Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Plasketes, George. "The Long Ryder: From Studio Sessions and Solo Artist to Score and Soundtrack Specialist: Ry Cooder's Musicological Quest." Popular Music and Society 22, no. 2 (Summer 1998): 49-65.

Ry Cooder's apprenticeship as a soundtrack specialist began in the 1960s in Southern California, where he was active in the blues and folk circles. Known primarily as a recording artist, Cooder is particularly adept at providing atmosphere for rural, Southwest, and Deep South settings; the three-inch, sawed-off sherry bottle neck he uses on slide guitar provides a rich tone that evokes the scorching heat and background dust of the American south. His music has been borrowed for several films depicting the rural South, and Cooder himself has compiled soundtracks for various feature length films and documentaries. Cooder's music first appeared in Blue Collar, directed by Paul Schrader, which borrowed Cooder's blues-based "Hard Working Man" in 1978 to depict auto workers' struggles with management and their unions. Later that year Cooder's 1970 song "Available Space" was used in Goin' South, directed by Jack Nicholson. Cocktail features Cooder's cover of "All Shook Up," and Steel Magnolias borrows Cooder's "I Got Mine" and Hank Williams's "Jambalaya" to convey a Cajun culture. Roger Donaldson's Cadillac Man makes use of Cooder's "The Tattler," as well as The Bee Gees's "Stayin' Alive," and Percy Mayfield's "Hit the Road Jack" to underscore Robin Williams's character's redemption.

Works: Jack Nitzsche and Ry Cooder: score to Blue Collar (57); Roger Donaldson: score to Goin' South (57); J. Peter Robinson, Jim Weidman, et al.: score to Cocktail (60); Georges Delerue: score to Steel Magnolias (61).

Sources: Ry Cooder: Hard Working Man (57), Available Space (57); Traditional: I Got Mine as performed by Ry Cooder (61); Ry Cooder: The Tattler (61); Hank Williams: Jambalaya (61); Otis Blackwell: All Shook Up as performed by Ry Cooder (60); Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb, and Barry Gibb: Stayin' Alive (61); Percy Mayfield: Hit the Road Jack (61).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Film

Contributed by: Kathleen Widden

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