Me and Ry go way back.
So far back that it's hard to pinpoint how or why.
I'm an only child, so no older siblings, or friends clued me in.
I grew up in Southern California, where most of my environment was built in the '60's and '70's.
The oldest buildings in nearby Los Angeles were constructed around 1920.
I went to brand new Middle and High Schools.
Maybe that's why I found a series of Time-Life books in the library entitled "This Fabulous Century" so fascinating, particularly the 1920's -1940's.
I loved old movies, which local TV stations used to fill air space.
I discovered thrift stores and bought a fedora. I tried to carry a pocket watch.
After The Beatles broke up I was a little lost, and short on cash, so I began sending off for Warner's Loss Leaders, starting with the 3 record set "Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies".
That's where I first encountered Ry Cooder.
His album covers really caught my eye, so I bought "Into The Purple Valley" and was hooked.
So much so I wanted to be Ry Cooder.
He's the reason I bought a pawn shop banjo mandolin, and received Jerry Silverman's "Folk Blues" as an 18th birthday gift.
His mandolin playing is distinctive, and bears no resemblance, thankfully, to Bill Monroe or Bluegrass.
I regrettably lost the mandolin as part of a trade for my first pawn shop electric guitar, but I still have the book. I learned to play the intro to "Ax Sweet Mama" at least.
Typically for me, I loved his first few albums, and then he evolved, and I didn't follow.
Gone were the Depression era down home blues in favor of too many accordions and a more modern sound.
Not long after that Punk happened, and that was that.
I loved his soundtrack for Wim Wender's "Paris, Texas". Those of you familiar with it will recognize "Dark Is The Night", from his eponymous first album, as familiar territory.
Ry's not a great singer, but I believe him, and he's probably my biggest influence as a player of stringed instruments, although if you heard me you'd never know.
Two things I learned from wikipedia while doing research for this post:
He started playing guitar at age three, and has had a glass eye since he was four, when he accidentally stuck a knife in his left eye. He found the blues early.
This music has aged better than I have, and is never to far from my ears..
Wry Scooter, too