Election Special


Ry Cooder has played so many roles—go-to guitarist, in-demand soundtrack composer, booster of World Music and Americana—that one almost forgets his sizable and generally exceptional body of solo albums. In recent years, Cooder has grown comfortable as a songwriter, penning tunes increasingly topical in nature. Election Special comprises broadsides in the tradition of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie and Phil Ochs. It’s an unambiguous album: Cooder doesn’t like Republicans, Wall Streeters, Tea Partiers, the Koch brothers or their followers. He isn’t strident, though—not at the expense of humor. Had he wanted to simply point fingers, opening with “Mutt Romney Blues,” inspired by Mitt’s infamous dog-on-car-roof incident, wouldn’t have been his best move. Still, he’s seriously serious. “Guantanamo,” “The 90 and the 9” and the gritty, Howlin’ Wolf-esque pro-Obama blues “Cold Cold Feeling” make for potent commentary and wicked Americana.
–Jeff Tamarkin

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