Ry Cooder, Crossroads [OST] (1986)
We were in a hotel room in New Plymouth – because they had not organised enough billets. We were 13, so we were pretty stoked to be in a hotel instead of being billeted. The movie Crossroads was on the hotel’s movie channel – pre-Sky days – and a group of about 10 of us piled in to one room and watched in awe. I knew who Ry Cooder was – so I noticed in the credits that he was playing the blues parts. But of course everyone was excited that Steve Vai was in the movie. Vai performed both parts of the famous duel. So, blown away by the film, in love with it and on a quest to check out Robert Johnson, I picked up the soundtrack to the film; the bluesy/slide parts and incidental pieces by Ry Cooder. I scanned the cover for signs of the duel (maybe it was a bonus track? An uncredited extra?) I played the tape. Both sides. Twice! Had I missed it when I popped out of my room at some point? No. Eventually it sunk in that the duel was not on the soundtrack. Gutted. I found the film on late night TV and recorded it – watching the movie 20 and 30 and 40 times and the finale duel/jam 50 and 60 and 70 times. I persevered with the soundtrack and liked bits of it. But it never really moved me the way the music in the film did. Then, much later, I had my complete Ry Cooder epiphany – chasing down his works like Eugene going after a lost song. But, obviously, I had half the journey and double the luck. That’s when the Crossroads soundtrack fell in to place for me as an album in and of its own right. I found an LP copy a few years back and it gets a spin now and then. Be neat if Cooder had put Vai’s finale stuff on there too though, right?
Sample Track: Feelin’ Bad Blues
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