Ry Cooder is an American musician, best known for his skill as a slide guitarist and his interest in American roots music.
During the 1980s Ry Cooder was kept busy with a lot of film soundtrack work alongside his solo career, beginning with his brilliant music for Walter Hill's western The Long Riders in 1980. Many more followed, the most renowned being for Wim Wenders' 1984 film Paris, Texas. The beautifully recorded score was based on Blind Willie Johnson's "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground", and made for some truly splendid music perfectly suited to the vast, bleak desert landscapes featured in the film. The soundtrack has proved popular, but to be perfectly honest doesn't flow like a good album should as so much of it consists of variations of the same theme. Therefore I have put together this compilation which takes the highlights of the Paris, Texas soundtrack together with some other great, and lesser-known Cooder filmscore work from the same era, from the films The Border (1982) and Alamo Bay (1985).
The Border features one of Cooder's greatest songs, a rare original he co-wrote with Jim Dickinson and John Hiatt. "Across The Borderline" was sung by Freddy Fender, and the score also featured smaller pieces quoting the memorable melody. The soundtrack also featured a wonderful little-known Dan Penn song, "Building Fires", sung by Brenda Patterson (it had also been reorded by The Flying Burrito Brothers on their 1975 album Flying Again). The final two songs on the compilation are from Alamo Bay. There is a central theme here - all the films are set in southern Texas, and the music of all three soundtracks work well together, making for a great album of (mostly instrumental) music evocative of wide open spaces, the hot desert sun, and Mexican flavours from across the border. Powerful stuff!
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