Ry Cooder

Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down

I still remember holding Ry Cooder’s first album in my hands, and I also remember taking note of his contributions to Captain Beefheart and Taj Mahal. That was nearly a half-century ago, and I’ve been a stone fan ever since, through all his musical explorations, from blues, Tex-Mex, Afro-pop, classic rock and traditional Cuban music. He employs all of that eclecticism on this album while reminding us that we all oughta be just as pissed off as he is. On “Christmas Time This Year,” for instance, he crafts a song giving voice to the thousands of young men and women who have been permanently damaged in our misbegotten and ongoing wars. At last an American artist has taken note of the current realities and is speaking out. On Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down, Cooder is giving us the kind of music Woody Guthrie might have written if he were still alive. From the very first song, “No Banker Left Behind,” Cooder expresses the anger lots of people are feeling, and he does it with bitter humor. Oddly enough, these songs about how badly we’ve been getting screwed have the power to make a listener feel just a bit better and a little less alone in the experience.