Friday, May 23, 2008

Blind Willie and Cooder in Paris

Dark Was the Night (Cold Was the Ground)

These are two tracks from "Music by Ry Cooder," a double disk of music that Ry Cooder has done for movies.

Paris, Texas


I thought about them when Utah Savage said she was born in Paris, Texas. These tracks were done respectively for the movie of the same name, and for "Blue City". I have a vague memory of the former and have not seen the latter.

The music starts out with a mood more than anything, lots of textures and imagery. About at 2:30 into "Paris, Texas", he weaves in his signature riff, called "Dark Was the Night, (Cold Was the Ground)." This is from the old traditional blues piece from the legendary Texan, Blind Willie Johnson, (Sounds like a made-up blues name, doesn't it?) and Ry Cooder has woven it into what must be dozens of his own recordings.

"Greenhouse" is one of the most wonderfully lowdown and mean offerings of blues guitar that I've ever heard. It makes me squint my eyes, shake my hair while my hands grip with white knuckles and toes curl up. It's not so good for driving. Best-case scenario, I get lead-footed and end up where I'm going faster. The track also features a fierce tambourine. Yes, that's right. Tambourines can go over to the dark side, if in the right hands, and make you wail and moan. This music is haunting.

Ry Cooder has always been one of my favorite guitarists. Back in the late 60s he was practically a Rolling Stone, he was such in integral part of their sound, and in 1970 he backs up Mick Jagger in the movie "Performance," Check out "Memo From Turner" -- a real scorcher.

[Blind Willie Johnson wiki]
[A good article on Blind Willie Johnson]
[Ry Cooder wiki]

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enigma4ever said...

I have Moody Blues up tonight- a really good one- link to the title of the top post...enjoy....

( it was to say thank you for your Kennedy post...the one that I had to find kleenex for..)

DivaJood said...

I rather loved the movie Paris, Texas. Great tracks.

Utah Savage said...

You have nailed my inner soundtack, my root, my madness. If you ever get around to reaidng the book "Maggy" This is the too old child's opening soundtrack and the second half is the leaving home Peggy soundtrack, it continues to this day. i live with a musician for a long time--first love, probably last love, smart of us to never marry. He would play slide guitar, any guitar, bass both acoustic and electric, piano, even the horns even the reeds. He loved Cooder. We saw Paris, Texas many times together. Natasha Kinsky's one great film. But the Harry Dean Stanton performance was sheer genius. One of the most moving, nuanced, spare performances I've ever seen. It is a great film. Thank you for this little Paris, Texas tribute. The savage one loves you for it. Little Peggy does too. She's the child in the book "Maggy."

And for you enigma, the character named Charlie Burden is the musician, first love, last love, and he played with the Moody Blues in Concert here in the 90's sometime.