There's You, the citizen, running in circles like a headless chicken. And there they are, there they all are, herding you faster and faster through the circle maze of lies and distraction. Who can you believe, who will throw out the life line?
You need simple tools, and that's what these songs are all about. Learn how John Lee Hooker will fix the supreme court if elected. Learn a stirring new war-without-end Christmas sing along. Study the report on the new-time Jim Crow Heaven Bill #1070. What does the outlaw Jesse James have in mind for Goldman Sachs? Why does God hate television? And there's more...
Every song a revelation, a beacon of light in the endless tunnel of modern life, and it can be yours!
As recently noted in the Nonesuch Journal, Ry Cooder premiered "No Banker Left Behind" on Truthdig Radio. On the program, Truthdig's Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer said of the album: "It's right up there with John Lennon's Working Class Hero, which I think trumps just about anything else as far as taking serious, political observations and putting them to music ... It's just a great album."
On his fourth solo effort for Nonesuch/Perro Verde Records, the globe-trotting composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist leaves behind the fantastical yarn-spinning, the magical realism, and allegorical tunes of his acclaimed, Grammy Award-nominated California trilogy-Chavez Ravine (2005), My Name Is Buddy (2007), and I, Flathead (2008), all Grammy-nominated discs-for the most forthright album of his career. The 14 songs on Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down are, by turns, angry, outraged, bitterly funny, and deeply poignant. With brilliant, Woody Guthrie-like directness and a healthy dollop of satire, Cooder's lyrics address the often-sorry state of our domestic affairs: the bank bailout, the anti-immigration movement, the ever-growing gap between rich and poor, and the never-ending war in the Middle East and its devastating physical and emotional toll on young soldiers.
While his words are excoriating, the music is as exhilarating as anything Cooder has ever recorded, incorporating folk, blues, gospel, Tin Pan Alley, and Mexican-American norteno. As a critic for London's Guardian put it while reviewing My Name Is Buddy, "Cooder demonstrates how he has brought home the lessons he learned producing the Buena Vista Social Club in Cuba, reminding himself that the most authentic music is always just around the corner." Contemporary affairs blend with rich musical history: The deceptively cheerful arrangement of "No Banker Left Behind" is informed by the legacy of country music pioneer and early 20th century vaudeville star Uncle Dave Macon; "John Lee Hooker for President" channels the electric guitar sound and growling vocal inflections of the blues legend. On tracks like "John Lee Hooker..." and the quietly mournful "Baby Joined the Army," Cooder, who also produced the album, works alone in stripped-down voice-and-guitar settings. He's accompanied elsewhere by frequent collaborators such as drummer Joachim Cooder, accordionist Flaco Jimenez, and backing vocalist Juliette Commagere. Old friend Jim Keltner also makes a guest appearance on drums.
On Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down, Cooder looks past the flow of facile news that distinguishes our disinformation age and humanizes the headlines. The Depression Era imagery he frequently employs is startlingly apt in these outspoken songs about up-to-the-minute issues. With its blunt protest numbers, its sly send-ups, and its plainspoken laments, Pull up Some Dust and Sit Down showcases the indefatigable Cooder at his most passionate and inspired.
Double 150g LP
Mastered by Bernie Grundman at Grundman Mastering
Pressed at Pallas
Stoughton single-pocket jacket with insert
Ry Cooder, vocals, guitar, mandola, banjo, bass
Robert Francis, bass
Rene Camacho, bass
Joachim Cooder, drums
Jim Keltner, drums
Flaco Jimenez, accordian
Arturo Gallardo, clarinet, sax
Erasto Robles, trombone
Carlos Gonzales, trumpet
Pablo Molina, sousaphone, alto horn
Edgar Castro, percussion, timbale, snare, bass drum
Jesus Guzman, Raul Cuellar, Jimmy Cuellar, Ismael Hernandez, violins
Juliette Commagere, Terry Evans, Arnold McCuller, Willie Green, background vocals
LP1 - Side A:
1. No Banker Left Behind
2. El Corrido de Jesse James
3. Quick Sand
4. Dirty Chateau
LP1 - Side B:
1. Humpty Dumpty World
2. Christmas Time This Year
3. Baby Joined The Army
LP2 - Side C:
1. Lord Tell Me Why
2. I Want My Crown
3. John Lee Hooker For President
LP2 - Side D:
1. Simple Tools
2. If There's A God
3. No Hard Feelings