The Blasters have been experiencing a resurgence of interest in recent times, so much so that the original band members (Phil and Dave Alvin, John Bazz, Bill Bateman and Gene Taylor) got back together to play several live dates in 2002. "Trouble Bound" captures some of the highlights of those gigs, showing that for sheer energy and passion there are still few bands that can hold a candle to the Blasters.
The band switch straight into overdrive with "Red Rose," giving it their all. Although Phil Alvin's vocals do get a little over exuberant when he tries to match the frenzied passion of the music, it all quickly settles down and everything locks tightly into place. In comparison, the title track is positively restrained, but it does demonstrate that the Blasters naturally encompassed light and shade in their playing. Things get ramped up again, however, for a terrific romp through "Long White Cadillac."
The band maintain the (controlled) power and passion throughout the album, and it must have been a hard choice to decide which songs to include, because they have an extensive repertoire of quality material to choose from. Many were penned by Dave Alvin, but they were also happy to include songs that reflected their roots in American music. Indeed several of the cover version on the album are dedicated to people who influenced the Blasters along the way (James Brown, Johnny Guitar Watson, and Sonny Burgess). Pride of place is naturally reserved for saxman Lee Allen. The whole album is dedicated to his memory, as well as a stirring rendition of "So Long Baby Goodbye," which precedes "American Music" which ends the main
A live album would not be a live album without an encore; "Trouble Bound" has two. The last of the covers, "One Bad Stud" is followed by a cracking
version of "Marie Marie" which was the song that first got me interested in the Blasters. It still remains a classic, and is a fine way to end a mighty
fine album. It all just makes you wish that you had been there.
Many live albums often leave something to be desired. "Trouble Bound" suffers no such problems, however, and is a terrific album that aptly
captures all the passion and energy of the Blasters live. The Blasters were one of the best rock'n'roll bands on the planet, and that was down to the
chemistry between the band members, including the Alvins. You would have to go a very long way to find a better live album anywhere. Be warned: after
playing "Trouble Bound" you may need to lie down in a darkened room to recover.
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