Crazy About An Acoustic Guitar (Godfatherecords G.R.982)
(79:13) The Bottom Line, New York City, NY – May 16, 1974 – Too Tight Blues No.2, FDR In Trinidad, The Tattler, Crazy About An Automobile, I Can Tell By The Way You Smell, Kentucky Blues, One Meatball, How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live, Preacher, Vigilante Man
WMMS FM Broadcast, “Radio Ranch”, Cleveland, OH – December 12, 1972 – Police Dog Blues, Comin’ In On A Wing And A Prayer, Tuning/Song Intro, Great Dream From Heaven, Tuning/Song Intro, Clean Up At Home, Tuning/Song Intro, Folding Bridge, Billy The Kid, Diddy Wah Diddy, Jesus Is On The Mainline, Going To Brownsville
Ry Cooder’s multi-genre style mostly spans blues, country, gospel, folk, and calypso but ultimately knows no boundries. The late 60’s saw Ry as a session man and collaborator to many talents such as The Rolling Stones, Randy Newman, and Lowell George to name just a few. He is even rumored to have shown Keith Richards his 5-string open G tuning that Keith lives by now during these late 60’s sessions.
The main portion of the disc was recorded at The Bottom Line in New York and features a solo performance that comes from an excellent crystal clear soundboard recording. A master of fingerstyle and downright dangerous with a slide, only his vocal lacks a bit but is good enough to accomplish exactly what he was after. What Ry delivers is no less than an amazing acoustic performance touching upon many acoustic styles. The show borders on what would now be considered a “Storytellers” type of concept. He shares an intimate rapport with the crowd and certainly captures the attention of those in his presence. He was releasing his forth LP, Paradise And Lunch, this month but only includes “Tattler” in this particular performance. A good portion of his material always included interpretations of traditional folk and “roots music”.
His mandolin playing on “Kentucky Blues” is incredible and other highlights from the show include “TooTight Blues No. 2”, “Crazy About An Automobile”, “I Can Tell By The Way You Smell”, a humorous “One Meatball”, and an eight minute “How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live”.
This show was previously featured on the bootleg Travelin’ Man (Gold Standard) but this particular stereo version is reported to be superior to any previous release but slightly less complete missing “Billy The Kid”, “Diddy Wah Diddy”, and “Going To Brownsville”.
The second half of the disc is taken from the WMMS FM Broadcast “Radio Ranch” from Cleveland, Ohio on December 12th, 1972. The sound quality is very good soundboard, although inferior to The Bottom Line gig. This broadcast is used to fill out the disc and doesn’t contain the complete tape. It is missing “Tattler”, “You’re Gonna Need Somebody On Your Bond”, “FDR In Trinidad”, and “Dark Was The Night”.
This performance is similar in format to The Bottom Line where Ry tells a few stories during his song introductions. This again comes from a nice solo acoustic performance and Cooder is featured on mandolin for “Clean Up At Home”, “Folding Bridge”, “Billy The Kid”, and “Going To Brownsville”. There is a small drop-out at 2:09 in “Comin’ In On A Wing And A Prayer” that appears to be the only minor flaw in what is included from the broadcast.
Godfather’s choice of artists never ceases to amaze me and has catered to the well rounded collector. These are both great recordings that definitely deserve the Godfather treatment, especially The Bottom Line performance. This comes packaged in the labels usual tri-fold cardboard sleeve with several pictures of Cooder throughout and includes a short essay. This along with the superb sound quality makes this a set definitely worth owning.
Great review Wgspec! Silver disc boots of Ry Cooder are few and far between, so this Godfather release fills a big gap for fans and collectors. The Bottom Line tape is simply one of the best quality live recordings I have heard – absolute pin drop quality, and Ry delivers a masterful performance. It is just disappointing that the tape is not complete. While the ‘Radio Ranch’ recording used to fill out the remainder of the disc is also very good, it feels a step down after the main gig. But an excellent overall effort as always from the Don!