An unusual mix of musician and anthropologist, Ry Cooder has voyaged through the exotic rhythms of the Americas for nearly 40 years, leaving his mark on such luminaries as the Rolling Stones and Lowell George in the process. The problem with this two-disc anthology is that it isn’t big enough to encompass the kaleidoscopic shades of Ry, even if it has been produced by his son Joachim.
There’s still plenty to enjoy, whether it’s his brisk rejig of Johnny Cash’s “Get Rhythm”, the Louisiana brass and gospel voices of “Jesus On The Mainline”, or the joyfully sparkling guitars and voices in “Little Sister”. His soundtrack work is represented by spine-tingling excerpts from Paris, Texas and Southern Comfort, and his talent for whisking up a polyrhythmic stew of blues, cajun and zydeco shines on “Let’s Work Together”. Yet surely vintage Cooder roof-raisers like “It’s All Over Now” or “Smack Dab In The Middle” would have been better bets than slight instrumentals such as “Smells Like Money”?
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