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Election Special

3.5 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 21, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Ry Cooder’s Election Special, due out from Nonesuch / Perro Verde Records on August 21, 2012, is a wake-up call as the United States heads into the fall election season. “Howdy there neighbor—let me ask you something. Do you really think Charlie and Davy sit around on the couch with family and friends watching re-runs of Dancing with the Stars?," asks Cooder. "See, 'Wasting Away in Margaritaville' was a good song in its day, but we need a different kind of a song now if we’re going to make headway against the likes of Charlie and Dave. Those type of guys are plenty swift, they’re all deacons in the High Church of the Next Dollar. We need to get smarter, fast. The world is full of C and D students in high places and there’s more coming up all the time. Don’t be one.” Cooder has this to say about the songs on the album: 1. Mutt Romney Blues: Reverend Al Sharpton said, “How he treated his dog tells you a lot about him.” Where did Mitt Romney learn that hollow laugh of his? A correspondence course on how to scare your dog sh*tless? He sure scares me, I don’t mind telling you. 2. Brother Is Gone: The only logical explanation for the Brothers I could come up with is, they made their deal at the crossroads with Satan. Satan will need to get paid, but in the meantime, they are doing everything in their power to hurt you and me. The big hurt. 3. The Wall Street Part of Town: Is there a Wall Street part of town in your town? Start your own, it’s easy. When the police come, remind them that you pay their salary, such as it may be. 4. Guantanamo: There’s a beautiful Cuban song about a country girl from Guantanamo. The lyrics were written over a hundred years ago, and they say something about peace and freedom, so I guess the problem hasn’t been solved yet. Prisons are the new growth industry. 5. Cold Cold Feeling: The president, alone in the dark, walks the Oval Office floor. Before you criticize and accuse, walk a mile in his shoes. 6. Going to Tampa: As a mother, will Sarah Palin lead the Republican convention in a prayer for Treyvon? Will “Stand Your Ground” stand? Don’t forget your bed sheet and keep your money in your shoes. 7. Kool-Aid: A lament for this guy Zimmerman, and all the many Zimmermans. Too late, they find their masters have given them gun rights and new “Stand Your Ground” lynching laws instead of good paying jobs and secure futures. They drank the Kool-Aid, they really drank it down. 8. The 90 and the 9: A possible political discussion between a father and child. Here in Los Angeles, they allow military recruiters in public schools. If you speak against it, they come down hard on you. I don’t even know what name you give to a criminal conspiracy like that. 9. Take Your Hands off It: Woody said, “This land is your land.” There’s a famous photograph of a sign that reads, “Don’t let the big men take it away.” On the other hand, James Baldwin believed the concepts of nationhood such as freedom, equality, and democracy are superstitions, nothing more. Cooder produced the album and wrote all of the songs. (“Take Your Hands off It” was co-written with Joachim Cooder). He sings and plays mandolin, guitar, and bass on the album, with Joachim on drums. Arnold McCuller sings harmony vocals on “Take Your Hands off It.”
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Digital Booklet: Election Special
Digital Booklet: Election Special
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 21, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B007U4DBTQ
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,362 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Ry's latest record carries on from where his last, `Pull up some dust and sit down', left off - both lyrically and musically as Ry bemoans the current state of politics in the U.S. in the run up to the forthcoming Presidential election. Ry came to fame as a supreme `guitar technician' reinterpreting old folk and R&B but his last four records have seen him concentrating on writing his own songs to express his political views . At times I find these views a bit naïve and over-simplified, and in the case of "Mitt Romney Blues" and "Cold cold feeling" I felt the lyrics were a bit clunky and detracted from the music. However, they are obviously heartfelt and when they work, as in the majority of the songs here, they combine with the music to give added gravitas and grit, with swipes at Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, the N.R.A. and Romney's Latter Day Saints. I don't think that Ry will be voting Republican any time soon!

