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Album Review: Ry Cooder and Corridos Famosos – Live in San Francisco

3 min read

The next best thing to being at a live show is the live album which allows you to re-create the experience at home. The best kind of live album is the kind which makes you wish you were front and centre at the real thing.

RyCooderLiveinSanFranciscoRy Cooder has accomplished this with his first live album in 35 years, Live in San Francisco – recorded with Corridos Famosos in 2011. Recorded in the same venue as his previous live album Showtime, Live in San Francisco features 12 songs captured over two nights at the famous Great American Music Hall and was produced by Cooder himself.

The album contains performances of several original songs from Cooder’s career, as well as Cooder and the band’s takes on classics Wooly Bully (Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs) and Goodnight Irene (Lead Belly).

The whole performance is bursting with energy and enthusiasm as the band makes their way through their impressive set list. The live interpretations definitely serve justice to the albums they’ve been taken from as Ry and the band hit every note.

The obvious excitement from the crowd is apparent from the first song Crazy ‘Bout an Automobile and doesn’t seem to subdue for the entire set. Playing off the crowd’s enthusiasm, Ry engages them further through short monologues in between songs which are met with huge roars every time.

As the band churns out classic and newer hits (Why Don’t You Try Me, The Dark End of the Street, Lord Tell Me Why), the sound is so clear and full of energy it feels almost as if you’re in that Hall with them.

The ironic Lord Tell Me Why stands out as one of the highlights of the set, showing off an impressive vocal range with passionate and feisty delivery from Cooder, Terry Evans on backing vocals and from the rest of the band.

Opting to include a couple of cover songs was a good choice by the band in maintaining a fresh and fun atmosphere.  Their adaptation of the Pharaohs’ Wooly Bully is amusing and enjoyable and welcomed by the audience, finished off with a large cheer of appreciation.

The other cover, Goodnight Irene, closes the show after the crowd favourite and guitar focused Vigilante Man. The band produces a beautiful rendition of the timeless classic Goodnight Irene to finish the show on a warm and peaceful note. The performance is somehow inclusive as well, with multiple backing vocals present which seem to make the listener feel as though they’re being sung to personally and intimately.

This album leaves you feeling as though Ry and the gang are old friends of yours who you got to hang out with for an hour or so. A showcase of talent and personality, Live in San Francisco is a spirited release and must-have for any Ry Cooder fan.

Buy ‘Ry Cooder and Corridos Famosos – Live in San Francisco’ from Amazon

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