released June 29th, 2010

from the album - Anchor

from all music

Alejandro Escovedo's family tree includes former Santana percussionist Pete Escovedo and Pete's daughter Sheila E (also Prince's former drummer and later a pop star). He began his music career with the Nuns, a mid-'70s punk band based in San Francisco. He co-founded the pioneering cowpunk band Rank and File in 1979, which moved to Austin, TX, in 1981 after a stint in New York City. The band released Sundown on Slash Records in 1982, but shortly after, Escovedo left to form the True Believers with brother Javier. The band recorded two albums for EMI and toured the country, often as an opening act for Los Lobos. However, EMI opted not to release the second album, which eventually led to the group's breakup. (It eventually surfaced as a bonus item when Rykodisc reissued the first set on CD in 1994.) Escovedo released a solo album in 1992 on Watermelon Records, Gravity, uniting his wide variety of styles; the album was produced by Stephen Bruton of Bonnie Raitt's band. Escovedo also began gigging periodically with the band Buick MacKane, which fused old-school punk with '70s glam rock; after Rykodisc released Escovedo's With These Hands in 1996, they followed it up with Buick MacKane's long-awaited album. After Escovedo parted ways with Rykodisc, he signed in 1998 with the Chicago-based alt-country label Bloodshot, which released the live album More Miles Than Money: Live 1994-1996 and the acclaimed studio set A Man Under the Influence. In April 2003, Escovedo collapsed following a show in Phoenix, AZ, after which it was subsequently revealed that he had been diagnosed with Hepatitis C in the late '90s but had not sought treatment. An outpouring of support from musicians led to a series of successful benefit concerts to help pay Escovedo's medical expenses and keep his music before the public, followed by a tribute album, Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo, which was released in 2004. In 2006, Escovedo released Boxing Mirror and toured with the Alejandro Escovedo String Quintet to promote the album. His next album, Real Animal, was produced by Tony Visconti and released in June 2008. Escovedo re-teamed with Visconti for 2010's Street Songs of Love.

album review

Street Songs of Love, Alejandro Escovedo's tenth studio album, is the first time in his career he has written an album entirely comprised of visceral, aggressive rock & roll love songs. Tony Visconti (who produced The Real Animal) is back in the production seat with Bob Clearmountain mixing. Most of the album was co-written with Chuck Prophet, a partnership that began on The Real Animal, but it's grown into something intensely focused. On these songs, the tempos are faster, the sounds harder. David Pulkingham's guitars scream and pummel, Bobby Daniels' bass rumbles and punches, and Hector Muñoz's drums sound like cracking thunder. (They're called the Sensitive Boys.) The tension and drama in Escovedo's vocal delivery are tough and tender simultaneously. His lyrics typically sear — burning with sensuality and heartbreak, loss and anger — yet ultimately surrender to love's power as a redemptive force that may tear one to pieces in the purification process. His words here reflect the truths revealed by songwriters Doc Pomus, Percy Mayfield and Lou Reed. Escovedo's singing is in-the-moment street poetry. On "Anchor," chunky power chords announce him: "I've always loved your love/In and out, up and down/If your love was a ship/I'd pull your anchor and I'd christen it/I'm in love with love/And it broke me in two...." The Sensitive Boys kick up a ruckus as Karla Manzur and Nakia Reynoso temper them like a back-alley angel chorus. "Silver Cloud" is ferocious with guitar riffs pushing Escovedo's vocal hard to get out in front. One can hear traces of glam in the mix and refrains, but the melody is pure Escovedo. Ian Hunter helps out on "Down in the Bowery," a beautiful, truth-telling street-corner ballad that stands up with the best from Dion and Willy Deville. Bruce Springsteen makes a duet appearance on the blazing anthem "Faith": they roar Alejandro's lyrics like unhinged prophets preaching the necessity of belief in the Beloved. Pulkingham's leads tear a hole in the mix and Muñoz's drums, nearly shove the time signature off the rails. "Tender Heart" has a furious, melt-your-face-off garage band intensity; "Shelling Rain" is pained desire and loss in rocking soul; "Tula" is a rumbling, funky blues. There is swaggering rage and revulsion in "This Bed Is Getting Crowded," and brazen desire in the knife-edged, sensual strut of the title cut. "Fall Apart with You" updates the Lieber & Stoller love song model. Street Songs of Love is the most raucous, rawest, and finest album Escovedo's yet released. In crafting this song cycle, he pulled out all the stops and reveals — at last — all his talent at once; it's a portrait of the artist at his zenith. Escovedo can take his place among the greats he's admired all his life; he's earned it, and at this juncture, there are few even in his league.

Track Listing

1 Anchor Escovedo, Prophet 3:30
2 Silver Cloud Escovedo 3:03
3 This Bed Is Getting Crowded Escovedo, Prophet 3:16
4 Street Songs Escovedo, Prophet 2:46
5 Down in the Bowery Escovedo, Prophet 4:17
6 Tender Heart Escovedo, Prophet 2:26
7 After the Meteor Showers Escovedo 4:38
8 Tula Escovedo, Tremulis 3:48
9 Undesired Escovedo, Prophet 4:26
10 Fall Apart with You Escovedo 4:19
11 Shelling Rain Christoff, Escovedo 3:20
12 Faith Escovedo, Prophet 3:26
13 Fort Worth Blue Escovedo, Pulkingham 2:51