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Ry Cooder

Whether serving as a session musician, solo artist, or soundtrack composer, Ry Cooder's chameleon-like fretted instrument virtuosity, songwriting, and choices of material encompass an incredibly eclectic range of North American musical styles, including rock & roll, blues, reggae, Tex-Mex, Hawaiian, Dixieland jazz, country, folk, R&B, gospel, and vaudeville. The 16-year-old Cooder began his career in 1963 in a blues band with Jackie DeShannon and then formed the short-lived Rising Sons in 1965 with Taj Mahal and Spirit drummer Ed Cassidy. Cooder met producer Terry Melcher through the Rising Sons and was invited to perform at several sessions with Paul Revere & the Raiders. During his subsequent career as a session musician, Cooder's trademark slide guitar work graced the recordings of such artists as Captain Beefheart (Safe as Milk), Randy Newman, Little Feat, Van Dyke Parks, the Rolling Stones (Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers), Taj Mahal, and Gordon Lightfoot. He also appeared on the soundtracks of Candy and Performance.

Cooder made his debut as a solo artist in 1970 with a self-titled album featuring songs by Leadbelly, Blind Willie Johnson, Sleepy John Estes, and Woody Guthrie. The follow-up, Into the Purple Valley, introduced longtime cohorts Jim Keltner on drums and Jim Dickinson on bass, and it and Boomer's Story largely repeated and refined the syncopated style and mood of the first. In 1974, Cooder produced what is generally regarded as his best album, Paradise and Lunch, and its follow-up, Chicken Skin Music, showcased a potent blend of Tex-Mex, Hawaiian, gospel, and soul, and featured contributions from Flaco Jimenez and Gabby Pahinui. In 1979, Bop Till You Drop was the first major-label album to be recorded digitally. In the early '80s, Cooder began to augment his solo output with soundtrack work on such films as Blue Collar, The Long Riders, and The Border; he has gone on to compose music for Southern Comfort, Goin' South, Paris, Texas, Streets of Fire, Alamo Bay, Blue City, Crossroads, Cocktail, Johnny Handsome, Steel Magnolias, and Geronimo. Music by Ry Cooder (1995) compiled two discs' worth of highlights from Cooder's film work.

In 1992, Cooder joined Keltner, John Hiatt, and renowned British tunesmith Nick Lowe, all of whom had played on Hiatt's Bring the Family, to form Little Village, which toured and recorded one album. Cooder turned his attention to world music, recording the album A Meeting by the River with Indian musician V.M. Bhatt. Cooder's next project, a duet album with renowned African guitarist Ali Farka Touré titled Talking Timbuktu, won the 1994 Grammy for Best World Music Recording.

His next world crossover would become one of the most popular musical rediscoveries of the 20th century. In 1997, Cooder traveled to Cuba to produce and play with a group of son musicians who had little exposure outside of their homeland. The resulting album, Buena Vista Social Club, was a platinum-selling international success that made stars of Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, and Rubén González, and earned Cooder another Grammy. He continued to work on projects with his Buena Vista bandmates, including a collaboration with Manuel Galbán in 2003 titled Mambo Sinuendo. His other work in the 2000s included sessions with James Taylor, Aaron Neville, Warren Zevon, and Spanish diva Luz Casal.

In 2005, Cooder released Chavez Ravine, his first solo album since 1987's Get Rhythm; the album was the first entry in a trilogy of recordings about the disappearance of Los Angeles' cultural history as a result of gentrification. Chavez Ravine was followed by My Name Is Buddy in 2007, and the final chapter in the saga, I, Flathead in 2009. In 2010, Cooder was approached by Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains to produce an album. Moloney had been obsessed with an historical account of the San Patricios, a band of immigrant Irish soldiers who deserted the American Army during the Mexican-American War in 1846 to fight for the other side, against the Manifest Destiny ideology of James Polk's America. Cooder agreed and the end result was San Patricio, which brings this fascinatingly complex tale to life. In early 2011, Cooder was taken by a headline about bankers and other moneyed citizens who'd actually profited from the bank bailouts and resulting mortgage and economic crisis, and wrote the song "No Banker Left Behind," which became the first song on 2011's Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down, an album that reached all the way back to his earliest recordings for musical inspiration while telling topical stories about corruption -- political and social -- the erasure and the rewriting of American history, and an emerging class war. A month after its release, Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti's fabled City Lights publishing house issued Cooder's first collection of short fiction entitled Los Angeles Stories. He continued to follow his socio-political muse with Election Special, released in the summer of 2012. In 2013, Cooder released Live in San Francisco, his first live album in 35 years, with Corridos Famosos (son Joachim on percussion, Flaco Jimenez on accordion, Robert Francis on bass, and vocalists Terry Evans, Arnold McCuller, and Juliette Commagere). The ten-piece Mexican brass band La Banda Juvenil also guested. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

