Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Get Rhythm – Ry Cooder [#516]

Get Rhythm - Ry CooderBack in the very early nineties possibly very late eighties, I became obsessed with late night radio shows. Frequently, much to my mothers chagrin, I would lie in bed with my headphones on, listening to the broadcasts from a variety of radio stations.

There was something haunting, maybe spiritual or even mystical about listening to the radio in the late hours of the night. The fact that I was one of a handful of listeners that would experience something special broadcast over the airwaves that few others would hear because they slept or were unaware. Indeed, much of my knowledge of the world and, to some extent humour, was developed by being one of the privileged few.

One late night DJ that I was fond of was on Manchester’s Key 103 radio station and went by the name of James H Reeve. The content and humour between the records he played was priceless and I was often afraid of falling asleep and missing something. So often I would try and steal at least another 90 minutes of airtime by using my hifi’s tape-deck to record the show as I fell asleep.

As it happened, on the last night I did this I managed to record some comedy gold and a priceless mix of music which, I hope, I still have on a cassette tucked away in my box of memories. One of the songs on this cassette, which naturally, I listened to over and over again through to my early thirties, was Ry Cooder’s cover of Johnny Cash’s Get Rhythm, the title track to today’s album.

I love that song. It’s so positive, happy and always has me dancing at my steering wheel. Of course the rest of the album doesn’t really compare in the great scheme of things and I don’t really know any other songs by Cooder. But I appreciate his contribution to music and his reunion of the Buena Vista Social Club. I’ll also remember always how this song, the cassette it was recorded on, with the 90 minutes of late night radio show broadcast that I played over and over again to a point where I still almost remember the content word for word, saw me through my GCSEs, my A Levels and kept me company across at least two decades of commuting in one form or another.

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Chicken Skin Music – Ry Cooder (#264)

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 16.32.29Chicken Skin Music – Ry Cooder

Former Key 103 late night DJ James H Reeve has a lot to answer for in my musical education. I recall lying awake late into the evening listening to his eclectic playlist and chatter making myself totally knackered for the morning. Still without Mr Reeve, I would not have had the pleasure of Windsor Davies and Don Estelle, Half Man Half Biscuit, the Neville Brothers and, of course, Ry Cooder.

Ry Cooder arrived in my record collection as a tape recording of Get Rhythm from his album Get Rhythm taken from one of Reeve’s last broadcasts for Key 103. And that is how it would have remained until Jamie passed me a CD chock-a-block with MP3 albums obtained from illicit locations. One such album contained therein was Ry Cooder’s Chicken Skin Music.

Chicken Skin Music is Cooder’s fifth album and it shows. He’s not even trying to impress at this stage. It’s kind of like “Oh gee, I’ve got a six album contract with my label, I can’t be bothered anymore. Here’s some stuff I’ve played recently” – a glorified covers album.

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Buena Vista Social Club – Buena Vista Social Club (#231)

Buena Vista Social ClubBuena Vista Social Club – Buena Vista Social Club

This is one of those albums that everyone seems to have.

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