Friday, March 27, 2015

Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin - Common Ground

Subtitled "Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy", this is a self-explanatory release. The Blasters brothers are huge fans of old time blues/rockabilly/country/r'n'r and give it all a go in this project dedicated to the long career of this legendary bluesman.

I've been a fan of the Blasters since first seeing them in the clubs when I moved to LA and can attest that they are still a strong live act and Phil's voice is as spectacular and powerful as ever. Dave is, of course, an exemplary guitarist, with a strong style that emotes with the simplest lick, though he is capable of blistering leads.

Here the two show off Broonzy's terrific songwriting while making the arrangements their own with the help of a number of friends, including their old piano pounder, Gene Taylor. They move from acoustic blues ("All By Myself"), to electric swing ("I Feel So Good" - man, Dave's solo stings here!), to acoustic boogie-woogie ("How You Want It Done?") and more. Dave gets to take lead vocal while Phil blows harp on the tough blues "Southern Flood Blues"

The brothers have gathered some of Big Bill's best tunes here and all are performed by some of the current masters of the genre. Both Alvin's get to shine, instrumentally and vocally (trading off leads and harmonizing) and the backing musicians truly know how to power the blues.

Any fan of the Blasters - and of quality blues - will dig this one! Get it!

(And ya gotta love the front cover - some things never change!)