Album: Ry Cooder, Election Special (Nonesuch)
With Election Special, Ry Cooder extends the outraged political perspective of last year’s outstanding Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down into election year, with another set of what he called that album’s “simple tools for citizens under siege”.
But with the clock ticking down to 6 November, the tone here is more robust than that album’s thoughtful reflections on history and poverty, taking its cue rather from the ribald pillorying of conservatives in tracks like “No Banker Left Behind” and “I Want My Crown”.
Cooder employs demotic, populist forms – notably variations of the blues – to carry his broadsides. “Mutt Romney Blues”, about how you can judge a man by the way he treats his dog (Romney tied his to the roof of the family car when going on vacation), opens proceed-ings with a ramshackle but infectious cakewalk blues, Cooder’s slide guitar animated by the ingenious percussive bed devised by his son Joachim.
The swaggering blues march “The Wall Street Part Of Town” – a mythical place where your efforts are well rewarded – blends mandolin and streaks of slide guitar, while “Kool-Aid”, about the dangers of drinking from a poisoned chalice, considers the quandary of George Zimmerman (who killed the unarmed black youth in a gated community) in a fatalistic manner: don’t think that just because the law supports your carrying a gun, it will necessarily benefit your life.
Unlike some musicians, Cooder is upfront about his support for Obama: in “ Cold Cold Feeling”, he imagines the President pacing at night, assailed on all sides by rightwing adversaries: “I got a cold, cold, feeling that Jim Crow’s coming round once more”. And in “The 90 And The Nine”, he comments about the occupation of peacetime by the discourse of conflict. But at least Americans have a Bill Of Rights, in the defence of which Cooder closes the album, warning, “ Take Your Hands Off It”.
We should be so lucky.
Download: Mutt Romney Blues; The Wall Street Part Of Town; Cold Cold Feeling; Kool-Aid
By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work
Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar
What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?
Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings
The actor has confessed to his own insecurities
Allotments are the focus of a new reality show
Kylie Minogue quits The Voice UK
Review: Half of A Yellow Sun
Arts & Ents blogs
New Banksy art 'Mobile Lovers' removed with crowbar, hoarded in youth club
The best movies on Netflix: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Game of Thrones season 4 episode 2 breaks torrent record as fans watch online
Game of Thrones season 4 episode 2 sees fans jubilant over King Joffrey's 'Purple Wedding'
Paul Walker's brothers stand in for actor’s final scenes for Fast & Furious 7 movie
David Cameron: 'Jesus invented the Big Society – I'm just continuing God's work'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
- 1 Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 2 Naked yoga: the bare truth - it's already big in the US, and has now landed here
- 3 Man on a leash in Farringdon, London: Mystery of 'walkies' solved
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline bribed doctors to boost sales, says whistleblower