I love Ry Cooder’s music in almost all of its many guises, as you may already know, so I was thrilled to find this terrific in-studio set lurking in Wolfgang’s Vault. Recorded on Cooder’s promotional tour for Paradise & Lunch, it finds him wending his way through an hourlong set before a small-but-appreciative audience, joined by Jim Dickinson on bass and Jim Keltner on drums.
This was relatively early in Cooder’s solo career, so the track listing isn’t as wide-ranging as some listeners might like — but on the other hand, it catches him in the thick of his classic roots rock period, spinning stinging shots of slide guitar on top of relaxed, irresistibly bluesy numbers like “Tamp ‘Em Up Solid” and “Alimony.” The between-song patter is minimal, which is as it should be; the focus stays on the music, where it belongs.
At $9.98 for mp3s (or $12.98 for FLACs), this show is a steal — one of the few live recordings with real appeal for non-completists. Listen to the below sample, and then go grab the whole set here.