11 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Dave Alvin’s first solo album, from 1987, is a family affair, bringing together many leaders of the roots-rock scene that birthed his style. David Hidalgo from Los Lobos appears, as do X guitarist Tony Gilkyson, country songbird Katy Moffat, and drummer Jerry Angel. L.A. session whiz Greg Leisz provides the pedal steel that creates a breeze in “Border Radio” and “Fourth of July,” while legendary organist Al Kooper chips in his signature Hammond organ sound. At this point, Alvin was still preoccupied with the idea of juke-joint entertainment, and “Long White Cadillac,” “You Got Me," and “Romeo’s Escape” are sweaty barnbusters that offer some idea of what it felt like to be at North Hollywood's Palomino Club on a particularly rocking night. However, the songs where Alvin uses an understated touch have aged better. The sweet slow dance “Every Night About This Time” lets Alvin’s dry-aged voice carry the emotion, while “Brother on the Line” is even more stunning. Skeletal and echoic, the song is a tale of familial fracture that picks up the tradition of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, both thematically and atmospherically.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Dave Alvin’s first solo album, from 1987, is a family affair, bringing together many leaders of the roots-rock scene that birthed his style. David Hidalgo from Los Lobos appears, as do X guitarist Tony Gilkyson, country songbird Katy Moffat, and drummer Jerry Angel. L.A. session whiz Greg Leisz provides the pedal steel that creates a breeze in “Border Radio” and “Fourth of July,” while legendary organist Al Kooper chips in his signature Hammond organ sound. At this point, Alvin was still preoccupied with the idea of juke-joint entertainment, and “Long White Cadillac,” “You Got Me," and “Romeo’s Escape” are sweaty barnbusters that offer some idea of what it felt like to be at North Hollywood's Palomino Club on a particularly rocking night. However, the songs where Alvin uses an understated touch have aged better. The sweet slow dance “Every Night About This Time” lets Alvin’s dry-aged voice carry the emotion, while “Brother on the Line” is even more stunning. Skeletal and echoic, the song is a tale of familial fracture that picks up the tradition of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, both thematically and atmospherically.

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