Wednesday , September 19 2018
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Ry Cooder

Summary:
I must confess, I discovered Ry Cooder late. Better late than never. I recall exactly where I was: a movie theater in Durham, North Carolina. It was 1978. I had just watched Jack Nicholson in a piece of fluff: Goin’ South. The movie closed with a panoramic scene of a desert. Then a song started. It had nothing to do with the closing scene. I could not believe my ears.  The credits started to roll. The song was still playing. I always stay for credits, but this time, nothing could have tempted me to leave. I waited for the end, where the songs are listed. The song was “Available Space.” The performer was Ry Cooder. I became an instant convert to the Cooder cult. The man is a master of the slide blues guitar. I am a sucker for the slide

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I must confess, I discovered Ry Cooder late. Better late than never.

I recall exactly where I was: a movie theater in Durham, North Carolina. It was 1978. I had just watched Jack Nicholson in a piece of fluff: Goin’ South. The movie closed with a panoramic scene of a desert. Then a song started. It had nothing to do with the closing scene. I could not believe my ears.

The credits started to roll. The song was still playing. I always stay for credits, but this time, nothing could have tempted me to leave. I waited for the end, where the songs are listed. The song was “Available Space.” The performer was Ry Cooder. I became an instant convert to the Cooder cult.

The man is a master of the slide blues guitar. I am a sucker for the slide blues guitar.

This was recorded a year before Goin’ South: 1977. It was an early video. The theology, while simple, is sound. The sound, while simple, is inspired.

There is a montage of his slide guitar work here. It has had over a million hits.

This one I first heard by Elvis. That was in 1956. This version is better. Cooder plays all the stringed instruments — if you don’t count the piano as a stringed instrument.

He has done movie soundtracks. One of them was Crossroads (1986). It is the familiar story of a transaction with the devil. But this is the blues version. Did Robert Johnson make a deal at the crossroads?

Can someone get out of such a deal? This is the theme of the movie.

Switch to the scene of a young guitarist who attends Juilliard, the great New York school for musicians. The young man cannot decide: classical guitar or blues guitar?

Gary North
Gary Kilgore North (born February 1942) is an American Christian Reconstructionist theorist and economic historian. North has authored or coauthored over fifty books on topics including Christian theology, economics, and history. He is an Associated Scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

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