A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.
The music reminds me a lot of early Little Feat, which is a good thing. The sound is somewhat similar as well, which is to say that it is natural and musical, nothing like the hyped-up hi-fi sound of his TAS-listed album Jazz — and that’s a good thing as well.
There are some great songs here, including My Old Kentucky Home, One Meat Ball and How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live. It may even be his best album.
Very rich and natural with a strong bottom end and real texture up top. The top end is nice and open, with good separation between parts. So good!
Easily the best side two we heard in our shootout! You get a bigger soundstage, more energy, a strong bottom end, and right on the money tonality for the brass and guitars.
Like any Ry Cooder album, part of the charm here is the selection of unusual instruments that Ry and his cronies choose to play. But the variety of instruments alone are not what makes it so enjoyable; it’s that Cooder has a knack for knowing exactly what elements will work musically in a song. Anyone can find a few exotic elements and throw them together, but our man Ry has the good sense to use only the ideas and instruments that work for the material.
It’s why Jazz, Chicken Skin Music, and Buena Vista Social Club — albums that are dramatically different from one another — are all so successful. A lot of people can do these things, but only Ry can do them this well.
One of the top guys at Warners, Lee recorded and mixed this album (with the help of three other engineers), as well as a number of others by Ry Cooder. You’ll also find his name on many of the best Doobie Brothers, Gordon Lightfoot and Frank Sinatra album credits, albums we know to have potentially excellent sound — not to mention an album most audiophiles know all too well, Rickie Lee Jones’ debut. His pop and rock engineering credits run for pages. Won the Grammy for Strangers in the Night even.
The most amazing jazz piano trio recording we know of is on the list as well: The Three (Shelly Manne, Ray Brown and Joe Sample), along with most of the other Direct to Disc recordings released on Eastwind.
Do Re Mi
My Old Kentucky Home (Turpentine and Dandelion Wine)
How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live
Police Dog Blues
Goin’ to Brownsville
Dark Is the Night
Cooder’s eponymous debut creates an intriguing fusion of blues, folk, rock & roll, and pop, filtered through his own intricate, syncopated guitar; Van Dyke Parks and Lenny Waronker’s idiosyncratic production; and Parks and Kirby Johnson’s string arrangements… Cooder’s need to stretch, tempered with a reverence for the past, helps to create a completely original work that should reward adventurous listeners.