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From the Country Standard Time Archives

No double-edged sword for Alvin, Big Sandy

Local 608, Somerville, Mass., July 18, 2002

By Jeffrey B. Remz

SOMERVILLE, MA. - There was no double-edged sword when the concert combination of Dave Alvin and Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys hit the Boston area as both were quite up to the task.

Big Sandy and his latest incarnation of Boys (including Jeff West on upright bass, Bobby Trimble on drums and Ashley Kingman on guitar) offered a set mixing up a sound that tended to alternate between Western swing and rockabilly. Kingman was a particular stalwart.

The dapper looking Sandy possesses a smooth sounding voice with no need to overdo it ("Rockin' All the Time" and the closer to the regular set "Feelin' Kind of Lucky").

In fact, the group did just as well also with an instrumental thrown into the mix.

Indicative of the kind of evening that it was for the Californians, there was no encore apparently scheduled, but the crowd would not let them leave without one. Big Sandy probably could have dedicated "You Look That Good to Me" to the crowd, but they could have felt the same exact way.

Alvin is touring behind a live disc, "Out in California," recorded with his touring band, the Guilty Men.

No one, of course, has anything to be guilty about at all. Alvin clearly was enjoying himself this evening during a nearly two-hour set. He has a lot of timbre in his voice, rocked when needed to, but certainly knew his way around a folk, country or blues song as well.

He reached into different parts of his catalogue, throwing in some songs from The Blasters as well (the gems "Fourth of July" and "Marie Marie").

Like Big Sandy, Alvin has a crack unit backing him up. The key may have been the versatile Rick Shea on lap steel and mandolin plus Chris Gaffney on accordion (he sang one song, though not particularly needed), Joe Terry on keyboards, Gregory Boaz on bass and Bobby Lloyd Hicks on drums.

Maybe it was the other act that propelled both Big Sandy and Alvin to deliver the goods in their respective sets. Whatever the reason, both hit the mark.