The Blasters, Hard Line, 1985

Produzent/ Jeff Eyrich

Label/ Slash

Die Blasters kommen aus einem Vorort von Los Angeles. In den frühen 80ern waren sie Teil der L.A.-Punk-Szene. Zwar spielten sie klassischen Rockabilly, aber mit einer derartigen Intensität, dass sie sich die Bühne mit Bands wie Black Flag oder X teilten, ohne vom Publikum aufgefressen zu werden. Die Band bestand in der Originalbesetzung aus dem Brüderpaar Dave und Phil Alvin, sowie Bill Bateman und John Bazz. Phil Alvin hat Mathematik studiert und verfügt über ein enzyklopädisches popmusikalisches Wissen. Diese Besessenheit war es, die die Alvins früh in Clubs trieb, wo sie damals wenig beachtete Blues-Grössen von früher live erlebten.

Von Beginn an mischten die Blasters Coverversionen mit eigenen Songs. Ihr Album „Hard Line“ hätte 1985 den grossen Durchbruch bringen sollen, nachdem sich die Band mit dem Debüt, einem Live-Album und der LP „Non Fiction“ eine treue Fangemeinde erspielt hatte. Das ging leider nicht, weil die sich ohnehin ständig in den Haaren liegenden Brüder zerstritten, und Dave dann eine Solokarriere einschlug. Trotzdem befindet sich auf „Hard Line“ ein Song, mit dem die Blasters in den 90er Jahren einem grösseren Publikum bekannt wurden. Ihr „Dark Night“ wurde in Robert Rodriguez‘ Film „From Dusk Till Dawn“ als Sound-Track verwendet und ist seitdem einer der Signationsongs der Band.

„Hard Line“ mag stellenweise überproduziert sein. Und doch hat es Songs, die zeitlos gut sind. Das beseelte „Help You Dream“, das Tex-Mex angehauchte „Hey Girl“ oder das vibrierende „Little Honey“. Wer auf amerikanischen Roots-Rockabilly steht, sollte hier mal reinhören. Die Blasters sind auf diesem Gebiet meisterlich. Ihre persönliche Note macht hier das Potential aus.

22 Gedanken zu “

  1. I love Hard Line, and I love everything the Blasters ever did. Also Dave Alvin’s solo records, and the recent, blues-based ones he made with his brother. Dave Alvin has a big heart, he is a great storyteller too. I saw him and Jimmie Dale Gilmore play in a small venue last year here in Belgium. One of the last concerts I went to before Covid-19. So exciting, even a version of the old hippie song Get Together.
    Dave Alvin made a new album, a psychedelic one, with some friends, called the Third Mind.

    Gefällt 1 Person

    1. Thanks, Martin! I discovered the Blasters in the early 80s. Back then there were a lot of good bands from the L.A. scene: Gun Club, Violent Femmes, Faith Non More, Los Lobos etc. Live I saw the Blasters just once 1984 in New York; great show, but I had forgotten all about them until I was turned on to Dave Alvin some years ago by „Songs From The Wild Land“. The two brothers also recorded a fantastic Big Bill Broonzy homage album. Today I rediscover the blasters again. Every song on „Hard Line“ is enjoyable. And I think, It’s true what they say on the last song in the album: „Rock And Roll Will Stand“.

      Gefällt mir

  2. Whereas to me the „cold logic“ of formulas and numbers aren’t a natural fit to passionate and soulful music, I guess Phil Alvin demonstrated even mathematicians can rock – sorry, mathematicians, as you can sense, the subject and little me weren’t exactly a love affair, especially in high school. Of course, it was all teachers‘ fault! 🙂

    On a more serious note, this is great music. I know CB really digs The Blasters. Inspired by him, I listened to some of their music before, but I clearly have to further explore them!

    Gefällt 1 Person

    1. Thanks, Christian! Everyone who plays an instrument knows that music has to do with mathematics, but music also works through other associations, can hardly be understood without historical and social references. I don’t want to rule out that in the future specially tailored algorithms will be able to compose music and express our feelings and moods. I’ll keep sticking with the classics and I’m happy with the dynamic roots rock of the Blasters now. Here I have definitely things in common ground with our friend CB.

      Gefällt 1 Person

  3. I love this album. I love The Blasters, but then again I have an affinity for Rockabilly. I agree that Hard Line might be a little over produced, but I don’t mind it. I like The Stray Cats–a lot. I also like the rawness of The Circle Jerks and the lush urgency of the White Stripes and the Jack White produced Loretta Lynn album Van Lear Rose. On the other end of the spectrum, I like some Mutt Lang produced stuff too.

    Gefällt 1 Person

    1. From the start, The Blasters cultivated various traditions of original rock’n’roll: rockabilly, R&B etc. The direction is, on the surface, backwards. But „Hard Line“ sounds a bit different. The subject matter is a bit darker and the melodic structure of the songs is more complex. The album gave a hint of what could have come next, but, unfortunately, didn’t. But then it started with Dave Alvin and finally the brothers came together again and it turned out for a second act for these two.

      Gefällt 1 Person

    1. No problem! Du brauchst hier nichts zu beweisen. Wer sich mit der Musik beschäftigt, die er liebt, stösst dabei nicht nur auf ein unglaubliches Reservoir an interessanten Geschichten, sondern macht dabei auch musikalische Entdeckungen.

      Gefällt 1 Person

    1. I just waited for CB to sign in here. The Blasters were fantastic. I once saw them live 1984 in New York , the room with the 600 people was cooking. Unfortunately, they rarely played in Europe. „Hard Line“ is a good album, even if I think a few songs are sligthly overproduced, even The Jordanaires, Elvis‘ background singers participated on these.

      Gefällt 1 Person

      1. If my memory serves me , John Mellencamp produced it or a few songs. ‚Colored Lights‘ comes to mind.
        Living on the West Coast I was lucky because all those LA bands would come to Van. The first time I saw them (???). Ray Allen was in the band along with Steve Berlin before he left. They absolutely were fantastic live. You were lucky to see them.
        I love the Blasters and this Album Fox. ‚Common Man‘ is a favorite. Thanks for this one.

        Gefällt 1 Person

      2. I thought The Blasters were pretty cool back then, but the Stray Cats were even cooler. I wasn’t so much into them until I discovered Dave and Phil with their tribute to the country blues. At that time I started hearing their early records again. The Alvin Brothers gave a concert in 12019 Lucerne with their band The Guilty Ones – unfortunately I missed that!

        Gefällt 1 Person

      3. I liked the Cat too. I seen both bands a few times
        I seen Dave with Tom Russel and Peter Case when they put together ‚Tulare Dust’a tribute to Merle haggard. Great night, No matter what Dave or Phil do it makes for great music a killer shows.

        Gefällt 1 Person

    1. Sorry, it took longer to answer you, but your comment landed up in spam! Yep, the Blasters were a high-water mark for energy and plain fun music. And there is plenty of energy here, but perhaps a bit too overproduced.

      Gefällt mir

      1. Probably the most polished of the three original studio albums.I love the energy of the debut but the second one,‘ Non- Fiction‘ is incredibly strong,my fave. The Alvins have added so much to the musical legacy they revere!

        Gefällt 1 Person

Die Kommentarfunktion ist geschlossen.