Ry Cooder & Corridos - Ry Cooder & Corridos Famoso Live In San Francisco

First live album in 30 years

Following the five themed studio albums Cooder’s made over the last decade (he’d probably hate the word “concept”), his concert offering is a determinedly more frivolous affair, and all the better for it. All but two of the 12 tracks are cover versions, including live Ry regulars Crazy ’Bout An Automobile, Why Don’t You Try Me and Dan Penn’s Dark End Of The Street.

In that sense, it’s a précis of his past stage performances – a greatest live hits, if you will – delivered with verve and aplomb by an ensemble featuring longtime cohort Flaco Jiminez on accordion, occasionally augmented by the 10-piece Mexican brass band La Banda Juvenil. Cooder’s Tex-Mex sensibilities result in a complete upheaval of Woody Guthrie’s Do Re Mi, before he reinvents the same writer’s Vigilante Man as a junkyard blues howl.

More often than not, it’s a light-hearted party record, with Cooder giving his inner teen hoodlum an airing on Gary US Bonds’ School Is Out and hollering up a storm on Sam The Sham’s Wooly Bully. No one’s taking anything too seriously, but if this were a DVD it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Ry flashing the biggest grin in the room.

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

Nonesuch | 400207

Reviewed by Terry Staunton
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