Ry Cooder and Corridos Famosos: Live "From this rich catalog, Cooder cherry-picked only a dozen songs to include on Live but they’re fairly representative of his eclectic oeuvre. His picks also feature plenty of his guitar playing, which will please fans who felt (as I sometimes did) that his recent albums were a bit stingy with his greatest asset. " "The shows also were a family affair. The Corridos Famosos include Ry’s son Joachim on drums, Joachim’s wife Juliet Commagere on vocals, and her brother Robert Francis on bass, as well as an old friend and collaborator, Flaco Jimenez, the Tejano accordionist who was at Cooder’s side when he played this venue 34 years earlier. Terry Evans, another veteran of the 1977 shows, handles backup vocals, along with Arnold McCuller, filling in for Cooder’s other longtime singing partner Bobby King." Don't miss the clip at the end of the review. [more inside]
John Campbell was a blues guitarist from Shreveport, Louisiana, mostly known for his skill with the slide guitar. His career was cut short in 1993, on the brink of national and international fame, when he died of a heart attack at the age of 41. Over on youtube, user louisianahaywire has uploaded some live footage from a 1986 performance: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9.
A little over 30 years ago singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell had her limo driver conduct her to the humble home of bluesman Furry Lewis. Joni was out to cop a little inspiration, which she apparently did, as she subsequently named a song after him. At that point, the name of Furry Lewis was suddenly made known to millions of people who'd never heard of him before. Perhaps a few of those folks even sought out Lewis' recordings. Course, back then there were no CD reissues, no YouTube, no mp3s floating around in the ether. But you can check out Mister Furry Lewis now: no need to have your limousine take you to the ghetto! Oh, but as far as Joni's tune, well, Furry wasn't all that pleased about it.
While some people like their Kottkes all modern & full of links, I'll take mine old skool. Ladies & gentlemen, the greatest 12 string slide guitarist that ever lived.
For murder ballads, here's your Mississippi John Hurt's Louis Collins and your Grayson & Whitter's Ommie Wise. Then, for some early white blues bottleneck guitar, here's your Frank Hutchison's K. C. Blues. Not to mention Charley Patton's Screamin' And Hollerin' The Blues. All courtesy the Internet Archives 78 RPM tag. where there is way more--like Bix Beiderbecke's first record, Davenport Blues, Louis Armstrong's Ain't Misbehavin' and Geeshie Wiley's Last Kind Words, among many others. Then, for more, Nugrape Records has an mp3 page. The standout there, at least for me, is Gus Cannon's Poor Boy Long Ways From Home. As for their namesake, the Nugrape Twins, well, the Archive has the mp3 of I've Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape. And don't let me omit mentioning PublicDomain4U. They have Mississippi John Hurt's Frankie, for one. Tyrone's Record and Phonograph Links will lead you to more 78 RPM goodness. And don't forget the inestimable and erudite vacapinta first directed us to Dismuke's Virtual Talking Machine.
Ry Cooder once said Dark Was The Night--Cold Was The Ground was the most soulful, transcendent piece of American music recorded in the 20th Century. Unearthly and music of the spheres were common descriptions long before both became fact when it was included on a golden record was affixed to the star bound Voyager space probe. My first encounter with Dark Was The Night was while watching, and then listening to the soundtrack album of, Piero Paulo Pasolini’s The Gospel According To St. Matthew--or as it is known in Sicily kickin' Bootsville, Il Vangelo de Matteo--which is, in my humble opinion, the Greatest. Jesus. Movie. Evar. Ironically, coincidentally and serendipitously, it was an apt choice by Pasolini, as the hymn from which Blind Willie Johnson's wordless moan derives is a song about Christ’s passion—his suffering and crucifixion. (Continued with much more within)