Phil Alvin: Un “Sung Stories” (Ace/Border)

 |   |  1 min read

Daddy Rollin' Stone
Phil Alvin: Un “Sung Stories” (Ace/Border)

Although America's Blasters never really got their due in the late Seventies/early Eighties for their full throated blues, rockabilly and rock'n'roll-based sound in the punk era, one of the co-founders Dave Alvin went on to a significant solo career.

His co-founding brother Phil didn't pursue much music after the band broke up – he studied maths and AI at university and as a post-grad is officially Dr Phil – but he did release one solo album before going back to uni.

This one from '86 – now reissued by Ace – is dedicated to Big Joe Turner and features his own small band with guests the Dirty Dozen Brass Band (on the Nawlins' opener Someone Stole Gabriel's Horn) and Sun Ra and the Arkestra.

It features a Cab Calloway medley as well as Cab's Minnie the Moocher, Otis Blackwell's Daddy Rollin' Stone and the Depression-era standard Brother Can You Spare a Dime?

So he reached back to a time well before his, as the Blasters sometimes did – he'd written very little for the Blasters, that was Dave's role – and that makes this an enjoyable retro-romp (check out Ra and Arkestra swinging through Old Man of the Mountain, or their melancholy setting on Brother) with some brittle high points like Daddy Rollin' Stone and faithful re-presentations of some very very old songs (Next Week Sometimes date back to the Twenties).

The Blaster's debut album – which included Dave's originals alongside material by Bill Haley, Jimmy Rodgers, Billy Boy Arnold and others – was entitled American Music.

And for his debut, Phil Alvin remained faithful to that description.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Belle and Sebastian: Write About Love (Rough Trade)

Belle and Sebastian: Write About Love (Rough Trade)

There is perhaps little point in tryin to "sell" Belle and Sebastian, a Scottish group which has appeared at Elsewhere a couple of times (here), because their deft and literate pop has... > Read more

Ardijah: The Best; PolyFonk (PolyFonk)

Ardijah: The Best; PolyFonk (PolyFonk)

In the decade before hip-hop became the distinctive voice of South Auckland, the Polynesian soul-funk of Ardijah was the most prominent and carried to a wider audience by the singles Give Me... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Mark Lockett

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Mark Lockett

Although drummer/composer Mark Lockett has lived in Melbourne for the past decade, he still feels the draw of his homeland and – with the release of his debut album Sneaking Out After... > Read more

CHARLIE PARKER: If only . . .

CHARLIE PARKER: If only . . .

The night I heard Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter had separated I went on a half serious, half parody, totally drunken Rod bender. I played all his Famously Scottish Songs (me‘n’Rod... > Read more