Ry Cooder - Live At The Record Plant (1974)

Ry Cooder is an American musician, best known for his skill as a slide guitarist and his interest in American roots music.

This is a live set recorded at the The Record Plant Studios in Sausalito. It was originally broadcast on KSAN Radio. It's never been released on CD but has been widely bootlegged. There seems to be a bit of confusion as to whether it was from 1973 or 1974... but I think it's '74. It captures Ry Cooder at the most exciting time of his career, and is essential listening for fans.
This was around the same time that he released his Paradise & Lunch album, and as of such it features Bobby King on backing vocals, alongside Gene Mumford and Cliff Givens. They add a big dose of soul and gospel to Cooder's sound. Also backing Cooder are Russ Titelman (bass), Jim Keltner (drums) and Milt Holland (percussion/marimba). The result is a really fantastic lineup, with a minimalistic sound which suits the intimate setting and lets Cooder's guitar really shine. Holland's marimba playing also adds some really lovely touches to a few of the songs. Five of the songs are performed solo by Cooder on acoustic guitar or mandolin, and the other seven are with the band.
It includes various songs from his first four albums, blending blues, folk, soul and gospel effortlessly. The real gem is the last song of the set, where Bobby King sings lead on a spine-tingling gospel reading of the traditional tune "I Am A Pilgrim".

On a side note - who are (were) Gene Mumford and Cliff Givens? If you watch the video to this concert (there are a few songs on youtube) it's clear they were older than the other musicians - it seems they were veterans of doo-wop and vocal groups. Mumford was in The Larks, who were active in the early 50s, and Givens was a member of The Ink Spots in the 40s. Props to Cooder for including them.

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