Ry Cooder brought the Buena Vista Social Club, the famed celebration of old Cuban music,to fruition, but his career is more diverse and stylized in the music of Americana. On Paradise and Lunch, arguably his best LP, he merges traditional spirituals, delta blues, soul numbers and even a Burt Bacharach tune into one big melting pot of the American songbook. It’s quite a thrilling expedition and despite its rampant anachronism, it contextualizes quite well. “It’s All Over Now”, written by Sam Cooke protege Bobby Womack, and made famous by The Rolling Stones was by all means a sweaty 60’s r&b number but Cooder turns it on its head, making it into a soul/reggae fusion with great vocal harmonies that truly makes you pause on realizing this is a number by a white virtuoso session man. It’s one of the many reasons to grab the complete album. I’m also including “Tamp ‘Em Up Solid”, the traditional ballad that leads off the album which wouldn’t be out of place on a soundtrack for a modern film about the Civil War (or perhaps on Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained).
Nashville, TN based Natural Child plays the kind of scuzzy bar rock that took a left turn out of 70s Rolling Stones, The Faces, and David Bowie (think Exile on Main Street, “Stay With Me” and Ziggy Stardust) and “8 AM Blues” might be one of their best singles to date. The first song off of their fantastic 2012 LP For The Love of the Game (which boasts a quite NSFW album cover) , the no frills fuzzy guitar riffs and the hell if I care vocals make this one of my favorite songs for the summer. I’m also throwing in “Ain’t Gonna Stop”, the song that closes out the album with a raunchy take on the classic “Johnny B. Goode” riff. This is the kind of stuff you wish early Rolling Stones R&B sounded like, Natural Child has a bright future ahead of them, and these are perfect songs for those nights where all you remember is the smell of whiskey and smoke on your clothes from the night before.