By Me" offers up a staggering mix of Gospel vocals (courtesy of Bobby King, Terry Evans and Herman Johnson), with Tex Mex backing from the likes of Flaco Jimenez.  Elsewhere, "Yellow Roses" blended conventional country with Hawaiian    (represented by steel guitarist Gabby Pahimui and slat key player Atta Isaacs).  While you'll never hear any of this on a  top-40 radio, the cross-cultural results were nothing less than fascinating.  Even though it was showered with worldwide critical favor, the set did little commercially.


"Chicken Skin Music" track listing

(side 1)

1.) The Bourgeois Blues

2.) I Got Mine

3.) Always Lift Him Up

4.) He'll Have To Go


(side 2)

1.) Smack Dab In the Middle

2.) Stand By Me

3.) Yellow Rose

4.) Chloe (instrumental)

5.) Goodnight Irene