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Ry Cooder
Reprise, 1972
Designer: Mike Salisbury
Photographer: Marty Evans

roximity to the dream factories of Hollywood helped Ry Cooder achieve his vision for the cover of Into the Purple Valley. "At tht time, the Warner Bros. film lot in Burbank was adjacent to the record-company building," Cooder says. "There wasn't much going on there -- it was kind of dormant. This old guy was taking me around. I knew I'd find something, but I didn't know exactly until he steered me to this library of gigantic set paintings."

Commandeering an unused stage on the lot, Cooder and his wife, Susan, set themselves up in a Buick convertible borrowed from a neighbor ("A beautiful car, but it ran like shit") and endured a blast from the studio rain machine. Today, Cooder credits the veteran lighting men who pitched in: "All the old-timers on the lot actually got it going; otherwise it just looks like nothing -- a car and a flat painting of the sky. It takes a lot of lights to perk it up. It took all day, but I had a great time.

"We didn't have video back then," says Cooder. "You had to suggest an alternative environment on the cover of your album. I used to think about ways to do this, mainly to please myself, and this one turned out pretty well."

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