Ry Cooder and a ten piece Mexican brass band bring nothing but pure flavor to Live At Great American Music Hall!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
In a career that stretches back to a blues band formed with Jackie DeShannon in 1963, Ry Cooder has done it all. Over the past few years some incessant political harping from the artist had this critic simply moving on. The production efforts on Buena Vista Social Club seem to have sent Cooder into a new although eclectic musical wheelhouse that is brilliantly on display with Live At The Great American Music Hall.
Make no mistake, this is a raucous live recording. If crowd noise is a pet peeve then you are warned but with the advise that you attempt to look past that and simply listen. There are many pieces to the musical puzzle but this most visceral of efforts is a true celebration of music captured over two nights in San Francisco. Some old friends and musical co-conspirators join Cooder, Terry Evans and the legendary Flaco Jimenez while Ry's son Joachim Cooder holds down the drum chair like a champ. Opening with "Crazy 'Bout An Automobile" and including some incredibly interesting reharms of some Woody Guthrie tunes including "Vigilante Man" we find a set list that seems to grow and develop much in the same was as Cooder's prolific talent. The release closes with a delightful cover of Leadbelly's "Goodnight Irene"
Ry Cooder has no specific wheelhouse having played rock, blues, reggae, and folk. This inspired Tex-Mex flavored offering may be the closest thing to the expected while only being his second live release in his storied career. Nonesuch is a label that embraces the harmonic road less traveled and this release from Ry Cooder is one of their best for the year.
Tracks: Crazy 'Bout An Automobile; Why Don't You Try Me; Boomer's Story; Lord Tell Me Why; Do Re Mi / School Is Out; The Dark End Of The Street; El Corrido De Jesse James; Wooly Bully / Volver Volver; Vigilante Man; Goodnight Irene.
Personnel: Ry Cooder: Vocals, Guitar; Terry Evans: Vocals; Arnold McCuller: Vocals; Juliette Commagere: Vocals; Joachim Cooder: Drums; Robert Francis: Bass; Flaco Jimenez: Accordion.
La Banda Juvenil
Edgar Castro: Timbale / Snare; Everardo Rodriguez: Bass Drum; Pablo Molina: Sousaphone; Carlos "Carlitos" Gonzalez: Trumpet; Arturo Gallardo: Clarinet / Alto Sax / Bass Sax; Julian Diaz: Trumpet; Abel Guerra: Trombone; Alonso Chavez: Alto Horn; Gilberto Carbajal: Trumpet; Willie Jimenez: Clarinet.