Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Ry Cooder 

Chavez Ravine (Nonesuch/Perro Verde)

Chavez Ravine is one of the most original and heartfelt records master musician/cultural catalyst Ry Cooder has ever released. It also signals his ambivalent, complex re-entry into U.S. culture after spending most of the '90s resurrecting pre-Castro Cuban music in the Buena Vista Social Club and its numerous spinoffs.

Chavez Ravine is Cooder's attempt to deconstruct and reconstruct a Latino neighborhood in Los Angeles that the city razed in the early '50s to make way for Dodger Stadium. Infused with news bites from the period highlighting the Red Scare and UFOs, the disc is colored by contributions from such legendary L.A. musicians as Thee Midniters' Little Willie G. and the last recording of Don Tosti, creator of the zoot-suited Pachuco sound. (Tosti died last August.)

Some tracks are disturbing, many are sad, some rock hard -- particularly the sly "Muy Fifi" and "Chinito Chinito," the churning recreation of a single Tosti recorded in 1949. Like In the Shadow of No Towers, Art Spiegelman's brilliant graphic novel about 9-11, history and commentary swirl here, creating a unique brew. May Cooder continue to mix past and present into even more stirring homages.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Carlo Wolff

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 17, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • The Temptations and the Four Tops @ MGM Northfield Park

    • Sun., Nov. 28
  • Songs of the Polka King Release Party with Joey Miskulin & the KTB @ Beachland Ballroom

    • Sun., Nov. 28
  • Jokes on You @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Last Sunday of every month

© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation