Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#736 in the Series) is The Blasters, Fun on Saturday Night (Rip Cat Records)
The Blasters are quite simply a great band, and when you consider their longevity, body of work, and influence on the musical landscape (many consider them to be the first Alternative Country band), they should be right there on the Mount Rushmore of greatest American bands, mentioned in the same iconic breath as The Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Allman Brothers, or any other band you would care to mention. The fact that they are not in the Rock & Roll hall of fame is an over-site worthy of a senate investigation.
Taking time out from touring, where their incendiary live shows are the stuff of legends, Phil Alvin and the boys have delivered an album of pure Rock & Roll, good-time gumbo. On their new album, and freshman release on Rip Cat Records, Fun on Saturday Night, these cats throw musical caution and genres to the wind, and flutter brilliantly from rock to soul, blues, rockabilly, Tex-Mex, and Western Swing, all at the drop of a Fender Stratocaster, landing on one musical influence just long enough to titillate your senses before they are off on another sonic adventure. A full eight years have passed from their last proper studio release, 4-11-44, and with their latest, there is definitely truth in advertising.
Fun on Saturday Night is the PERFECT platter to play when the wife is away and you have the boys over to play pool, shoot a little whiskey, and have a little fun on a Saturday night. The set includes mostly old blues covers served straight up Blasters style. Alvin’s voice seems to be getting a little grainier and more whisky soaked as he ages, which he demonstrates in fine fashion on the scorchers “Rock My Blues Away,” and Magic Sam’s “Love Me With a Feeling.”
If you were wondering if the world needs another duet version of “Jackson,” the answer is a supreme and emphatic yes, with Alvin sounding like a school boy in lust as he effortlessly trades verses with the sultry Exene Cervenka from the Band X. Presumably the woman he is singing to on Jackson is not the same bi-polar love interest on the only new and original song on the album, “Breath of My Love,” since the heroine in question on this love gone wrong romp tries to stab him with a knife, turns him in to the police, and puts him in the slammer for three years on domestic violence charges. This song is a must listen.
The slow numbers including “No More Nights by Myself” also work very well here and are delicately placed within the rotation in just the right spots. Los Amigos even go Texas Tornados’, sans Flaco, on us with a stylistically upgraded version of the Dave Alvin penned classic “Marie, Marie,” renamed “Maria, Maria” a sublime song that is the perfect ending to a mostly perfect album.
When a band has been around as long as the Blasters have, there usually is a tendency to either break up, or jump on the new trend bandwagon, sliding over to the “of-the-moment” musical style. Thankfully, this band has not fallen into either of these fatalistic traps, and hopefully, now that they have hooked up with their simpatico partners-in-crime at Rip Cat Records, we won’t have to wait eight more years for another set of ear inspiring tunes like these.
- Well Oh Well
- Breath Of My Love
- Fun On Saturday Night
- No Nights By Myself
- Love Me With A Feeling
- I Don’t Want Cha
- Please Please Please
- Rock My Blues Away
- The Yodeling Mountaineer
- Maria Maria
- Phil Alvin – Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Vocals
- Bill Bateman – Drums
- John Bazz – Bass, Vocals
- Keith Wyatt – Guitar
- Eddie Nichols – Vocals
- Jeff Neal – Vocals
- Exene Cervenka – Vocals
- The Blasters Newsletter
- Rip Cat Records
- See our piece on The Blasters debut album.
- Author Walt Falconer’s Website, The Falcon’s Nest