Blues Bytes


August 2012

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The Blasters
Fun On A Saturday Night
Rip Cat Records

The Blasters

It’s been eight years since The Blasters’ last album release, but that’s okay because there was a nearly 20-year gap between the previous two. Fun On A Saturday Night (Rip Cat Records) leans more toward the blues than their previous efforts. The band has always mixed the blues into their brand of “American Music,” although the mix usually included New Orleans R&B, Memphis soul, country and swing, and even Tex-Mex from time to time.

Though primary songwriter Dave Alvin left the group years ago, the rest of the group remains intact, including Dave’s brother, Phil, who sings, plays piano, guitar, and harmonica) and remaining original members Bill Bateman (drums) and John Bazz (bass). Guitarist Keith Wyatt completes the group, but they also get help on this new release from Kid Ramos, Exene Cervenka, and backup singers Jeff Neal and Eddie Nichols.

The Blasters have always managed to breathe new life into old classic tunes, and they still have the Midas touch, whether on tracks like the old Johnny Cash/June Carter tune, “Jackson” (a Phil Alvin/Exene Cervenka duet), a blistering version of Tiny Bradshaw’s “Well, Oh Well,” a manic take on Magic Sam’s “Love Me With A Feeling,” and even a bold cover of James Brown’s “Please Please Please.” The title cut rocks hard and Sonny Boy Williamson’s “No Nights By Myself” is pure, unadulterated blues at its finest.
The three most unusual cuts would have to be the reworking of the Blasters’ hit from the ’80s (“Marie Marie”) into a Mexican folk number (“Maria Maria”), Alvin’s fun interpretation of “The Yodeling Mountaineer,” and the slighty twisted original “Breath of My Love,” a doo wop tune like you’ve never heard before.

Phil Alvin sounds great on vocals and his harmonica work is marvelous. The lead guitar work from Wyatt is understated, but impressive and fits the material like a glove. The rhythm section is as great as they ever were. The only issue I have with this album is that its not long enough.

Fun On A Saturday Night is an appropriate title. The disc sounds like the band came together to have a blast and play some of their favorite tunes. Here’s hoping that The Blasters close the gap between new releases even more next time around.

--- Graham Clarke


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