Ry Cooder, Showtime [Chicken Skin Revue] (1977)
You know I’m not going to lie to you, I would never do that – I hope you know that. I work on trust. You can trust me to tell you what I’m thinking. You might not trust my opinion – but you need to trust that I believe it. I don’t tell you some story cobbled together from the press-release; I don’t play that game – I don’t fire up the old random-adjective-generator and write up some cobbled-together suck-up piece so I can get free albums or tickets or hang with the band. I’ve never done that. I never will. I’m in this for other reasons – and given that I said I won’t lie to you, I need to tell you right now that sometimes (often) I have no idea (really) what those reasons are. There’s no sane reason to be doing this – cataloguing a record collection, writing reviews, providing comment – and so I often have moments of self-doubt. Why am I doing this? How stupid have I been to narrow my options down to the point where this is what I do? (Don’t answer that! – I’ve been sure to never answer that). I’ve written about Ry Cooder a lot here – mentioned most of his albums, because I own most of them. He’s not the guy that keeps me going; he’s not the reason. Though you listen to something of his – this album for instance – and it can come close to providing the reason. Certainly it provides part of the reason. The other year I got to speak to Ry Cooder. And it was great. Hearing, first hand, so many wonderful stories. I can’t lie – I don’t lie (I won’t lie!) that is part of the reason I do this. I consider myself very lucky that I get to speak to heroes (from time to time). And you make your own luck of course. This album means the world to me when I listen to it. Ry Cooder’s music – so much of it – means the world to me. And I was shitting myself at the thought of speaking to him; he could have been a grump, a prick, frustrating, difficult…but he was a dream. And so when I have those self-doubt moments I think about making the luck to get to that sort of situation where I speak to someone like Ry Cooder. And I think about how it went well and about how great that was for me. Or I just put on an album like this. Of course, nowadays when I do that the other memory – speaking to Cooder, being told about recording with Beefheart and The Rolling Stones – comes right back as well. So that’s a nice bonus obviously.
Sample Track: The Dark End Of The Street
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