"Keeping the Blues Alive Award" Achievement for Blues on the Internet Presented by The Blues Foundation
For whatever reason, California's The Blasters never made much of a splash up here in Canada. Could it be because they're such a quintessentially American band?
Long since disbanded (they played their last show together in 1982), The Blasters' legend lives on. This live recording sees the original lineup - brothers Dave (guitars) and Phil (vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica) Alvin, bassist John Bazz, drummer Bill Bateman, and Gene Taylor on piano - reunited for the first time in twenty years. Whereas many such reunions have more to do with milking a few more bucks from what's long since passed into nostalgia, The Blasters appear motivated by nothing more than an urgent, burning need to play flat-out, sweaty rock 'n' roll.
There's no hint whatsoever that intervening years might have slowed the boys down at all; while theirs has always been, for lack of a better term, the "thinking man's rock 'n' roll," they approach it like teenagers discovering it's joyous exuberance for the very first time.
The playlist mixes band favourites ("Red Rose," "Trouble Bound," "Long White Cadillac") with a handful of blues, R&B and rockabilly semi-obscurities - Johnny 'Guitar' Watson's "Too Tired," Billy Boy Arnold's "I Wish You Would," Sonny Burgess' "Sadie's Back In Town" and the Leiber-Stoller penned "One Bad Stud."
Phil and Dave, both serious students of American roots music, are masters at throwing in musical quotes from surprising sources, their instrumental breaks often veering off into something entirely different; Phil's snatch of "When The Saints Go Marching In" in the middle of their own "So Long Baby Goodbye" being just one example. It's symptomatic of the band's freewheeling approach; it's all just music, and the only criteria that matters is whether it's good or not. Happily, it's all good here.
A definitive set, utterly timeless (though one could counter with the argument that they really don't make 'em like this anymore!), and a glorious romp through the rock 'n' roll landscape.
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