Tuesday, November 6, 2012



Ry Cooder’s Election Special is meant as a wake-up call as the United States heads into the fall election season. Sadly, Cooder has served up a pro-Obama, anti-Republican rant that I would expect from a college student, not from someone eligible for Medicare.

Ry Cooder came to fame as a supreme `guitar technician' reinterpreting old folk and R&B but his last four records have seen him concentrating on writing his own songs to express his political views, although I find these views a bit naïve and over-simplified, often resulting in subpar lyrics that detract from the music.

On "Mutt Romney Blues," Cooder spells out the evils of the Republican candidate, but on "Cold Cold Feeling" he looks for sympathy for the devil....I mean the incumbent. In his own words in an interview with American Songwriter, Cooder says " The president, alone in the dark, walks the Oval Office floor. Before you criticize and accuse, walk a mile in his shoes."

The mystery to me is why Cooder is so willing to accept Obama as a savior, but so confident that every Republican deserves bile? How can he not see how adept both parties are at mistruth, and more importantly, that there are times to be liberal and times to be conservative?

More from the same interview where he comments on each song on the album::

”Where did Mitt Romney learn that hollow laugh of his? He sure scares me, I don’t mind telling you."  (Mutt Romney Blues)

"As a mother, will Sarah Palin lead the Republican convention in a prayer for Treyvon? Will “Stand Your Ground” stand? Don’t forget your bed sheet and keep your money in your shoes." (Going To Tampa)

"A lament for this guy Zimmerman, and all the many Zimmermans. Too late, they find their masters have given them gun rights and new “Stand Your Ground” lynching laws instead of good paying jobs and secure futures. They drank the Kool-Aid, they really drank it down." (Kool Aid)

"The 90 and the 9: A possible political discussion between a father and child. Here in Los Angeles, they allow military recruiters in public schools. If you speak against it, they come down hard on you. I don’t even know what name you give to a criminal conspiracy like that." (The 90 and the 9)

So if you haven't figured it out, I am not thrilled with the lyrical content on the disc, and this disc will be collecting dust on a shelf for years to come. Musically I have to give credit where it is due-Cooder is a master of his instrument, which sometimes shines through all the liberal rhetoric.

Cooder produced the album and wrote all of the songs, save for one co-written with Joachim Cooder. He sings and plays mandolin, guitar, and bass on the album, with Joachim on drums.

So if you are a fan of Ry Cooder and like your roots music servied with a side of Marxism, this is for you. Wanna buy my copy, comrade?

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