Ry Cooder & the Moula Banda Rhythm Aces; The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA; March 24, 1987.
Made in Japan. Copyright 2004.
Although fragments of video from this 1987 concert made it to YouTube recently, buyers in America still have a very hard time finding this CD. For example, if you look on Amazon’s U.S. site, you will not find it at all – no listing, not even an ‘out of stock’ or a blank picture. Just nothing.
Why? Our research suggests Ry Cooder blocked the release of this album in the States, refusing to even allow it to be sold, but we haven’t spoken with him to verify that. We got ours from overseas, from a seller in the UK with an eBay account.
The concert itself mostly sticks to rootsy, straight-ahead blues mixed with an all-male vocal chorus. Keys, horns, accordion, and of course Ry Cooder’s understated but soulful slide guitar spice up the mix. The a capella song Jesus Hits Like an Atom Bomb takes an unexpected lyrical turn before settling down into the slow burn of Down in Mississippi, an extended jam.
We sold ours back to the global eBay marketplace, but not before ripping some high quality mp3s and taking a few archival photos. It’s a good disc, if you can find it. Not a desert island top ten disc, but a solid blues performance somewhat hard to find here in the states.