Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

RY COODER

I, FLATHEAD

2008-08-21

This last segment of a trilogy of discs (following "Chevez Ravine" and "My Name is Buddy") marking the evolving culture of California features Ry Cooder playing the fictional role of race car driver and country singer Kash Buk. While you likely need a secret decoder ring to figure out how all this fits together, Kash Buk and his band, the Klowns, lay down some righteous roots rock, country and western swing. "Drive Like I Never Been Hurt" kicks things off with an off-kilter mariachi beat that is a perfect backdrop for the corn-pone sentiment of the lyrics. "Waitin’ for Some Girl" plays with the same tongue in cheek leer as the Stone’s "Far Away Eyes" with its line about looking for a “girl to pick me up on her way back down.” "Johnny Cash" is a mannered reflection on the impact of the man in Black on a young Buk complete with music and lines cribbed from the classics. Spoken word enters the mix with the cool barroom pick up lines that ultimately segue into a sad reflection on a lifetime of hard living on "Can I Smoke in Here?" "Steel Guitar Heaven" also goes into story-telling mode with a tour guide’s view of the heaven that awaits the sadly undervalued steel players of the world. Buk and crew crank things up on the rocking "Ridin’ with the Blues" which combines cars, blues and greaser pick up lines. "Pink-O Boogie" is a lustful double entendre tale about a new “dance” that will bring out a few blushes. Other highlights include the jug band groove of "Fernando Sez", the Tex-Mex tale of forbidden love, "Filipino Dancehall Girl" and the twisted tale of a road show in decline, "My Dwarf is Getting Tired". Smitty

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