Chavez Ravine

Chavez Ravine

by Ry Cooder


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Chavez Ravine

Ry Cooder has an ear for both fascinating music and a good story -- something he proved years ago by bringing Stateside attention to Cuba's languishing Buena Vista Social Club. He puts both of those to good use on Chavez Ravine, a concept album about the government-driven destruction of a Los Angeles community some 50 years ago. The disc is made all the more poignant by the fact that Cooder witnessed the story's unfolding -- and heard the sounds of the era -- firsthand. Sonically, the disc recreates an early-'50s vibe, from the zoot-suit playfulness of "Chinito Chinito" (one of several Spanish-language tunes on the set) to the McCarthy-decrying folk foray "Don't Call Me Red." As in the Buena Vista project, Cooder called on plenty of folks who were there from the beginning -- from Frank Wilkinson, a 90-something union organizer who provided lyrics to the album's more charged songs, to Little Willie G., frontman for long-running Chicano-soul purveyors Thee Midnighters. The latter pours it on with particular fervor on "Muy Fifi," a West Side Story–esque tale of intrigue on the inner-city streets. Even more affecting are the contributions of Lalo Guerrero -- considered the father of Chicano music in America -- who recorded the insistent "Corrido de Boxeo" shortly before his death. The musical backing shifts gears fairly often, matching the perspective of the song's voice -- such as that of the ambivalent bulldozer operator who delivers the gruff, country-tinged "It's Just Work to Me" -- but the story line remains remarkably intact, right through the bittersweet requiem "3rd Base, Dodger Stadium." It's one of those rare projects where education and entertainment dovetail perfectly -- and a sure bet to make top ten lists come year's end.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/14/2005
Label: Nonesuch
UPC: 0075597987720
catalogNumber: 79877
Rank: 74347

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ry Cooder   Primary Artist,Organ,Guitar,Vocals,Tres,Bajo Sexto
Jon Hassell   Trumpet
Chucho Valdés   Piano
Jim Keltner   Bongos,Drums
Gil Bernal   Tenor Saxophone
Joachim Cooder   Percussion,Drums,Timbales,Sampling
Flaco Jiménez   Accordion
David Hidalgo   Guitar
James Bla Pahinui   Guitar,Ukulele,Vocals
Jacky Terrasson   Piano
Led Kaapana   Guitar
Lalo Guerrero   Guitar,Vocals
Rudy Salas   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Don Tosti   Vocals
Mick Bolger   Organ,Trumpet,Valve Trombone
Joe Rotondi   Piano
Ersi Arvizu   Vocals
Mike Elizondo   Bass
Little Willie G.   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Rosella Arvizu   Vocals
Jacob Garcia   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Carla Commagere   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Juliette Commagere   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Michael Guerra   Vocals,Choir, Chorus

Technical Credits

Ry Cooder   Composer,Producer,Laud
Jerry Leiber   Composer
Jerry Boys   Engineer
Joachim Cooder   Composer
David Hidalgo   Composer
Don Smith   Engineer
Mike Stoller   Composer
Gene Aguilera   Composer
Lalo Guerrero   Composer
Rail Jon Rogut   Engineer
Elena Felguérez   Composer
William Garcia   Composer,translation
Walt Kelly   Illustrations
Robert Edridge Waks   Editorial Coordinator
Juliette Commagere   Composer
Robert C. Imbrecht   Illustrations
Sunny D. Levine   Engineer,drum programming
Michael C. McMillen   Illustrations
Chuy Varela   translation

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