September 10, 1979 12:00 PM

Ry Cooder

Cooder is an eccentric lyricist and talented guitar stylist with a gift for taste rather than flash. His singing is reminiscent of Levon Helm of the Band—on Cripple Creek, for example—an engaging, casual, clenched-jaw drawl. Cooder’s playing covers the folk-rock-blues spectrum and the songs roll along smoothly, with fine instrumental backing from, among others, David Lindley, Jackson Browne’s session-and-road guitarist. (Down in Hollywood and Look at Granny Run Run are the LP’s best tracks, both gritty, pulsing rockers.) Bop is the first digitally recorded LP (PEOPLE, May 21, 1979) by a major rock artist, and the new process does produce an exquisitely clean sound. On Little Sister, for instance, fingers squeak and buzz on acoustic strings, drum snares sizzle, the fat bass notes rumble on the bottom. It takes fairly sophisticated standard equipment to benefit fully from the improved reproduction, but this is such a satisfying album, one wishes it would go on for another two sides, even when heard on a basic portable.

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