Ry Cooder : Smack Dab in the Middle
You call it goose bumps. Hawaiians call it chicken skin. And music that gives you "chicken skin" is what Ry Cooder delivers on his 1976 release. Here, the musicologist takes us into a sunny and casual setting where he introduces us to two artists we may have otherwise never enjoyed, the king of Hawaiian guitarists Gabby Pahinui ( On "Chloe" and "Yellow Roses") , and the legendary accordion player Flaco Jiminez. To say Jiminez steals the show on Cooder's cover of the Jim Reeves classic "He'll Have to Go" is to misunderstand Cooder's intent. Ry Cooder is a modest man who has always given great musicians a chance to shine.
My favorite track is Jesse Stone's "Smack Dab in the Middle", which features lyrics A Rolling Stone reviewer suggested may be Cooder's motto:
Pick me a town in any clime
People like a rocking time
Stay awake all day and night
And everybody's feeling good and right