I, Flathead by Ry Cooder

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Jun 282008

Ry Cooder has done several soundtracks over the years, for film’s like Paris Texas and Last Man Standing. With his latest CD, “I, Flathead” Ry Cooder writes like he’s writing for a movie soundtrack. But this time he is writing both the story and the music. If you buy the Deluxe Edition of the CD, you get a novella with the same title that reads like a spaghetti western-60’s era surrealist movie cross over. It’s about a bunch of off-kilter guys who race cars on the Salt Flats and their surprisingly cool reaction when an extraterrestrial joins them in their racing. He pulls in all the elements you’d expect. Rockabilly, blues, norteno/mariachi all mixed up in an edgy Tom Wait-ish vibe. But the real strength is in the story telling. The songs loosely follow the narrative of the book and the songs paint vivid pictures from the book. Some of the more interesting tracks include “Johnny Cash,” “Waitin’ For Some Girl,” “My Dwarf Is Getting Tired,” and “Filipino Dancehall Girl.” But the highlights are “Drive Like I Never Been Hurt,” “Pink-O Boogie,” and “Ridin’ With The Blues.”