Jan 20, 2010

Slide Masters - Ry Cooder

Ry... There's Ry for you.

Ry is the 1st slide master I choose to bother u with.

Ry (which I think stands for Ryland) is the reason I became fascinated with slide playing when I first heard him in the movie Crossroads. I was 12 or 13 when I first saw the film but as soon as I heard the sound of (what was supposed to be) Ralph's Tele I thought:

"That's what I wanna do"

Strangely, everyone else who were watching the film with me said those same words, only for Steve Vai, not the karate kid...

I guess if you're here reading this you're one of those few obscure people who would have agreed with me.
Anyway, I won't give u Ry's bio here, look it up yourself. I'll just tell u why he's my favorite master, the reason I took up slide:

  1. He knows what he wants to say musically 'nd says right away. Not too much blabber if u know what I mean.
  2. He plays music first guitar second. Music, a key issue.
  3. He NEVER overdoes it with too many frets down a sliding note. Never sounds amateur like that. Probably the only stageman I've heard who won't lose his cool and revert to rude neck jockeying with the slide at some point during a solo.
  4. Technically he's not the fastest cat out there but his tone and phrasing make for what I consider the most emotionally heavy guitar playing (not just slide) I've ever heard.
  5. You can pretty much figure out other people's licks once u know their tuning. Not so with Ry. U might get the notes right but not the attitude.
  6. He's probably the most popular & influential slide player out there. He made slide playing known outside of blues or bluegrass.
  7. He's all over the place musically. Not a bluesman, not a rock'n'roller, not a soundtrack composer, not a latin producer... All of these things combined and more.
  8. While matched with the Stones he accused Keith Richards of musical plagiarism (well what do you know...) and left them!
  9. He seems indifferent (even immune) to publicity.
  10. Buena Vista Social Club
I'll leave u with a little Ry live back from 1987 with the Moula Banda... Good stuff.



  1. Anonymous20/1/10 17:30

    Great video man thnanks!


  2. That's a great tune to open with. Most people would choose this song to close the gig. Not Ry!