Dave Alvin – Romeo’s Escape

Romeo's Escape

Here’s a reissue of Alvin’s 1986 solo debut that didn’t get nearly the attention it deserved back then. After his stints with the Blasters and X, he cut out on his own, doing some new originals, and radically revamped versions of songs he had cut with the Blasters. Check out this take on “Border Radio.” The killer pedal steel highlights the melancholy of the lyric, as does Dave’s vocal. His take here on “Long White Cadillac” set the stage for the country hit version by Dwight Yoakam a few years later. It’s as rough and raw as it gets. “Every Night About This Time” is the kind of country ballad that should be covered by a major country artist and turned into a giant hit.

Some stuff here just plain rocks. His cover (is it a cover if you wrote the original and re-do yourself?) of “Jubiliee Train” out and out rocks. Same for “Far Away,” which sounds like roots rock and British Invasion crashing on a bridge. And “I Wish It Was Saturday Night” should be played by every bar band in the country. It’s that good.

This record was the kind that foreshadowed the radio format that became known as “Americana.” It relies on roots rock, blues, country, and Bob Dylan. Great stuff. If you missed it the first time around, here’s your chance to snag it again. Do it.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’01 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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