Album: Ry Cooder & Corridos Famosos, Live in San Francisco (Nonesuch/Perro Verde)

A not-much-brainer. Ry Cooder and his familiars (son Joachim, Flaco Jimenez, Terry Evans, among others) chew over the Godfather of Americana's long career, live in SanFran a couple of years ago. They chew it over and spit it out. Boom-thump-twang-splink!

Cooder has been in sardonic, decidedly rough-hewn studio form recently and this abandonment is carried over to the concert milieu, where the ensemble treats the material as the basis of a good time, not a curatorial one. "Crazy 'Bout an Automobile", "Dark End of the Street", "Boomer's Story", "Wooly Bully" – the set list's rather obvious and the interstitial chat goes on a bit, but the heart of the man is there to be heard.