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Chávez Ravine

Chávez Ravine cover art

Track Listing

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1Poor Man’s Shangri-La (Ry Cooder / William Garcia / Gene Aguilera)5:25
2Onda Callejera (William Garcia / David Hidalgo)3:50
3Don’t Call Me Red (Ry Cooder)4:58
4Corrido de Boxeo (Lalo Guerrero)3:21
5Muy Fifí (William Garcia / Joachim Cooder / Juliette Commagere)4:03
6Los Chucos Suaves (Lalo Guerrero)3:08
7Chinito Chinito (Felguerez / Diaz)4:52
83 Cool Cats (Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller)2:57
9El U.F.O. Cayó (Juliette Commagere / Ry Cooder / Joachim Cooder / Jared Smith)8:22
10It’s Just Work for Me (Ry Cooder)5:54
11In My Town (Ry Cooder)5:40
12Ejercito Militar (Rita Arvizu)3:16
13Barrio Viejo (Lalo Guerrero)4:42
143rd Base, Dodger Stadium (Ry Cooder / William Garcia / Joe Kevany)5:45
15Soy Luz y Sombra (William Garcia / Joachim Cooder / Ry Cooder)3:15

News & Reviews

  • Ry Cooder's "Live in San Francisco" Featured in The New Yorker

    Ry Cooder's first live record in more than 35 years, Live in San Francisco, is featured in an article from The New Yorker's Alec Wilkinson titled "Ry Cooder, Live Again." Wilkinson traces Cooder's career through his studio recordings—"Cooder’s catalogue, reflecting his capacious intelligence, is the broadest and deepest in popular music"—to the new live album. "The solos open like rooms, one into another," writes Wilkinson. "Some of the rooms are still as night, and in others the audience shouts like congregants cheering a preacher."

  • Ry Cooder Talks with KPFK's Jon Weiner About New Album, "Live in San Francisco"

    Ry Cooder's new album, Live in San Francisco, his first live album in more than 35 years, was released earlier this month. He spoke about the new album on the 4 O'Clock Report with Jon Wiener on Pacifica Radio's KPFK 90.7FM Los Angeles yesterday afternoon; the show also includes four tracks from the new album: “Crazy ‘bout an Automobile,” “Do Re Mi,” “Lord Tell Me Why,” and “School Is Out." The Morton Report says of Cooder's new album: "Once this man hits the high beams and races into it, there is A+ action guaranteed ... It's called live music and there is nothing better."

About this Album

Ry Cooder’s Chávez Ravine—a post World War IIera American narrative of “cool cats,” radios, UFO sightings, J. Edgar Hoover, red scares, and baseball—is a tribute to the long-gone Los Angeles Latino enclave known as Chávez Ravine. Using real and imagined historical characters, Cooder and friends created an album that recollects various aspects of the poor but vibrant hillside Chicano community, which was bulldozed by developers in the 1950s in the interest of “progress”; Dodgers Stadium ultimately was built on the site. Cooder says, “Here is some music for a place you don’t know, up a road you don’t go. Chávez Ravine, where the sidewalk ends.”

Drawing from the various musical strains of Los Angeles, including conjunto, corrido, R&B, Latin pop, and jazz, Cooder and friends conjure the ghosts of Chávez Ravine and Los Angeles at mid-century. On this 15-track album, sung in Spanish and English, Cooder is joined by East L.A. legends like Chicano music patriarch Lalo Guerrero, Pachuco boogie king Don Tosti, Thee Midniters front man Little Willie G., and Ersi Arvizu of The Sisters and El Chicano.

A Los Angeles native, Cooder has been working in Cuba since 1998, producing Buena Vista Social Club, Ibrahim Ferrer, Ferrer’s Buenos Hermanos, and Mambo Sinuendo—all Grammy winners. Three years in the making, Chávez Ravine marks his musical homecoming.

“Los Angeles was paved over, malled up, high-rised, and urban-renewed, as fortunes were made, power was concentrated, and everything got faster and bigger,” comments Cooder.  ”But there is a lot I miss now. The texture of certain older neighborhoods, like Bunker Hill, a rural feel in urban places, like Chávez Ravine and the timbre of life there, and just peace and quiet,” he says.


Ry Cooder, vocals (1-3, 10, 11), guitar (1, 3-8, 10-12, 14, 15), organ (1), tres (1, 9), laud (2), bajo sexton (4, 12)
Juliette Commagere, vocals (1, 7-9, 15), vocal chorus (2, 3)
Jim Keltner, drums (1, 6, 8), bongos (3)
Mike Elizondo, bass (1-6, 9, 10, 12-14)
Joachim Cooder, timbales (1, 3, 8), percussion (2), drums (4, 5, 7, 10, 12, 13, 15), sampling (5, 9, 15)
Carla Commagere, vocals (7), vocal chorus (2, 3, 8)
Little Willie G., vocals (2, 8, 15), vocal chorus (5)
Joe Rotondi, piano (2, 4, 6-8, 14)
Gil Bernal, tenor saxophone (2, 6, 8, 14)
Mike Bolger, trumpet (2, 7, 14), organ (7, 8), valve trombone (7, 14)
Ledward Kaapana, guitar (2, 13, 14)
Jon Hassell, trumpet (3)
Lalo Guerrero, vocals (4, 6, 13), guitar (13)
Flaco Jimenez, accordion (4, 12, 13)
Ersi Arvizu, vocals (5, 12, 15)
Jacob Garcia, vocal chorus (5)
Chucho Valdés, piano (5)
Jared Smith, bass (7, 8, 15), keyboard (9)
Rudy Salas, Michael Guerra, vocal chorus (8)
Dan Totsi, vocals (9)
Sunny D. Levine, drum programming (11)
Jacky Terrasson, piano (11)
Rosella Arvizu, vocal (12)
Bla Pahinui, vocals, guitar, ukulele (14)
David Hidalgo, guitar (15)

Produced by Ry Cooder
Recorded by Rail Jon Rogut at Village Recorders, Los Angeles, CA, and Sound City Studios, Van Nuys, CA
Assisted by Okhi Kim and Pete Martinez
Additional recording by Jerry Boys, Sunny Levine, and Don Smith at Sound City Studios, Orange Stella, and Capitol Studios, Hollywood, CA
Mixed by Don Smith at Drive-By Studio, Los Angeles, CA
Digital Editing by Martin Prader
Mastered by Stephen Marcussen at Marcussen Mastering, Hollywood, CA

Package Design: Tracey Shiffman
Front cover illustrations by Michael C. McMillen

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