No fiddle, no twang: All he ever wanted was a four-piece band!
If Alejandro Escovedo’s music career had ended after his initial Nuns/Rank and File/True Believers run his name would appear as a brief footnote in Rock history books and he would have ended up the hippest record store clerk you could imagine. Lucky for all of us that wasn’t the way it has played out. With his solo career, Alejandro’s proven himself a master singer/songwriter equally adept at creating full blown rockers, sensitive ballads and the occasional alt country tune. On Street Songs of Love (Fantasy) Alejandro gets his wish, a four-piece band and Alejandro and the Sensitive Boys play thirteen tracks of guitar driven pop rock for adults. There isn’t much alt or country which might not please the No Depression crowd. Joined by the usual suspects and partners from 2008’s Real Animal, including Chuck Prophet-songwriting and Tony Visconti-production, Alejandro’s given us a view into the world and word of love: “tragic love, romantic love, light love, pissed off love and angry love”.
Outstanding tracks that I hope don’t end up on George W. Bush’s iPOD playlist (remember “Castanets”?):
“Anchor”, the opening track, is a stadium rocker in the best sense.
“This Bed is Getting Crowded” deals with the haunting ghosts of past loves and relationships.
“Fall Apart With You”, complete with Fifties doo-wop flourishes, tells the tale of doomed lovers and could be a thematic if not stylistic companion piece to “Chelsea Hotel ’78”.
“Faith” brings in Springsteen’s growl to flesh out another rocker.
Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople, All the Young Dudes and 2007’s excellent and underated Shrunken Heads but you hipsters already know all that…..) appears on “Down On The Bowery”, a moving ballad, which finds Alejandro encouraging his son or maybe any son, to find himself, define himself and “Live long enough to forget half the stuff they taught you”.
If all you ever wanted was to hear a four-piece band, you can and should listen to several tracks from Street Songs of Love here.
Teaser: When I saw Alejandro in concert last fall he mentioned he had a tape of Ian Hunter singing the entire Real Animal disc. Sounds like the Holy Grail of bootlegs to me!