brittony.mar t i n
Sunny's Tune is just mesmerizing!
michoro
what a treasure he is . plz always bop on rye !
mrschaffins
yes
thank you for all your work on getting the Buena Vista Social Club to America!!!
please play more into the purple valley,thank you
it takes guts to take one of the most popular rock tunes and make it your own without taking away from its original meaning, Elvis and Carl Perkins would be impressed. Blue Suede shoes, well I think he sounds just as good them if not better in some respects. Now all you rock critics don't crucify me for saying that, ha, ha, boo hoo, ho, ho, who cares right. I'm just jammin and if you don't like that than jump off a cliff
great f**king slide work
The album Jazz, 1979, is a great record. It should be mentioned in any account of his work.
great music ....
I have to ask about this...does anyone know where I can get the Ry Cooder clip of the soundtrack to Streets of Fire...not the girl's song, but the music for the schene with Michael Pare comes back into town on the subway and whips the young gang of punks?...tha t is the coolest theme music a guy could ever want!
It was the movie Paris Texas that introduced me to Ry, thank you Paris!
I wish I was Ry Cooder.
I simply enjoy the hell out of Ry Cooder's musical interpretati o n s & compositions . Honey's Bear
I was born in '67 my dad in '44.Ry Cooder, Chicken Skin Music , Paradise and Lunch, Into the Purple Valley,and Bop (how funky was Down IN Hollywood?) , were all in heavy rotation in my house as a child . (thank you dad!) Then I rediscovered him with Ali Farka Toure , on Talking Timbuktu , with Indian Raga virtuoso V.M. Bahatt on 'Meeting by A River' and with Manuel Galbon on Mambo Sinuendo (CHECK IT). I'm skipping BVSC, cause everyone knows that. Paris, Texas. !!WOW!! you're kidding right?
susanmarsh47
Genius...Pur e Unadulterate d Genius!! :D
Wow, first time I've seen this kind of error, and I so wanted to read Ry Cooder's bio! You guys really need to have some kind of link or option for your listeners to help you out...
ggelhar
Not only should Bop be here but the soundtrack to Paris Texas is so great it deserves to be here too.
Why are you talking about Elmer Bernstein when its Ry Cooder?

Please correct this!
peterabroad
Bop til you drop should be on this discography. Theres room to make it three complete rows of the legends music/art.
what?
georgec6
what up with that bio? the Big E lights up on the scoreboard!
For a decent bio of the real Ry Cooder, check Wikipedia (http://en.w i k i p e d i a . o r g / w i k i / R y _ C o o d e r )
There are many other flubs... Pandora needs a Quality Control Officer !!
ssansbury8
www.pandora. d u h
astudio2
Is Ry Cooder his stage name? Ha!
robt3802
Hey, this is the first flub like this I have seen by the great Pandora crew. What's taking so long to get Ry Cooder's bio back? Ry Cooder station is my favorite this season.
wrightnotlef t
Ry Cooder could not be Elmer Bernstein. The dates don't work out. Pandora, you look foolish!
jr_doc_black
There must be some kind of mistake. Doesn't anyone edit these biographies?
davidmaycarp e n t r y
i would really like to learn more about ry cooder, not EBersnstien
davidmaycarp e n t r y
is ry cooder really elmer bernstien?!! ! ! ! !
Yo Pandora..... . . . w a k e up!!!!!
mzabala30
Pandora, please correct the information on Ry Cooder biography. No having the correct facts is a bad introduction for new listener of this great way of experincing music.
r0n7719
Why am I reading about Elmer Bernstien?
lunatic71
Is Ry Cooder moonlighting as Elmer Bernstien? Hey Pandora, stop catering to Pandora One and get your stuff together!
no1sfootstoo l
I have definitely arrived in the Purple Valley now, Scotty. Beam me up, will ya??
Yup, another Ry Cooder listener wondering where he is!
the bio is for elmer bernstein?
murphdm
i applaud pandora's selection, while bop & buena vista are great reaches....i appreciate this exploration of the less obvious
Hey, where's the bio? Anywho for those of you like myself who like the slide quitar check out Ry's "Paris Texas" if you can boot-it.
jon564
How can you leave out: Bop til you Drop? Buena Vista Social Club? Jazz? Borderline? Especially Bop and Borderline! Get with it Pandora.
...and why is Elmer Bernstein's bio under Ry Cooder?
Where the hell is Borderline, Bop Till You Drop, Little Village, etc.?
desertseahor s e
I was hoping for Bop til you Drop
tedbujalski
...cue up an ol' copy of 'Sticky Fingers' and listen to Ry's haunting bottleneck on 'Sister Moriphine'.. . . .
pltruj2000
the jazz album is deluxe and was influential in my upbringing. without ry cooder I may have ended up with 50% less musical development and no self esteem. Today all is 100% ok. john hyatt has been equally influential
pltruj2000
the very thing that makes you rich, makes me poor
This is so sweet slide playing!! Classic Ry!!!
Check out soundtrack album "Crossroads" better yet watch the film.
barryjohnson 4
You call him a chameleon of fretted virtuosity, I would say he transcends the frets rather effectively. Perhaps "A chameleon of strin virtuosity"
From the early days at the Ash Grove until now I stand in amazement at his endless talent and virtuosity.
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