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Thread: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #47

  1. #1
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Mar 2017
    Ottawa, Canada

    Default Blues, Stomps, & Rags #47

    Ryland "Ry" Cooder (born 1947) is a well-known and highly-regarded musician, a record and movie producer, and a short-story writer. He was born and raised in Los Angeles. According to Taj Mahal, Cooder's parents were folklorists, which might partially explain Ry's offbeat and multiple musical tastes -- my daughters, with Dad being a folklorist, also have musical preferences well outside the mainstream. Cooder began playing guitar at the age of three. While known especially for his slide guitar playing, he is a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, bass, mandolin, electric bouzouki, banjo, slide guitar, bottleneck guitar, Hawaiian, guitar, slack-key guitar and singing. He never limited himself to any genre of music, but blues came early to him. At seventeen, he started his professional career in Los Angeles, with Taj Mahal, in a band called The Rising Sons (1964-66), and sometimes played blues mandolin in this group. After the group disbanded, he continued off and on to play blues with Taj.

    He played with a great many other musicians, well-known and obscure, in the years since, either in concert or in studio. His early experience with Bill Monroe was not a highlight though. According to Wilkipedia: "As a young man Cooder performed as part of a pickup trio with Bill Monroe and Doc Watson, in which he played banjo. The trio was not a success, (“Well, son, you’re just not ready”, he remembered Monroe telling him after the first and only set he played with them), but Cooder applied banjo tunings and the three-finger roll to guitar instead." Since that time Cooder played or recorded with with John Lee Hooker, Captain Beefheart, Ali Farka Touré, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Randy Newman, David Lindley, The Chieftains, The Doobie Brothers, Carla Olson, the Textones , Little Feat, Lowell George, Buena Vista Social Club, Van Morrison, Gordon Lightfoot, Kim Carnes, The Beach Boys, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Mavis Staples, Paul Revere and The Raiders, Randy Newman, and Arlo Guthrie, among others. Clearly, Ry Cooder is highly regarded by musicians. Cooder is still an active musician, performing and recording. And he's quite an impressive blues mandolin player.

    While it is hard to find any information on some blues mandolinists, that's no problem with Cooder. For more on him, refer to the sources below.

    (Information from: "Ryland Peter 'Ry', Cooder", Wikipedia , "Rising Sons", Wikipedia , "Ry Cooder", Biography , and Taj Mahal with Stephen Foehr, Taj Mahal: Autobiography of a Bluesman, London, UK; Sanctuary Publishing, 2001.)

    Here's Ry Cooder, as a young man, playing an old Blues classic. If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Ry Cooder/Goin' to Brownsville."

    Here he is playing and singing in 1986). If the links don't work, search YouTube for "Viola Lee Blues/Ry Cooder/Crossroads Soundtrack".

    http://<a href="</a>

    (I don't know what that second URL , immediately above is; I didn't out it there and can't edit it out.)
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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    Default Re: Blues, Stomps, & Rags #47

    One of my favorites by Cooder. Simply brilliant.
    Al in PT

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