Sunday, 17 January 2010

Sunday Morning Coffee with Ry Cooder

Rylance Peter Cooder was born in LA in 1947 but I only got to know him in the early 1970s.  The same flatmate who had introduced me to John Prine had Ry’s 2nd and 3rd albums (Into the Purple Valley, and Boomer’s Story respectively).  In those days albums were LPs and, when I got my first stereo in 1974, I think, I recorded these LPs onto long gone cassettes. 

I loved his music.  I didn’t know of his virtuosity on guitar: I just loved the songs and the sound.  Songs of the Dustbowl (1930s), the Depression, hobos.  Unfortunately many of the songs I love aren’t on YouTube but there is enough.

I start with Leadbelly’s song, “Vigilante Man”

Vigilante Man

This video is from “The Old Grey Whistle Test” which was BBC2’s brilliant 1970’s music programme introduced by Whispering Bob Harris.   I don’t remember this song on the programme but I do remember being excited because I’d heard he was appearing.

I stay with The Old Grey Whistle Test for my next choice.

Dark End of the Street

It’s worth waiting until about 2m 47s in to see and hear his brilliance.  Lie back and close your eyes.  Put your coffee down first, though.

Brilliant, wasn’t it.

We go back to his first album (“Ry Cooder”) for this next vid.

How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live

Recorded at an 1987 concert, this has Cooder looking as though he’s on something he shouldn’t.

Nine minutes of magic.  Hope you agree.  It’s time to say Good Night not to me or you but to Irene.

Good Night Irene

Ry says much more than simply Good Night!

Where can we go now after this?  We’re going to the end with another girl.

Maria Elena

Ry goes acoustic for this 6min instrumental of solos.

Maria must have been some girl to have this written about her.


I hope you’ve enjoyed your coffee and the music too.  I have absolutely loved putting this together: the most fun I’ve had so far.

Well, that’s it for another week.  Tune in again next week and thanks for listening.


  1. My father told me, lying on his bed of death; he said woman, she's gonna make it, don't fool yourself.

    The Very Thing - my favourite Ry Cooder of all time. Great selection here too, Calum.

  2. James, Thanks. Re The Very Thing: you're not talking from personal experience are you? :)