16th October 2018
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
I was little unsure exactly what to expect here, as my and Ry's respective ven diagrams have only minimally intersected over the years. I think seeing OGWT footage of the man playing Vigilante Man, plus a brief exposure to his 1979 Bop Till You Drop album has pretty much been our only flirtations. Oh, and also some evocative slide-guitar work on those few snippets of Wim Wender's Paris, Texas*, I have come across from time to time.
But Mr Ryland Peter Cooder is undoubtedly one of yer actual bona fide geetar legends, so I felt a bucket-list tick was well-deserved. Particularly so once I noted he had recently passed the old three-score years and ten milestone, and may not be crossing the Atlantic on too many more occasions.
Ry's current album, The Prodigal Son, as the title hints, is a collection of spiritual, or as Ry terms them, for he is (reputedly) no great god-botherer; Reverential songs. And, as with much of his output during his lengthy career, the collection relies heavily upon covers.
Cooder's guitar playing this evening was never less than breathtaking throughout, that unmistakeable slide-twang soaring around the Concert Hall. But I occasionally wished he would play more and sing less. For his voice is certainly showing it's age a touch. Witness Little Sister, his only real hit – Number 1 in New Zealand, wiki tells us – where backup singers The Hamiltones were left to rescue the tune from trainsmashville.
I also wearied a touch of listening to lyrics informing me just how wonderful the old sky wizard (and his son) is. The trio of holy-wullie tunes performed just after the show highlight Vigilante Man, did drag more than a tad. None more so than his own composition Jesus and Woody, which had JC and Mr. Guthrie setting the world to rights over a friendly heavenly chin-wag.
But I really enjoyed the old Billy Joe Royal tune Down in the Boondocks, which, with the contribution from the aforementioned Hamiltones, sounded not unlike The Drifters in their prime.
Which you may or may not view as a good thing.
*I have yet to see the complete Paris, Texas film, but a DVD is sitting right in front of me waiting to go.....just as soon as I get this darned blog up to date.
|Ry Cooder - Glasgow 2018|
|Ry telling a story - and looking not unlike Richard Harris in this one.|
|I could have listened to Ry slide all night.|
|Ry and a rather well-nourished Hamiltone.|
|RC and an impressive array of the tools of his trade.|
|Ry's son Joachim played drums in the band, and also provided the support act.|
|Ry Cooder - Glasgow 2018|
Nobody's Fault But Mine
Everybody Ought to Treat a Stranger Right
Go Home Girl
Harbor of Love
The Very Thing That Makes You Rich (Makes Me Poor)
Got To Be
Jesus and Woody
You Must Unload
Jesus on the Mainline
How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?
Down in the Boondocks
The Prodigal Son
99½ Won't Do
I Can't Win