It was nice to see a good-sized and enthusiastic crowd for Los Angeles roots-rockers the Blasters and simpatico locals Cowboys and Indian at Low Spirits this past Sunday. A man in front of me appeared deeply hurt when the fellow at the table adjacent called him “sir” but, beyond that, a rocking evening was clearly had by all.
I’ve been listening to the Blasters for a long time and, while watching them, it was impossible not to have memories flashing through my head with each tune. Different faces. “One red rose on a new black dress.” Different cities. “I’ve been fooling myself too long.” Different decades. “I sit in my car while she sings so sad.”
Singer Phil Alvin is moving into his 60’s and had to have an emergency tracheotomy awhile back. It makes me think about how many of the people that I’ve followed nearly all my life will no longer be around in another decade or so. I won’t name names lest any prognostication turn out to be true. But here’s to hoping Phil has many more years of trodding the boards left in him. We should all be so lucky to sound that good with a “shot voice.”
While stripped down, the current Blasters now feature largely the same line-up as when they formed in 1979. Phil’s brother, guitarist Dave, is not touring with the band, but both he and Phil, as well as others (including John Doe, singer/bassist of another band of many memories, X) are coming through when the Roots on the Rails train stops in Albuquerque on April 12. I don’t know if they’ll be playing a show in town that night, but, if they are, I’ll certainly be there. I don’t ever wait until “next time” these days.
Hey, I ain’t the guy standing in front of you taking photos with my phone. The shot on the right is from a different city, different decade. Elvis stood there.
John Mulhouse is an Albuquerque-based frequenter of gravel roads, ghost towns, and empty buildings. His blog, City of Dust, features photos and hidden history from all corners of New Mexico and beyond. See a NM-ghost-town-photo-a-day on Facebook.