Again we have a mix of Guthrie-esque Cannery Row-style folk blues together with harder-edged electric blues, with Ry playing all the instruments himself with just son Joachim helping out on the drums and Arnold McCuller singing harmony vocals on the final track. Indeed I think that Joachim really comes of age here, really driving the up tempo tracks and adding subtle contributions to the more folky songs. Fans of Ry's electric blues slide guitar will love the rocking "The Wall Street side of town", "Guantanamo" and "Kool-Aid", while "Cold, cold feeling" probably has Ry's most bluesy slide for years, very much in the Elmore James style. The gentle "The 90 and the 9" sounds like an out take from "My name is Buddy", as does the haunting "Brother is gone" and "Going to Tampa" has some really nice mandolin, like a throwback to `Paradise and lunch'.
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Format: Audio CD
I read the negative reviews with interest, was initially disappointed by the sound bite previews and decided not to buy. I did buy one and must say that this is THE BEST Ry Cooder disc in years. The sound he gets is amazing. Reminds me of his production on the Mavis Staples disc. No one can touch him for the deep churning soul sounds he produces. Listen to the opening bass lines of "Cold Cold Feeling". It's asymetrical, slightly off the beat and gently off key. It creates a strange wandering feeling and just when you think you've got it figured out he switches gears and the ride begins. By the end of the tune it's flat out brilliant howling. Some of the lyric is forced at times but it is always from the heart and delivered with absolute conviction. The disc is political but not radical to my ears. More of a snapshot of a wide range of views both left and right. Ry has something to say and he says it. Are there other artists out there taking the chances Ry is both in content and sound?
Hard to believe that the negative reviewers actually listened to the whole disc.
I would love to hear Mutt Romney's Blues on the radio.
This is "Boomers Story" but up to the second.
No looking back for Mr Cooder.
Highly Recommended!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a great Ry Cooder blues album. Ry's voice is in great shape and his guitar and mandolin playing are excellent. The more I listen to this the more I like it . It's got that old-timey country blues and folk sound that only Cooder can do. Terrific!. The subject matter is very timely. He's very hard on the banksters and criminals of Wall Street. He's tough on the Republicans and neo-conservatives. He's tough on "Mutt" Romney. So what.....this is not an album of love songs. There's not one "Ballad of the Green Berets" or Lee Greenwood Las Vegas anthem on the whole album. Imagine that! This is not an album of "hate" as these one star idiot reviews reflect. There is anger, intelligence, humor and sadness.

It amazes me that some jokers have posted here and didn't buy the album or listen to it. Yet they proceed to tell everybody about Ry's politics and their own. Who cares what they think.....bunch of crybabies.

If you like Ry Cooder and are sick of the Republicans and neo-cons and their moronic platform you will probably like this.....Great American music.

See you in Tampa. Hurricane Isaac has given the Republicans a reprieve.......
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
From reading other reviews, the First Amendment seems highly regarded as long as it's the same opinion as the recipient of the expression. There is great playing on this album, and just because Cooder gets political doesn't mean that you have to throw out the baby with the bath. I remember the same thing happening to Neil Young when he released songs critical of the times a few years ago.

For those who differ with Cooder, I would think such people, especially Americans, would have the fortitude to endure the luxury of diversity in music that we have in this country. Rap, Country, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Rock, Classical, Pop, Folk...and that includes Ry Cooder.
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Format: MP3 Music
Like many guitarists, I look forward to each new offering by that "musician's musician," Ry Cooder, who remains as vital as he was when he helped the Rolling Stones rediscover their groove 40 years ago. I saw him perform some of this CD at his sold-out American Music Hall show last fall and have been anxious for him to release these tunes. Do yourself a favor and ignore the reactionary reviews by right-wingers who are dissing the music because of its political content. (These are the same types who dismissed Woody Guthrie as a "pinko)." Like Guthrie's work, Cooder's music stands on its own as a testament to the hard times the majority of Americans have been experienced in recent years. Like 2011's "Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down," this is a CD that contains some fine tunes and guitar wizardry. Ry's music will abide long after the words of his critics have disappeared.
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If you don't want to listen to it then don't buy it. It's pretty simple for most of us.
Aug 6, 2012 by MJames |  See all 13 posts
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