V/A Por Vida: Songs of Alejandro Escovedo CD review [Or Music]

Music Reviews
V/A Por Vida: Songs of Alejandro Escovedo CD review [Or Music]
Jul 27, 2004, 23:38

VARIOUS ARTISTS Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo 2XCD

Music runs deep in Alejandro Escovedo's family and their influence can be felt in various genres that range from punk to Latin jazz to country. Alejandro, the son of a Mexican immigrant who sang in mariachi bands and hustled pool when he wasn't working in the fields, is one of twelve children. His brothers Pete and Coke helped create the rhythms that fueled Carlos Santana's early work and later went on to form Azteca. Pete, still at the forefront of Latin jazz is the father of Shiela E. who did for Prince what her father and uncle had done for Santana years earlier. Javier Escovedo was a founding member of seventies punk outfit The Zeros who held their own among LA's finest and spawned El Vez. Youngest brother Mario was a founding member and frontman for San Diego's much beloved Dragons. As for Alejandro? He had a hand in the early punk scene as a member of San Franciso's The Nuns, spent some time in Rank and File, and along with brother Javier formed The True Believers. Since then Alejandro has gone solo, with the exception of the brilliant Buick MacKane, and recorded some of the most heart felt, down home, personal music you will ever hear while still paying homage to his musical heroes. Unfortunately, Alejandro discovered he had Hepatitis C in 2003 and of course like most musicians he has no health insurance. This tribute was put together to help offset the many medical expenses accrued from Escovedo's ongoing treatment. Offering their own take on Escovedo's songs ranges from those who have been in his life forever (Pete, Shiela E., Javier, and Mario) to those he's collaborated with (Jon Dee Graham and Peter Case), to his hero Ian Hunter to those who just admire a goddamn good song (Lucinda Williams, Calexico, Son Volt, Jon Cale, and Lenny Kaye). This is one of the better and more worthy tributes and a lot of that has to do with Escovedo's songs. He definitely doesn't get enough credit for his abilities as a songwriter. Hopefully, this tribute will change that along with raising some money so that he can continue to do what he does best. [Or Music]

-Troy Brookins

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