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Alejandro Escovedo

A Man Under The Influence: Deluxe Bourbonitis Edition – 2009 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

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CDs by Alejandro Escovedo

Alejandro Escovedo may fly under the radar, but that doesn't mean he and his record label can't employ the marketing techniques of bigger entities. This new edition of his seminal "A Man Under The Influence" includes loads of sonic flotsam and jetsam that he has released through Bloodshot over the years, including a wonderful reading of Mick Jagger's Evening Gown, a study of a player who is fast learning he's becoming played out after so much wine, whiskey, women and song, and hopes a longtime lover will be his salvation. That theme - finding a way to rise even though you're down and out - is one of the hallmarks of Escovedo's work.

Whether he's bouncing through the melancholy Put You Down or blasting across the rocking Castanets, Escovedo is trying to exorcise his demons with determination, guitar and haunting arrangements that often make inventive use of strings. The man's influences range from the Velvet Underground to the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, a fact underscored by the artist's involvement in so many roots-rock and punk bands over the years, including Rank and File and the True Believers.

This "Bourbonitis" edition may be aimed mainly at completists since it includes all of "A Man Under the Influence" LP, previously unavailable on vinyl in the U.S., three songs from "Bourbonitis Blues" and three compilation tracks from his stint on the label, but if you're unfamiliar with Escovedo and haven't given this musician a good listen, it just might open the door to a whole new sonic world.