Monday, July 14, 2008


Although I was familiar with the music of the Blasters a long time ago, I only became aware of the solo work of Dave Alvin within the last few years. My initial interest in his song writing came from listening to the cover of his best song, Fourth Of July, on Robert Earl Keen's album Picnic. Robert has a real knack for picking great songs to cover on his albums. When you write as well as Robert, you don't need any filler on your records. It is a good reason to take notice of any song he chooses to cover. (His versions of the McMurtry tunes Out Here in the Middle and Levelland  are other good examples )

Fourth of July is a memorable song. The moody, sad setting is portrayed by Alvin's strong singing and nice work from the band. I love these lyrics:

 She's waiting for me when I get home from work
But things just ain't the same
She turns out the lights and cries in the dark
Won't answer when I call her name

On the stairs I smoke a cigarette alone
The Mexican kids are shooting fireworks below
Hey baby, it's the Fourth of July
Hey baby, it's the Fourth of July

She gives me her check when I want her lips
And I don't have the strength to go
On the lost side of town in a dark apartment
We gave up trying a long time ago

What ever happened, I apologize
So dry your tears and baby walk outside
It's the Fourth of July

Intrigued by that song, I bought the King of California. It is a fine CD. Filled with well written songs and great playing, I would recommend it to anyone who likes good roots music. It is as good as it gets.

Essential Dave Alvin releases include The King of California and West of the West, which is an CD of covers. A Dave Alvin iTunes playlist should include:
  1. Fourth of July
  2. Nine Volt Heart
  3. Every Night About This Time
  4. Blue Wing
  5. Border Radio
  6. King of California
  7. Abilene
  8. Little Honey
  9. Ashgrove
  10. Kern River (Merle Haggard)
  11. Sonora's Death Row (Kevin Farrell)


Post a Comment