Magazine article U.S. Catholic

My Name Is Buddy

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

My Name Is Buddy

Article excerpt

MY NAME IS BUDDY Ry Cooder (Nonesuch, 2007)

In the age of the 99-cent digital download, the concept of an album, much less a "concept album;' may seem a bit passe. So here comes Ry Cooder with My Name Is Buddy, a 17-song fable that is not just a concept album but something approaching a roots-rock opera. The story follows a red cat named Buddy on his Dust Bowl migration in the company of an amphibian preacher named the Rev. Tom Toad. The illustrated CD booklet fills in the story around the songs.

Buddy's subject matter is at least as unfashionable as its delivery vehicle. Today the unionized percentage of the U.S. workforce is in single digits, yet Cooder has concocted a tale about the union-organizing drives of the Depression through songs that invoke the names of Joe Hill and Paul Robeson, and dare you to look them up.

But then Cooder has never been in step with the times. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, while his peers were going psychedelic, he made antique-sounding albums of American country- and blues-derived music. …

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