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In this Issue: The Original Four Blasters Reunite. Dave Alvin on: A Pilgrimage to Mississippi, a good will trip to Cambodia, and playing guitar for Sun Records Legends.

Latest news (((cont. from page 1))):  Look for a photo of Dave with the surf band Los Straightjackets in Random Notes in Rolling Stone magazine soon. It will be promoting the new Straightjackets album in which Dave sings lead vocals on one track. -- "Only A Hobo music promotion" in Italy has released a beautiful booklet of Dave Alvin lyrics. The 18 page book is printed in Italian and will be available for only a limited time. Inquire at record.runners@recordrunners.com  -- Incommunicado press (publisher of Dave Alvin's book of poetry) has run into some financial trouble, which raises doubt that they will still be in business when Dave finishes his long awaited second book of poetry. -- Dave has a feature interview in the August 2001 issue of Vintage Guitar magazine. The article is titled "X Blaster, Grammy Winner."
The Blue Shadows -- - The Blue Shadows are currently in the studio recording a full album of songs. The band will be using more instruments in the recordings than are heard in their live show arrangements. Kid Ramos and Gene Taylor will be playing on the album. Guitarist Mad Dog has left the band because of his busy schedule working on movie special effects (most recently the Planet Of The Apes movie).
-- Katy Moffatt's new album due out September 15 on Western Jubilee records includes Katy's a capella version of TEXAS RANGERS. Dave recorded that song last year on Public Domain. --

Ye Olde Blasters
The Original Four Blasters reunite
on stage in Long Beach, California Saturday June 23, 2001

Dave Alvin plays guitar for the
Sun Records legends

7/26/01 Dave Alvin tells the story himself:
Last week I got a phone call from Sonny Burgess.  He says, "Dave I'm playin' in Pasadena (CA) at the Ritz Carlton. Can you come down and be my guitar player." I said, "I'll be there!" He  didn't tell me anything else so I go down to the Ritz Carlton hotel and there are posters everywhere that say 'For PBS American Masters series: The Legacy of Sun Records.' I get up on stage and play the set and I didn't know who the bass player, the harmonica player or who the piano player was, but the drummer was DJ Fontana! And the rhythm guitar player was Jack Clement! (Legendary Sun records producer).
We did about 5 songs and Sonny says "I'd like to get Mr. Sam Phillips up here." Wow! Sam Phillips is here in California? He was here because this was the wrap party for this PBS documentary. Sam got up there and took the mic, said a few words, then sat down right in front of me. For the next 7 songs I was pulling out every Sun Records guitar lick that I knew from the blues stuff, to the country stuff, to the rockabilly stuff.
When we finished, I went behind the stage to put my stuff away and I heard a voice say, "Where you goin'? Where you goin'?" I turn around and it's Sam Phillips! He goes, "Boy, you got the feel. I haven't heard anyone playing guitar like that in a long time." I was like, "Tha-tha-tha-thank you Mr. Ph-Ph-Ph-Phillips (shaking)." That was just it! Oh! I was so nervous. I had to tell him that -- when he said in Rolling Stone years ago (1986) that he liked Bruce Springsteen, Merle Haggard, and the Blasters -- that was it for

Dave Alvin Pilgrimage to Mississippi

Dave at Elmore James' grave.

We drove to where "The Southern crosses the yellow Dog" (two railroad lines) and there was nothing there. (Ed. - This location is ground zero for bringing blues to the masses. In 1903 W.C. Handy was in Tutwiler, Mississippi and heard an itinerant musician playing a guitar with a knife blade singing "Going where the Southern crosses the Yellow Dog." In 1909, Handy used that line and the singer's style to write the break-through blues song MEMPHIS BLUES.)
We saw a lot of graves. Sonny Boy Williamson's was on the outskirts of a town and it was amazing. Elmore James's grave is in a cemetery behind a church in the woods in a really beautiful, peaceful place. Also we saw Mississippi Fred McDowell's, and Ishman Bracey's - he is one of my favorite old blues men. He had a beautiful headstone. My favorite was seeing Charlie Patton's grave. The wind was howling and the sun was going down. That was just amazing.  The last grave we visited was Gus Cannon's. Every grave I visited, I left a guitar pick. It's a tourist kind of thing - but it meant something to me.
This trip for me was like going to the holy land. Some of it was visually beautiful and some of it bleak. There is a sadness when you drive down a street like Fanin in Jackson, Beale Street in Memphis, or downtown Helena. Because so much has changed since agribusiness took over. The towns are dead. They have nice old downtowns but they are boarded up. But I finally made my pilgrimage to Mecca. 


Bobby Lloyd Hicks photo gallery  --  March 2001
Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men European Tour

Bobby Lloyd:  The gray poster (far left) is from Madrid, the white one (center) is from Italy. This poster was used for all the Italian dates. You'll notice the date is March 15th: The Ides Of March. Ironically, we played in Rome the night before and left the next morning for this gig in Sarzana. As we were leaving the city Dave commented, "This is probably a good day to get out of Rome."

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