Thursday, May 22, 2014

40 Year Itch: Such A Sweet Harmony

The quickest way to get on Ry Cooder's nerves is to refer to him as a musicologist. On Paradise and Lunch released in May of 1974, you can hear why so many critics did: you get Gospel, Blues, Salvation Army Band jazz--even Burt Bacharach. But this isn't Ry Cooder's attempt to educate the masses about the history of old time music. He just wants to play music that's feelin' good. The first edition of the Rolling Stone Record Guide gave this album 5 out of 5 stars. The most recent one dropped its rating to 3 out of 5 and I'm not sure why.

As Cooder told Rolling Stone's Mikal Gilmore in 1979 "Your music should be an exchange with your audience."

Do you know who introduced me to the music of Ry Cooder? Bill Murray. Murray made sure everyone knew what he was playing in that convertible he drove in a 1978 Saturday Night Live special called Things We Did Last Summer. Next time I see him, I'll thank that big ole knucklehead.

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