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Rock - Released December 9, 2013 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Ry Cooder is not frequently considered a prolific recording artist, yet he has amassed a sizeable catalog of original albums and film scores over the decades. He has also participated in some truly and even historic projects from the 1960s on, including the Rising Sons with Taj Mahal, the Gabby Pahinui Hawaiian Band, Little Village, and the Buena Vista Social Club. Likewise, many of his collaborative dates are regarded as particularly noteworthy, especially his albums with Ali Farka Touré, V.M. Bhatt, Manuel Galban, and the Chieftains. This box collects in encyclopedic fashion Cooder's solo records for Warner beginning with his self-titled debut album and continues through his final album for the label proper, the brief yet classic Get Rhythm. In between, are Into the Purple Valley, Boomer's Story, Paradise and Lunch, Chicken Skin Music, Show Time, Jazz, Bop 'Til You Drop, Borderline, and The Slide Area. None of his soundtracks from this period are included -- too bad, actually. When tolled and juxtaposed with more recent recordings for Nonesuch, including his L.A. trilogy -- Chávez Ravine, My Name Is Buddy, I, Flathead: The Songs of Kash Buk & the Klowns -- and even Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down, it is obvious that Cooder has been mining a deep, rich vein in his exploration of North American, Hawaiian music, country, folk, blues, mariachi, Tejano, Norteño, rock & roll, swing, and more, placing them in a variety of contexts, all of which yield meaning as they underscore musical and cultural history and what gets lost as it evolves. He is not a preservationist, but one of our great historians. Each chapter in his recorded legacy is worthy of investigation. As is de rigueur in this Rhino series, each album is presented bare bones, in a paper LP-cover sleeve with original, scaled-down art contained in a cardboard slipcase sans bonus material or booklet. That said, given the price, having these records in one place -- as they've all been in and out of print over the past couple of decades -- is a real plus for fans. ~ Thom Jurek