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May 18, 2024

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Alejandro Escovedo
Bourbonitis Blues (Bloodshot Records)

By: Geoff Melton

From his early punk days in The Nuns, through stints in True Believers and Rank and File to his current solo career and side project with Buick MacKane, Alejandro Escovedo has rarely disappointed. His latest effort, Bourbonitis Blues, a mixture of originals and covers featuring his Orchestra (David Perales on violin, Brian Standefer on cello, guitarist Joe Eddy Hines and drummer Hector Munoz) and a handful of guests (Waco Brothers'/Mekons' Jon Langford, Kelly Hogan -> ex-Jody Grind and Rock*A*Teens, Trailer Bride's Melissa Swingle and Squirrel Nut Zippers' Chris Phillips among them) is a stellar work that stands among his best. Alongside the stirringly laid-back "I Was Drunk", "Everybody Loves Me", a great, reverb-drenched party rocker (you can practically hear a bar full of drunks singing along), the intense straight-ahead "Sacramento & Polk" and the swaggering "Guilty", are a diverse set of covers that he manages to make all his own. Probably most surprising of the covers is his take on Humble Pie's "Irene Wilde", a stirring acoustic version that gives the song a whole new meaning. The other covers are Gun Club's "Sex Beat", a roadhouse take on Jimie Rodgers' "California Blues", a stark, beautiful version of John Cale's "Amsterdam"and a captivating rendition of Velvet Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes", featuring the aforementioned Kelly Hogan on guestvocals. Bourbonitis Blues marks another notch in Escovedo's already very notched belt.
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