This is an interesting album that is Ry Cooder’s eighth solo album released back in 1979. Best known as a slide guitarist extraordinaire, Ry Cooder recorded this solo album himself on then brand new digital hardware. That’s right, this is the first major-label release to do so. No tapes are necessary, it seems by this point in time. This is a monumental change in recording technological history, even The Beatles used tapes to record their music. This should be an interesting and varied musical listen, so let’s observe what we have here.
Little Sister begins the album with some nice Fender Stratocaster style guitar playing and melodies, before gorgeous singing about childhood romance emerges. This is an upbeat sounding listen that is well served by the technology at hand. “Little sister, don’t you do what your big sister does,” is quite a funny line, if you think about it. The whole tune sounds really Poppy and quite late 1970s. Ry Cooder then plays a gorgeous acoustic guitar solo that sounds really interesting. A good song to begin this album with, this is a captivating and romantic-sounding tune that is really impressive. Good Pop music with guitars, this sounds lovely. A rather funny lyrical section on this song, but otherwise seriously great.
Go Home, Girl begins with more subdued acoustic guitar parts that are mixed quietly. The song quickly launches into a piece of drama and tragedy that was likely inspired by real-life events, this is a good song about being in love with a friend’s lady. This is nicely delivered, and it just sounds very lush musically and romantic, too. In any case, a good tale of romance and tales to hear about being above raw human emotions. There is a good combination of guitars and some nice percussion in the solo section, which actually sounds proto 1980s. Still, this piece is outstanding and it sounds, once again, highly romantic. A very lovely and inspired piece of music, this sounds like a sort of hit, although the mixing is fairly sparse with the instruments. A good story of being moral about love that can possibly exist, this is a decent tune. Nice to hear.
The Very Thing That Makes You Rich (Makes Me Poor) begins with some gentle guitar harmonics and excellent Fender Stratocaster styled sounds, which flow very nicely. This is an awesome tune, although it could have been cranked up a bit volume-wise in the mix. A great tune nonetheless and a good rather Funky listen when the instrumentation kicks in. Interesting lyricism is here about a woman who is not to be trusted. There are in-between tones from the Fender Stratocaster that sound different and amazing, and the guitar solo present on this track is really cool. A decent listen with fuzz-laden slide guitar, this is certainly an original listen about not trusting a lady who is a gold digger, so to speak. Marriage and love should not be based on money alone, which is a disastrous idea. This song underlines that fact. A good and interesting listen nonetheless, although the mix here is fairly ordinary.
I Think It’s Going To Work Out Fine begins with some more subdued acoustic sounding guitars (which are actually electrics), followed by some decent playing and subtle drum rolls. A really clever and mellow listen, there is some gorgeous slide guitar present on this piece as well, which is an instrumental. An uplifting and amazing instrumental that does not fail in its melodic appeal, Ry Cooder shows the world of music how it is done with slide guitar playing. A genuinely good and pretty listening experience, this is gorgeous music that is very much proto-1980s sounding, but not overly so. Instrumentals can sound amazing too, and Ry Cooder puts his chops down nicely for this track. A refreshing and decent listening experience, this is one of the better cuts from this album. Gentle and pretty, this sounds top-notch.
Down In Hollywood begins with some unusual Funk style percussion and guitars, notably some funky bass guitar. Singing emerges and this is an interesting lyrical story about music and observing women dancing to music in Hollywood, and the chorus is hilarious. A nice piece of music that is matched by hilarious storylines, the instrumentation is top-notch and the storyline is about ladies who are hookers in Hollywood looking for a good time, likely in the red light district. A really top tune and definitely a laugh, there is a bunch of recorded conversations that are interesting towards the end, before the song resumes as per normal. Very interesting, witty and clever music and if you want to hear about the real Hollywood, here it is. Good tune.
Look At Granny Run Run begins with some nice acoustic sounds, with some subtle percussion and other sounds that sound interesting. Some interesting lyrics about getting drugs from a Doctor and other strange ongoings, this is a short three-minute song with some nice slide guitar in the solo section throughout the middle of the song. An upbeat and interesting tune, this sounds very catchy and good. Some great female backing vocals are also present, and this is a quirky yet enjoyable listening experience. It ends well.
Trouble, You Can’t Fool Me begins with more lovely Fender Stratocaster parts, before launching into a good singalong song that is fairly guitar-driven. More singing about love and money troubles are present here, whilst Ry Cooder does his thing on the guitar. Sadly, the mix on this album does not do these songs justice. The music is quite good, but the mix is unflattering. A really catchy listen, all the same, this is a nice and interesting listen with some acoustic slide guitar playing, Ry Cooder does very well as a guitar player. There are some interesting snatches of studio conversation and applause that occur before the group singing resumes. A great piece of music that still sounds really awesome to this day, this is a genuinely great singalong number to be played in the car with friends. An interesting tune, this sounds tremendously awesome. A very nice listen.
Don’t Mess Up A Good Thing begins with some interesting percussion, before launching into a fairly mainstream 1970s sounding piece that has some female soul style singing on it. It’s a warning to a male partner of the dangers of cheating and disrespect before the man’s side enters to say that he told her so. A really good tune about the issues in relationships in the modern world and how they can make things fall apart. There is some gorgeous slide guitar soloing sections by Ry Cooder, once again, which sound sweet. A nice tune that should make adults listen and take note of the lyricism here. Musically, it is nicely accomplished and very listenable, too, with pretty slide guitars and rolling drumbeats throughout. There is some subtle organ in the background as well. Overall, a good effort musically. Enjoyable and listenable from start to finish, all the way through to the fade-out.
I Can’t Win is the last tune here, and it begins with some gorgeous guitars, fluttering soul styled vocals and a slower, ballad-style approach to this song. A good and easy listening tune, this is very much a late 1970s listen, minus the Disco influences of the time. A really pretty tune, the organ in this song is used as an extra melody in the guitar solo section. More great slide guitar is present throughout, and the lush instrumentation and gorgeous soul singing finish off this final track of the album. This piece is rather melodramatic and over the top, but it still sounds great. A good finish to a very listenable album. It ends with brilliant singing and some pretty guitar fills. Nice work.
This is a very good album that sadly, is let down by the mixing. Therefore, despite the quality of the material on this record, the whole thing sounds like a flattened mix without punch. Still, this was the first digitally recorded album and sounds pristine and bright, and is very much a polished effort. Should you hear this, despite the mix? Yes, especially if you like Fender guitar tones and excellent slide guitar playing, regardless of the powerless mixing done here.