Ry Cooder (from the album The Prodigal Son available on Fantasy Records)
The songs of the spirit that inhabit The Prodigal Son, the latest release from Ry Cooder, reference influence from church gospel, paying homage to history from both black and white congregations with songs from Blind Willie Johnson (“Nobody’s Fault But Mine”), The Stanley Brothers (“Harbor of Love”), The Pilgrim Travelers (“Straight Street”), and traditional spirituals such as “I’ll Be Rested When the Roll is Called”. Musically, The Prodigal Son benefits from the fifty-plus years that Ry Cooder has been soaking up music style and delivery, the sound tracking the album mixes of Jug Band Blues for “In His Care”, swampy Blues grooves underneath choral harmony in the title tune, rattling Folk Blues showcasing “Shrinking Man”, and borrowing again from Blind Willie Johnson for the rumble of “Everybody Ought to Treat a Stranger Right”.
A voice for injustice, Ry Cooder chose to make a stand in the music with overviews on the direction of our moral compass in The Prodigal Son. Observations from Ry Cooder make their way into the song topics as the tale of “Gentrification” trips and scampers on percolating notes and beats while the story of “Jesus and Woody” hushes in almost reverential tones to talk of Oklahoma. Ry Cooder will embark on his first tour in a decade in support of The Prodigal Son, his first solo release in six years.
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