We Shall Be Happy
Label: Rhino/Warner Records
Jazz was very much an outgrowth of the nostalgia American music and cinema in the 1970s experienced for the early 20th century. Though always something of a revivalist, Cooder plays things exceedingly straight for this historical overview of ragtime, Spanish-American music, minstrelsy, blues and parlor music. The record is a pleasant enough listen, yet it definitely lacks the eccentricities that make Cooder's earlier efforts, such as Into the Purple Valley and his self-titled debut, so striking. Be sure to also check out Van Dyke Park's Discover America, which makes for a nice companion piece.