Release Date: Aug 29, 2011
Record label: Nonesuch
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Roots Rock
Cooder follows his garlanded "California trilogy" with a fierce state-of-the-nation album. Musically, it's grounded in the blues, folk and Tex-Mex the guitarist explored in the 1970s, but its songs belong to modern times. "No Banker Left Behind" cocks a snook at the financiers who have "robbed the nation blind" to jaunty mandolin. The growling "I Want My Crown" swipes at the greed that brings "war without end" and the lush "Dirty Chateau" looks at the hypocrisy surrounding Latin immigration.
After completing his epic California Trilogy, with its stories of life in his home state in the 40s and 50s, Ry Cooder returns with a solo project that is as refreshing, brave and original as his early recordings in the 70s. This time round there are no elaborate narratives, but there is a common theme: these are songs of a broken, divided society and the gap between rich and poor, but with the anger matched against humour. He's a master at setting bleak or thoughtful lyrics against jaunty melodies.
Ry Cooder is an oft overlooked national treasure and the secret backbone of the roots/Americana revival. His latest release is a timely soundtrack for the next Great Depression. Thank goodness that legendary American artists still have the courage to challenge and interpret our national climate. A host of great American songwriters have given us substantial statements over the last few years: Randy Newman’s Harps and Angels, Paul Simon’s So Beautiful or So What, and even Bob Dylan’s Modern Times have mused over the state of the American soul.
Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down, issued between two national election cycles, is the most overtly political album Ry Cooder has ever released, and one of his funniest, most musically compelling ones, too. Cooder looks deeply into his musical past using his entire Americana musical arsenal: blues, folk, ragtime, norteño, rock, and country here. Opener "No Banker Left Behind" updates Civil War-era marching music.
As good a riposte to the grubby, grabbing times we live in as any artist has mustered. Andy Fyfe 2011 When Ry Cooder recorded his first two albums, collections of songs by the likes of Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie that evoked the desperate times of the Great Depression, he could scarcely have imagined that 40 years later he’d be singing of the same old problems, but relating them to modern times. In the intervening years since that eponymous 1970 debut and the following year’s Into the Purple Valley, Cooder has learned to trust his own songwriting rather than relying on his encyclopaedic folk and blues knowledge, and few of his nearly 30 albums and soundtracks have been as strong as this.
Who needs Lewis Black, Bill Maher or Jon Stewart when you have Ry Cooder? The famed slide guitarist and world music enthusiast releases his most incisive and sardonic political album, mixing wry observations on bankers, politicians and war mongers into upbeat, even jovial rock, blues, Latin, gospel, Tex-Mex, folk and reggae with more hooks and choruses than any of those standup guys ever could. Twenty pages of lyrics help the cause as Cooder turns into a sardonic, crotchety old coot whose working class messages are enhanced by sharp musical chops honed over a wildly eclectic four decade career. Katharine Whalen & Her FascinatorsMadly Love(Five Head)Rating: There’s none of the “hot” jumpin’ jive jazz of the Squirrel Nut Zippers to be found on this set of quirky indie pop, sung with offbeat charm by that band’s chanteuse.