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Paradise & Lunch

Ry CooderAudio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

Price: $8.59 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 9 Songs, 1975 $9.49  
Audio CD, 1990 $8.59  
Vinyl, 1974 --  
Audio Cassette, 1987 --  

Amazon's Ry Cooder Store


Image of album by Ry Cooder


Image of Ry Cooder


Whether serving as a session musician, solo artist, or soundtrack composer, Ry Cooder's chameleon-like fretted instrument virtuosity, songwriting, and choices of material encompass an incredibly eclectic range of North American musical styles, including rock & roll, blues, reggae, Tex-Mex, Hawaiian, Dixieland jazz, country, folk, R&B, gospel, and vaudeville. The 16-year-old Cooder ... Read more in Amazon's Ry Cooder Store

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Paradise & Lunch + Into the Purple Valley + Chicken Skin Music
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Reprise / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002KC4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,073 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Tamp 'Em Up Solid
2. Tattler
3. Married A Man's A Fool
4. Jesus On The Mainline
5. It's All Over Now
6. Fool For A Cigarette/ Feelin' Good
7. If Walls Could Talk
8. Mexican Divorce
9. Ditty Wah Ditty

Editorial Reviews

Think of Ry Cooder as a musicologist who makes learning fun. A particularly nifty collection from 1974, Paradise & Lunch is solo Cooder at his best. The song selection is inspired and unpredictable: numbers by Burt Bacharach, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Bobby Womack commingle with ease. "Tattler" is a rare Ry original that happens to be one of the collection's highlights. Jazz legend Earl Hines guests on the dapper "Ditty Wa Ditty." --Steven Stolder


