I, Flathead

Submitted by nonesuch on Thu, 06/26/2008 - 19:14
Release Date
DescriptionExcerpt

Cooder’s trilogy exploring a historic/mythic/surreal California (Chavez Ravine, My Name Is Buddy) culminates with this remarkable 14-song album in which Cooder assumes the gruff yet chummy voice of Kash Buk, a hard-living, car-racing, guitar-playing man with a space-alien sidekick.

Description

Ry Cooder completes his California trilogy (which began with 2005’s Chavez Ravine and 2007’s My Name Is Buddy) with I, Flathead, an album of music by the fictional musician Kash Buk and his band the Klowns, characters in Cooder’s 95-page novella. The album and novella were released together on June 24, 2008, by Nonesuch / Perro Verde Records.

The novella tells the story of Kash Buk and his friend Shakey the alien, along with various friends, lovers, enemies, and associates in a bygone California filled with deserts, salt-flat racing, Native Americans, seedy dance halls, amusement parks, and sinister plots. The album comprises fourteen songs by Buk, a hard-boiled salt flat racer and roadhouse musician. With the story and the music, Cooder creates a universe where “strange people are the norm,” drawing from country western music, popular mechanics magazines, and science fiction films.

Following Chavez Ravine, which examined loss of place and history, and My Name Is Buddy, which explored the loss of solidarity and unity, I, Flathead reflects change and disruption in a young, post-war, do-it-yourself culture of outsiders obsessed with racing cars fashioned from military surplus parts and flathead engines.

As Kash Buk explains, “You got your hard times, your good times, a dog story for you animal lovers, and a forbidden-race love song, which every record ought to have at least one of. You’re going to meet the ghost of Dick Nixon the drag racer, plus a bonus Red-Scare speciality for all you politically-minded hi-brow foot-stompers out there. I felt it was important to include a circus story since most people agree the circus is a mirror for ‘life itself.’ And you can’t say you got a record album unless there is a selection of honky-tonk heart-ache ballats, so I took care of the ballat chores for you.” He continues, “And I spatially wanted to pay o-mage to the steel guitar legends of yore. It has been my privilege to know quite a few. That’s a hard-bitten, un-sung fraternity, and I figured if I remember them, some body might remember me some day and raise a glass some where and put a nickel in the juke-box.”

Cooder produced the album and wrote or co-wrote all the songs. He sings and plays mandolin, guitar, and bass on the album, along with Mariachi Los Camperos; Joachim Cooder, and Jim Keltner on drums; Rene Camacho on bass; Francisco Torres on trombone; Ron Blake and Jon Hassell on trumpet; Anthony Gil on bass sax; Flaco Jimenez on accordion, Gil Bernal on tenor sax; Jared Smith on keyboards; Martin Pradler on electric piano and drums; and Juliette Commagere on vocals.

ProductionCredits

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Produced by Ry Cooder
Recorded and mixed by Martin Pradler at Little Pink Studio, Los Angeles
additional recording at Sage And Sound Studios, Hollywood, assisted by Alex Pavlides
Ocean Studio, Burbank, assisted by Albert Mata
Mastered by Stephen Marcussen @ Marcussen Mastering

All songs written by Ry Cooder (Hi-Lo Shag Music BMI), except tracks 1, 14 also by Joachim Cooder (Zegama Beach Music BMI), track 12 also by Joachim Cooder, Jared Smith (Privy Seal Music ASCAP)
Mariachi Los Camperos arrangement (track 1), string arrangement (tracks 7, 9, 10) by Jesus Guzman

Package Design: Martin Pradler, Ry Cooder
Cover Photo: © Ron Kellogg Collection

Nonesuch Selection Number

511762

Number of Discs in Set
1disc
ns_album_artistid
217
ns_album_id
734
ns_album_releasedate
ns_genre_1
0
ns_genre_2
0
Album Status
Artist Name
Ry Cooder
MusicianDetails

MUSICIANS
Ry Cooder, vocals (1-13), guitar (1-14), mandolin (1), bass (1, 2, 14), laud (10), electric piano (11)
Joachim Cooder, drums (1, 3, 5, 8-14), timbales (7)
Martin Pradler, drums (2, 4)
Rene Camacho, bass (3, 5-11, 13)
Jim Keltner, drums (6, 7)
Erika, screaming cheerleader (6)
Josh, Flathead (6)
Fernando Ruleas,  himself (8)
Francisco Torres, trombone (8)
Ron Blake, trumpet (8)
Anthony Gil, bass sax (8)
Flaco Jimenez, accordion (10)
Gil Bernal, tenor sax (12)
Jon Hassell, trumpet (12)
Jared Smith, keyboards (12)
Martin Pradler, electric piano (13)
Juliette Commagere, vocals (14)

Cover Art
UPC/Price
Label
CD+MP3
Price
16.00
UPC
075597990058BUN
Label
MP3
Price
12.00
UPC
075597993417
Label
CD+MP3+Book
UPC
075597993431BUN
Label
96/24 HD FLAC
Price
13.00
UPC
075597922578
  • 511762

News & Reviews

  • Congratulations to all of the Nonesuch nominees for the 65th Grammy Awards: Molly Tuttle for Best New Artist and Best Bluegrass Album for Crooked Tree with Golden Highway; The Black Keys for Best Rock Album for Dropout Boogie and Best Rock Performance for "Wild Child"; Dan Auerbach for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical; Cécile McLorin Salvant for Best Jazz Vocal Album for Ghost Song and Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals for "Optimistic Voices / No Love Dying"; Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride, and Brian Blade's LongGone for Best Instrumental Album; Brad Mehldau's Jacob's Ladder for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album; Punch Brothers' Hell on Church Street for Best Folk Album; Caroline Shaw & Attacca Quartet's Evergreen for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance; Taj Mahal & Ry Cooder's GET ON BOARD for Best Traditional Blues Album; Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (20th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition) for Best Historical Album and Best Album Notes for Bob Mehr; and Astor Piazzolla: The American Clavé Recordings. for Best Album Notes for Fernando González. 

