Ry Cooder
" The UFO Has Landed"

Blueswax 7
Rating 8

Appropriately Titled, (01/21/09)

Initially what is hip about this two-CD box set is that fact that it spans several labels, it's beautifully packaged, and loaded with extensive liner notes, which often typifies a lot of the Rhino catalog. Ry Cooder's resume is extensive and varied having worked with the Buena Vista Social Club, Captain Beefheart, Little Feat, the Rolling Stones (check out "Jamming with Edward!" with Wyman, Watts, Jagger, and Nicky Hopkins!), Taj Mahal, plus unusual Tex-Mex side projects, and others too numerous to mention here in this review

Thus there is a lot to cover here and thirty-four tunes are included, which are compiled by Cooder's son Joachim, who does a pretty neat job compiling Cooder's better known tunes, as well as his lesser known gems. Also noteworthy is the fact that Joachim has chosen to not list the tracks chronologically or by album, which, given the subject matter, was a logical and neat way to go about compiling Cooder's unusual body of work. This entire recording flows pretty well, which I am sure was not an easy chore. Cooder also adds comments about each of the thirty-four tracks as well, but pretty much this is the younger Cooder's compilation that digs deep into his father's catalog and resurrects several oddities.

Unfortunately, the only previously unreleased tune is "Let's Work Together," authored by Wilbert Harrison and made most famous by Canned Heat. On this cool track we hear Cooder sitting in with Buckwheat Zydeco (accordion and vocals), Jim Keltner (drums), Jim Dickinson (piano), and Mike Elizondo (bass). For those interested this tune was culled from the 2008 Nonesuch sessions in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Ry Cooder Anthology: The UFO Has Landed is a mostly impressive and relatively inclusive summary that should serve as a fine introduction for anyone interested in wanting to know more about Ry Cooder's rich and extremely diverse career on record.

Bob Putignano is a contributing editor at BluesWax. You may contact Bob at: bob8003@yahoo.com web site: www.SoundsofBlue.com

Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com