Release Date: Sep 10, 2013
Record label: Nonesuch
Genre(s): Folk, Blues, Latin, Pop/Rock, Blues-Rock, Album Rock, Modern Electric Blues, Roots Rock, Country-Rock, Film Music, International, Instrumental Rock, Film Score, Mexican Traditions, Ethnic Fusion, Contemporary Blues, Slide Guitar Blues
Following the five themed studio albums Cooder’s made over the last decade (he’d probably hate the word “concept”), his concert offering is a determinedly more frivolous affair, and all the better for it. All but two of the 12 tracks are cover versions, including live Ry regulars Crazy ’Bout An Automobile, Why Don’t You Try Me and Dan Penn’s Dark End Of The Street. In that sense, it’s a précis of his past stage performances – a greatest live hits, if you will – delivered with verve and aplomb by an ensemble featuring longtime cohort Flaco Jiminez on accordion, occasionally augmented by the 10-piece Mexican brass band La Banda Juvenil.
Recorded with a full band over two nights in 2011, this Ry Cooder & Corridos Famosos concert offering marks the guitarist's first live recording under his own name since 1988. His band is, as one would expect, full of killer musicians, many of them old friends. The vocalists include Juliette Commagere, Terry Evans, and Arnold McCuller. Son Joachim holds down the drum chair while Robert Francis plays bass and Flaco Jiménez appears intermittently on accordion.
Dynamic, legendary slide guitarist Ry Cooder’s older age has suited him well, as he’s arguably released some of his strongest studio material during the later stages of his career. Namely, Chavez Ravine, Cooder’s 2005 Grammy-nominated concept album that told the story of a Mexican-American community demolished to make room for public housing, and 2011’s amazing, politically-inclined Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down saw Cooder not just concentrating on great musicianship but flexing and building his conceptual muscle, exploring stories beyond his usual, more traditional troubadorial limitations. Now, Cooder has released a live album in collaboration with Corridos Famosos: Live In San Francisco, recorded at the Great American Music Hall.