By the time they emerged from the shadow of Disneyland and L.A. punk with a tough little self-titled record on Slash, The Blasters were the quintessential early '80s roots-rock band. They looked the part, they played the part, they lived the part. That record was as good as roots-rock got, recalling not only the style but the spirit of classic American rock 'n' roll while leaving fingerprints all over several classics from the '50s, from "Marie Marie" to "Border Radio." Dave Alvin left to play guitar with kindred spirits X after 1985's Hard Line, a blatant attempt at crossing over to the mainstream, where they illustrated just how far they'd strayed from "Border Radio" by covering John Mellencamp. But The Blasters are still out there tearing it up like 1960 never happened, fronted by the other Alvin brother, Phil. The original lineup reunited in 2002 after nearly two decades apart, as captured on a spirited live album, Trouble Bound. But by the time their first studio album since Hard Line emerged in 2004, they were down to one Alvin again. And no, it wasn't Dave.
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