The UFO Has Landed


One of these days, someone’s gonna do the 4-CD box set Cooder deserves — with early Rising Sons and Captain Beefheart material, session work, solo stuff, soundtracks, world music collaborations … But until then, this double CD culled from studio albums and soundtracks will have to do.

“UFO” isn’t the first compilation of the fretmeister/musicologist’s work. Earlier collections were “Why Don’t You Try Me Tonight?” (1985) and “River Rescue” (1994), both “best of” releases; and the double-disc soundtrack anthology, “Music by Ry Cooder” (1995).

Like “Echoes,” Pink Floyd’s 2001 2-CD “best of,” this is not a chronologically sequenced retrospective. Cooder and percussionist-son Joachim picked 34 songs spanning 38 years (from 1970’s “Ry Cooder” to 2008’s “I, Flathead”), jumping in with a couple of tracks from “Get Rhythm” (1987), his last solo album before he entered the 18-year-long “I only do soundtracks and world music now” phase of his career.

From there it’s a game of musical leapfrog, moving forward and backward in time, each track segueing perfectly into the next with only an occasional pairing of songs from the same album.

Twenty-seven selections are from solo releases, with no contributions from “Jazz” (1978) or “My Name Is Buddy” (2007), the latter having no representation presumably because its folk-tale/protest vibe would have disrupted the package’s continuity. Six entries come from the soundtracks to “Johnny Handsome,” “The Long Riders,” “Paris, Texas,” “Southern Comfort,” “Crossroads” and “Alamo Bay.” And one previously unreleased song, a cover of Wilbert Harrison’s “Let’s Work Together” featuring Buckwheat Zydeco on accordion, is from 2005 sessions that produced “Cryin’ in the Streets,” a song by Buckwheat that Cooder produced for the Hurricane Katrina benefit album “Our New Orleans.”

As always, while everything he does is superb, Cooder’s sublime slide guitar playing provides the most satisfying music-appreciation moments.

Disc One
1. Get Rhythm
2. Low–Commotion
3. Available Space
4. On A Monday
5. Do Re Mi
6. Which Came First
7. The Very Thing That Makes You Rich (Makes Me Poor)
8. Down In Hollywood
9. Smells Like Money
10. Let’s Work Together
11. I Got Mine
12. Cherry Ball Blues
13. Jesus On The Mainline
14. Tattler
15. Teardrops Will Fall
16. Maria Elena
17. Jesse James

Disc Two
1. Paris, Texas
2. Theme From Southern Comfort
3. Tamp ‘Em Up Solid
4. Billy The Kid
5. Crazy ‘Bout An Automobile (Every Woman I Know)
6. Drive Like I Never Been Hurt
7. Feelin’ Bad Blues
8. Boomer’s Story
9. How Can You Keep Moving (Unless You Migrate Too)
10. Alimony
11. Always Lift Him Up/Kanaka Wai Wai
12. Theme From Alamo Bay
13. Dark End Of The Street
14. Why Don’t You Try Me
15. Poor Man’s Shangri-La
16. Going Back To Okinawa
17. Little Sister

Total time: 2:14:22

External links
artist’s fansite
iTunes Store