From his 1982 cow-punk work with Rank and File, to the cathartic Texas duende of the True Believers, to his willful endurance as a solo artist, Alejandro Escovedo has carried himself with earnestness, integrity and enthusiasm.
On "Bourbonitis Blues," his second album for Bloodshot Records, Escovedo turns in a measured effort that distills his many influences. Several well-chosen cover tunes reveal Escovedo's classic rock & roll attitude tempered by experience. His emotive version of John Cale's haunting "Amsterdam" is as stirring as the original version was in 1969. There are dramatic renditions of Ian Hunter's "Irene Wilde," a classic Gun Club tune called "Sex Beat" and Lou Reed's "Pale Blue Eyes." The originals are equally compelling.
Using a stripped-down band that includes the wildman-guitar of Joe Eddy Hines and a two-man string section, Escovedo rocks outrageously and croons modern lullabies with equal aplomb. His barn-burning rave-out "Everybody Loves Me" draws guitar riffs from Chuck Berry and Keith Richards, and churns them out as fresh. Maybe his best yet.
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