Collection includes: 'Ry Cooder' (1970) # 7599-27510-2, 'Into the Purple Valley' (1971) # 7599-27200-2, 'Boomer's Story' (1972) # 7599-26398-2.
Though this release carries the deceptive subtitle Another Record by Ry Cooder, the virtuosic guitarist and ethnomusicological adventurer has never released another album quite like this. And neither has anyone else. After brilliant side trips into the music of pre-Castro Cuba and pre-baseball Chavez Ravine, Cooder returns to the Depression-era and Dust Bowl ballads that marked his earliest solo releases of the 1970s. Yet most of this material is original, offering a populist parable of three fellow travelers: Buddy Red Cat, Lefty Mouse, and the Reverend Tom Toad. The tradition of putting pointed social commentary in the mouths of animals extends from Animal Farm to Pogo, and Buddy seems like a feline cross between Woody Guthrie and Joe Hill–a troubadour of union solidarity, interspecies brotherhood, and radical populism.
The first multi-label spanning, American released Ry Cooder compilation does its best to present a coherent portrait of a musician whose wildly eclectic recordings and broad, four decade (and counting) list of releases makes that job all but impossible.
Chávez Ravine: A Record by Ry Cooder is the twelfth studio album by Ry Cooder. It is the first concept album and historical album by Ry Cooder which tells the story of Chávez Ravine, a Mexican-American community demolished in the 1950s in order to build public housing. The housing was never built. Ultimately the Brooklyn Dodgers built a stadium on the site as part of their move to Los Angeles. Chávez Ravine was nominated for "Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album" in 2006.
With 1980's Borderline, Ry Cooder followed the foray into R&B and soul of his previous effort, Bop Till You Drop, but this time out with a little shot of the Southwest thrown in. At the same time, he also continues the primarily electric sound of that record. As far as his selection of material goes, Borderline may sometimes lack the surprising, esoteric charm of his earlier recordings, but there are still some terrific finds, including the Tex-Mex-flavored "The Girls from Texas," which may be the album's finest moment. Other highlights include one of John Hiatt's best, the written-to-order "The Way We Make a Broken Heart," as well as Billy "The Kid" Emerson's "Crazy 'Bout an Automobile," which Cooder had been performing live for a number of years, and the soulful Maurice & Mac treasure "Why Don't You Try Me".
The risk in writing political songs, especially about specific issues and historical periods, is that over time, those that are run of the mill become dated. Not everyone can write timeless tunes like Woody Guthrie, Sam Cooke, John Lennon, and Bob Marley. Given the content of Election Special, Ry Cooder knew the risks going in and welcomed them. Using American traditional musics – raw blues, folk, and roots rock – Cooder's songs express what he considers to be, as both an artist and a pissed-off citizen, the high-stakes historical gamble of the 2012 presidential and congressional contest.
Improving upon its predecessor in virtually every way, Plains Of The Purple Buffalo uses more of what made their debut so fantastic, creating a very solid release. *Shels opts for rather vast song compositions upon this album, creating an almost dreamlike air and sprawling instrumental sections. Despite this, strong instrumentation, such as commanding guitars and pulsing drum beats, keep the release grounded enough so that it does not feel too far off for a listener to easily grasp. Brass sections are tastefully placed, usually in the more ambient, or quiet, portions of each song. This usage of brass instruments is extremely refreshing, providing a rather unique feel to quite a few songs. Consisting of a large variety of instrumental arrangement, Plains Of The Purple Buffalo does not allow a single moment to feel incomplete.