Cooder is a masterful bottleneck guitarist and limited singer with a penchant for revitalizing marvelous old songs, often of the blues variety. Inventive arrangements and excellent ensemble musicianship on Blind Blake's "Diddie Wa Diddie" (that's jazz giant Earl Hines on piano), Willie McTell's "Tattler," and seven more from the American songbook carry the charge through this delightful album from 1974. -- © Frank John Hadley 1993 -- From Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
84 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ry Cooder's Best August 14, 2000
Format:Audio CD
All of Ry Cooder's music is exceptional. All of it. So picking his "best" record is a bit like picking Beethoven's best string quartet. Or Bob Dylan's best song. But this album is special. It's the kind of record that you mention to that new friend you discover whose taste is broad, deep and solid, who would recommend a record to you and you would just buy it unquestioningly because of the respect you have for the person's discriminating taste, and that person will look you in the eye with a knowing respect and say, "You know about 'Paradise and Lunch'?" And it will turn out to be on both your top 10 lists. Most people don't know about this record, but every time I meet that rare new person who really knows music but whose taste is not focused on just one area (you know, the guy who has every album Cecil Taylor made, but who has never heard of the Kronos Quartet), this one is on their short list of all-time favorites.
If you are not sure whether you will like it, ask yourself whether you like old country blues, old gospel, calypso, street-corner a capella singing, or any pre-commercial American roots music. No? OK, forget it then. But if you do, all those influences are on this record and more, produced and performed in an original, infectious way that will keep these tunes in your head for decades (they've certainly been in my head that long.) In fact, I probably would not put it on my list of 10 records to take to a desert island, like some other reviewers mentioned. I don't have to, because every song on the album has long been burned into my synapses, and I can recall them all note for note any time I want. You might find the same happens to you. Tamp 'em up solid, so they won't come down.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I first encountered Ry Cooder in 1979 when I bought the first edition of The Rolling Stone Record Guide and despite my near poverty level pay as a high school teacher, proceeded to buy every 5-star album in the book. When I reached the C's and read about music archivist Ry Cooder and his masterpiece "Paradise and Lunch," I rushed out and bought it. It was everything they said it was. Stylistically, it may be all over the map, but every song is a classic. While I have since purchased all of Cooder's music, "Paradise" was the one that I went out and repurchased on CD. If I could only take ten albums to a desert island, this would definitely be one of them.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a desert island disc February 7, 2001
Format:Audio CD
I wore out my original record of this long ago. It's my favorite Ry Cooder album, and I've got most of 'em. Why? Top notch, soulful playing and singing, and quirky songs that'll make you laugh! ("I got thrown out of church, for talkin' 'bout Diddy Wah Diddy too much...")It's not commercial stuff, but in a perfect world it would be. Great slide work and fine gospel backup singing. Guaranteed to make you feel good and put a smile on your face! A musician's choice!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Ry Cooder November 22, 1999
Format:Audio CD
I must have burned out 3 vinyl copies of this album since discovering it on a friend's turntable in his Oregon cabin in '74. The CD is equal to the vinyl version, and like someone else commented, this would be on my top ten to take to a desert island.
If "feel good" music actually exists, this is it. Several hundred listenings may even cure cancer.
"Diddy-Wah-Diddy" also features my dear friend, the late, great New Orleans pianist and singer, Ronnie Barron.
"Paradise" is one to treasure, to share with friends. A milestone.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Well, the packaging IS cool, with reproductions not only of the LP sleeve and disc label, but also the inner paper sleeve. However, the sound is a disaster. The entire disc has been given an extreme treble boost, which creates distortion and completely changes its character. On many songs the percussion (especially cymbals and snare) dominates the mix, making a song such as "Tamp 'Em Up Solid" sound almost like cocktail jazz. The old CD sounds muffled in comparison, but it - like the rest of Reprise's domestic CD reissues - was true to the original LP sound. Warner Brothers engineers (and Ry) had wonderful ears, and I'm sure the mix we heard in 1974 was close to the one they wanted. This is like listening to a band from inside the snare drum. I don't know how someone listening to this album for the first time would react to the new mix, but I can't handle it. Painful and disappointing.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and fun at the same time October 16, 2001
Format:Audio CD
I half-expected I wouldn't see this album available through Amazon. It's not the kind of music you'd expect to be commercially successful (which is the listening public's loss), and it's been around forever. I would call Paradise & Lunch a class out of sheer reflex, but here it is: standing the test of time.
This is an exceptional album in several dimensions. The musicianship is subtle and impeccable. The song selection is intriguing in a way that would please a historian (I mean that in a good way). Cooder knows there's American music stored in our inner ear that deserves to be heard again, and he says as much in the liner notes. He's gone into the hollers and mountains and brought out generations of some hard living in music.
What he's laid down on the tracks is not research: it's telling stories that carry the grit and blood of the people who lived them. It's soul music: the joy of deep sensations recounted. The energy of "Tamp 'Em Up Solid" for me captures the feel of a train winding its way through the mountains; "Mexican Divorce" just feels like a sad day on the Gulf. My personal favorite: "It's All Over Now." If you've never heard a group of backwoods singers holler and harmonize at the same time, this one is a treat.
Play the whole album with your eyes closed. It is down home. In every track, the sense of peanut shells on the floor and cigarette butts strewn across the parking lot is not far away.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best
I bought the album a few years after its release, later bought the CD…the music is timeless and the recording quality excellent. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Pollen
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Ry Album!!
This is the album that made me listen to Ry. The combination of blues and old time gospel music, the background singers, just everything about it screamed "Classic" even... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mike Buckley
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Vintage Cooder
Ask me why I didn't have any Ry Cooder until this and I can't give a good answer. He's one of those people that don't miss very often and this is early stuff.
Published 7 months ago by Shoveldog
5.0 out of 5 stars Ry Cooder's best album
Quite simply, the best album he ever did, at least in his earlier phase, before his brilliant latter-day work (Buena Vista Social Club, for example). Read more
Published 9 months ago by PGB
4.0 out of 5 stars It's ok.....
I thought there'd be a lot more of the bluesy kind of music there is in Crossroads, but there's a lot of different styles here. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Katz Dubay
4.0 out of 5 stars RY COMMENTARY
RY COODER-PARADISE & LUNCH: Most music fans are only vaguely familiar with fret-king RY COODER through his sublime soundtrack work, sessions with THE ROLLING STONES (rumor has it... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jukebox Dave
5.0 out of 5 stars Ry Toast
Why.... Cause cause Ryland is cooking it up! What a wonderful talent very moving and fun as well. Buy it!
Published 17 months ago by Chas Burke
2.0 out of 5 stars don't order from these sellers
very poor recording, music too low, again tried it on 3 different systems. also, it's missing one of the songs that's advertised on the cover? that's never happened before.
Published 22 months ago by jill
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like it by nobody
Great music by a great muscian.It simply never gets old.Unique and timeless.Classic.Have had copies on LP, CD, and now mp3 of this recording.
Published on September 8, 2012 by The Counselor
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 years on and still rockin'
I first had this album about 30 years ago. I loved it, as I did all Ry Cooder's albums. It was stolen in waht I termed " The Great CD and Cassette(!) Robbery of 2000. Read more
Published on September 4, 2008 by Droobermum
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