You don't actually have to drink while listening
to Bourbonitis Blues, but it probably doesn't hurt any.
Escovedo's a legend, with a page in almost every rock critic's book
of People Who Aren't Huge Stars But Deserve To Be. His music
is painstakingly honest, full of real emotion and real experience and
real life -- everything the music industry isn't. Bourbonitis
Blues shows Escovedo in top form, as he and his "orchestra"
rip through an eclectic mix of originals and covers. "I Was Drunk"
turns a liquored-up stumble into a gorgeous waltz, while Ian Hunter's
"Irene Wilde" hits you with the full-on emotional impact of Escovedo's
impassioned vocals, gently backed by winsome strings and chugging
guitars. "Amsterdam" out-Stones the Stones, while the sizzling
blues-rock stomp of "Everybody Loves Me" and the hard-driving
"Sacramento & Polk" are two of the best ways to humanely euthanize
your stereo speakers. The always-excellent Kelly Hogan adds the
female counterpoint to the VU's "Pale Blue Eyes", artfully tinged with
mournful violin, while Mekon/Waco Brother John Langford sneers
into the mic on Jimmie Rodgers' "California Blues". You only get
nine tracks, but they get better with each successive listen -- Escovedo's
a freaking icon, dammit. Think Stones sans the
effects of money. Think Cohen with more focused bitterness.
Think Lou Reed if he had to work the land for a living. Get the
point? Think about getting Bourbonitis Blues.