  • Nearly sixty years after they first played together, Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal, longtime friends and collaborators, reunite with an album of music from two Piedmont blues masters who have inspired them all their lives: GET ON BOARD: THE SONGS OF SONNY TERRY & BROWNIE MCGHEE, out today on Nonesuch Records. With Taj Mahal on vocals, harmonica, guitar, and piano and Cooder on vocals, guitar, mandolin, and banjo—joined by Joachim Cooder on drums and bass—the duo recorded eleven songs drawn from recordings and live performances by Terry and McGhee, who they both first heard as teenagers in California. Also out today is a video them performing the song "Cornbread, Peas, Black Molasses," which you can watch here.

  • About This Album

    Ry Cooder completes his California trilogy (which began with 2005’s Chavez Ravine and 2007’s My Name Is Buddy) with I, Flathead, an album of music by the fictional musician Kash Buk and his band the Klowns, characters in Cooder’s 95-page novella. The album and novella were released together on June 24, 2008, by Nonesuch / Perro Verde Records.

    The novella tells the story of Kash Buk and his friend Shakey the alien, along with various friends, lovers, enemies, and associates in a bygone California filled with deserts, salt-flat racing, Native Americans, seedy dance halls, amusement parks, and sinister plots. The album comprises fourteen songs by Buk, a hard-boiled salt flat racer and roadhouse musician. With the story and the music, Cooder creates a universe where “strange people are the norm,” drawing from country western music, popular mechanics magazines, and science fiction films.

    Following Chavez Ravine, which examined loss of place and history, and My Name Is Buddy, which explored the loss of solidarity and unity, I, Flathead reflects change and disruption in a young, post-war, do-it-yourself culture of outsiders obsessed with racing cars fashioned from military surplus parts and flathead engines.

    As Kash Buk explains, “You got your hard times, your good times, a dog story for you animal lovers, and a forbidden-race love song, which every record ought to have at least one of. You’re going to meet the ghost of Dick Nixon the drag racer, plus a bonus Red-Scare speciality for all you politically-minded hi-brow foot-stompers out there. I felt it was important to include a circus story since most people agree the circus is a mirror for ‘life itself.’ And you can’t say you got a record album unless there is a selection of honky-tonk heart-ache ballats, so I took care of the ballat chores for you.” He continues, “And I spatially wanted to pay o-mage to the steel guitar legends of yore. It has been my privilege to know quite a few. That’s a hard-bitten, un-sung fraternity, and I figured if I remember them, some body might remember me some day and raise a glass some where and put a nickel in the juke-box.”

    Cooder produced the album and wrote or co-wrote all the songs. He sings and plays mandolin, guitar, and bass on the album, along with Mariachi Los Camperos; Joachim Cooder, and Jim Keltner on drums; Rene Camacho on bass; Francisco Torres on trombone; Ron Blake and Jon Hassell on trumpet; Anthony Gil on bass sax; Flaco Jimenez on accordion, Gil Bernal on tenor sax; Jared Smith on keyboards; Martin Pradler on electric piano and drums; and Juliette Commagere on vocals.

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    Ry Cooder, vocals (1-13), guitar (1-14), mandolin (1), bass (1, 2, 14), laud (10), electric piano (11)
    Joachim Cooder, drums (1, 3, 5, 8-14), timbales (7)
    Martin Pradler, drums (2, 4)
    Rene Camacho, bass (3, 5-11, 13)
    Jim Keltner, drums (6, 7)
    Erika, screaming cheerleader (6)
    Josh, Flathead (6)
    Fernando Ruleas,  himself (8)
    Francisco Torres, trombone (8)
    Ron Blake, trumpet (8)
    Anthony Gil, bass sax (8)
    Flaco Jimenez, accordion (10)
    Gil Bernal, tenor sax (12)
    Jon Hassell, trumpet (12)
    Jared Smith, keyboards (12)
    Martin Pradler, electric piano (13)
    Juliette Commagere, vocals (14)

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    Produced by Ry Cooder
    Recorded and mixed by Martin Pradler at Little Pink Studio, Los Angeles
    additional recording at Sage And Sound Studios, Hollywood, assisted by Alex Pavlides
    Ocean Studio, Burbank, assisted by Albert Mata
    Mastered by Stephen Marcussen @ Marcussen Mastering

    All songs written by Ry Cooder (Hi-Lo Shag Music BMI), except tracks 1, 14 also by Joachim Cooder (Zegama Beach Music BMI), track 12 also by Joachim Cooder, Jared Smith (Privy Seal Music ASCAP)
    Mariachi Los Camperos arrangement (track 1), string arrangement (tracks 7, 9, 10) by Jesus Guzman

    Package Design: Martin Pradler, Ry Cooder
    Cover Photo: © Ron Kellogg Collection