Tulip Frenzy’s #2 Album of 2010: Alejandro Escovedo’s “Street Songs of Love”

Alejandro’s physical recovery from his collapse seven years ago from Hep C might have been enough: just being able to get out and play again, sober and with his head held high, would have been an accomplishment.   What is even more remarkable than just surviving is that after a perhaps understandably weak post-recovery album, The Boxing Mirror, his music has gotten stronger and better than ever before.  We really like Real Animal, and not just for the way he mined his own story to produce, with Chuck Prophet, a batch of great songs.  We liked how the album had a kick, and showcased a band that could snarl, as if Al wanted the world to know how he used to rock back in the day.  When his acoustic trio came through town a few times since, we saw glimmers of delicacy and power sometimes in the same phrase, and I think we expected his next album would be like one of his solo records from the 1990s, filled with rockers, sure, but notable more for the soft and pretty songs than the ones with punk resolve.  So we were totally unprepared for the sheer roar, the power and might of Street Songs of Love , probably the best album of Alejandro’s long and glorious career, and the hardest rocking album by an American punk this year.  Next year Al will turn 60, but he shows no sign of slowing down, pulling his punches, or going soft.  Thank God for life, sobriety, and whatever underlying rage that keeps propelling him forward.

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