Ry Cooder spent the 1970s making a small pile of extremely cool records. One of them was BOOMER'S STORY. In 1972 Cooder was one of the hippest slide guitarists around. His singing, like his rhythm chops and arranging skills, has always been funky and distinctive. His taste for all things groovy and American and his breadth of knowledge (and/or willingness to seek out the missing details when necessary) led him to arrange his albums around themes. BOOMER'S STORY leans on the music of the 1930s and 40s for its text, yet avoids becoming a mere period piece.
Lopsided backbeats, horn parts, barrelhouse piano, and blues mandolin licks all go into the gumbo, and come out sounding just right. Skip James' "Cherry Ball Blues," the soul classic "Dark End of the Street" and the ballad "Maria Elena" all get instrumental treatment, with textures that range from the aching to the raucous. Cooder covers Sleepy John Estes' "Ax Sweet Mama," then gets Estes himself to guest on "President Kennedy." The sideman situation throughout is in excellent hands, with Randy Newman sitting in on piano and longtime Cooder associate Jim Keltner on drums.
Rolling Stone (12/7/72, p.64) - "..although he writes almost none of his own material, [he has] as tangible a personality and outlook as our finest singer-songwriters...the overall tone is casual, homemade...the rewards of Ry's siftings throught the archives of American folk music.."
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