Guest Author - Sue Sutherland-Wood
The UFO Has Landed is the new double CD Ry Cooder anthology that has recently been released by Rhino and ambitiously sets out to cover a huge amount of musical territory since Ry has been associated with so many different genres in his extensive career. Although he has turned his hand to various projects – including folk, soundtracks, rock, and his associations with Ali Farka Touré to name only a few – Ry Cooder is particularly well known for his preservationist attitudes towards music and for delivering the old time blues to an audience who might never have discovered it otherwise. He’s also a phenomenal guitarist – especially good on the slide – and has collaborated with many important artists from the Rolling Stones to Nick Lowe.
Trying to fit this body of work into a two disc album must have been a labour of love and who better to undertake the compilation production than Cooder’s son Joachim who has done a solid and impressive job of striking a balance between variety and validity; actually, the track selection has such a wide range and spans such a long period of time – nearly forty years – that it’s easy to forget that this anthology is attributed to only one artist!
Since the discs are both so different (due to Ry’s evolution as a musician and again, because of the many different styles he has dabbled in) this is an excellent long playing party disc and with no less than 34 tracks, superb value!
The bonus track (never before released) Let’s Work Together was a highlight for me and features the amazing Buckwheat Zydeco slamming away on his accordion and lending a totally different and somehow more downhome vibe than other versions you may have encountered along the way. (Canned Heat and Wilbert Harrison to name two). Turn up the bass, yeeeah.
Paris, Texas is the soundtrack from the movie of the same name and is a haunting, melody that is as insistent as it is poignant. Almost sitar-like in its yearning, Cooder’s guitar is impeccable and provides goose bumps even with subsequent listenings.
Drive Like I Never Been Hurt co-written with son Joachim and plucked from the album I, Flathead is a unique and catchy tune that has been getting heavy rotation at my house for its Mexican sensibilities and those swirling horns in the background. Hypnotic and hook ridden – I wouldn’t lie to you.
It’s not possible to offer a thorough commentary on such a vast canon of music; in fact, even if you are familiar with Ry Cooder’s work there may well be tracks here that are unknown to you so you owe it to yourself to check out the album. Just as an aside – those of you who know my obsession with liner notes will appreciate hearing that the accompanying notes are peculiar at times but very amusing at others and well worth a read. Cooder himself is still boyishly handsome and has aged extremely well; evidently the man himself is just as timeless as the music.
On A Monday
Do Re Mi
Which Came First
The Very Thing That Makes You Rich (Makes Me Poor)
Down in Hollywood
Smells Like Money
Let’s Work Together
I Got Mine
Cherry Ball Blues
Jesus On The Mainline
Teardrops Will Fall
Theme from Southern Comfort
Tamp ‘Em Up Solid
Billy the Kid
Crazy ‘Bout An Automobile (Every Woman I Know)
Drive Like I Never Been Hurt
Feelin’ Bad Blues
How Can You Keep Migrating (Unless You Migrate Too)
Always Lift Him Up/Kanaka Wai Wai
Theme from Alamo Bay
Dark End Of The Street
Why Don’t You Try Me
Poor Man’s Shangri-La
Going Back To Okinawa
Buy The Ry Cooder Anthology: The UFO Has Landed [2 CD] now at Amazon.com!