It’s hard for me to recall a time when Ry Cooder wasn’t off in the background somewhere doing something few other musicians seemed all that interested in. For decades, Ry has been a musician’s musician, highly regarded as writer, session player, musicologist, collaborator, multi-instrumentalist, roots music enthusiast, producer and all-around performer. A chronic collaborator, his bio reads like a who’s who with representatives from a wide range of musical styles, including many of the biggest names in Rock, Blues, Gospel, Country and the “flicker shows.”
Ry Cooder shows and recordings are known for their texture, superb engineering, detail and consistent quality, even if what he chooses to perform can frequently fail to chart among mainstream fans. He’s just not that kind of guy. Reaching his commercial zenith with Little Village, an esoteric lineup of superior musicians in the early `90s, he lives well but despite ongoing critical acclaim, in my opinion, has failed to achieve the recognition he deserves .
I haven’t been lucky enough to see Ry Cooder perform live but if given a chance, would do everything within my power to do so. In the meantime, I do enjoy listening to hid LPs. I have a couple of his CDs but prefer listening to him on vinyl. Regardless, the mix is always impeccable, along with the playing. I’ve read that he prefers to record in analog but master digitally, exploiting the warmth of the former and the precision of the latter.
This clip shows a bit of what he does best.