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Alejandro Escovedo "Real Animal" (2008)

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Alejandro Escovedo “Real Animal” (2008)

On his upcoming album, “Real Animal,” veteran singer/songwriter Alejandro Escovedo got to do something he hasn’t done since his days in Rank & File and the True Believers.

“I finally got to make a rock’n’roll record; I don’t feel I’ve done that as a solo artist,” Escovedo, who’s been putting out albums on his own since 1992 — save for the 1997 rock side trip in Buick Mackane — tells “I’ve always claimed that I was borne of rock’n’roll and that I was essentially a rocker, but I think that I’ve never really just made a rock album.”

Escovedo blames “the intensity of my life” — including deaths, divorce and a bout with Hepatitis C — for the more somber focus of his previous albums. But “Real Animal,” co-written with Chuck Prophet and produced by Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T. Rex, Morrissey) is a musical travelogue, with songs that trace Escovedo’s life from his birth in Texas to his musical development in California and his previous bands, including the punk rock outfit the Nuns. There’s also a song that recalls his time living in New York’s Chelsea Hotel at the same time as the Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious and his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen.

“It never really hit me until now, since I’m talking about this, that, wow, this has been a strange and crazy trip,” Escovedo notes with a laugh. “There’s some serious stuff, but I think it’s a very up album. I was in this constant state of turmoil for awhile, and I don’t feel those things anymore.”

Escovedo will be touring to support “Real Animal,” which comes out June 24, including a six-date run opening for the Dave Matthews Band in June. “His audience is very open audience for music,” Escovedo says. “They’re music lovers. I think we’ll be in good company, so I’m looking forward to that.”

Escovedo has TV appearances set for NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” on June 20 and the “Today” show on June 24. He also appears on his brother Pete Escovedo’s next album and on a tribute album for Chris Gaffney, both of which are due out later this year.

I think this is Alejandro Escovedo’s best studio album to date. Nothing matches the energy of an Alejandro live show, but I think this comes close. This is, flat out, a great rock and roll record. Legendary rock critic Dave Marsh calls it the “album of the year,” which is saying something. (Note: As I type this review it’s only late June, so calling this the album of the year may be pushing it just a bit…but it is defintely going to be a finalist for that title at the end of the year!) Tony Visconti’s stellar production helps make this album sound great, as does Chuck Prophet’s outstanding guitar work.

Escovedo is on top of his game vocally, and this batch of songs just shows that he’s getting stronger as a writer. He may have been down and out for awhile with his illness and all, but he’s back…and he’s better than ever! Standout tracks–for me at least–are “Always a Friend,” “Chelsea Hotel ’78,” and “Sister Lost Soul” (these are the first three tracks on the album, so what does that tell ya??). “Sensitive Boys” and “Swallows of San Juan” are also great songs on the mellower side. Nice to see Mr. Escovedo back on top and getting much critical acclaim.

-Dean Dauphinais


1. Always A Friend 3:35
2. Chelsea Hotel ’78 3:30
3. Sister Lost Soul 4:16
4. Smoke 4:23
5. Sensitive Boys 4:29
6. People (We’re Only Gonna Live So Long) 3:21
7. Golden Bear 3:58
8. Nuns Song 4:50
9. Real As An Animal 3:05
10. Hollywood Hills 3:42
11. Swallows Of San Juan 4:06
12. Chip N’ Tony 3:10
13. Slow Down

Here be Real Animals


“Real Animal” iBooklet:…..ooklet.pdf

Big thanks to the original poster

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July 9, 2008 Posted by | Alejandro Escovedo, Music_Alternative, _MUSIC | Leave a comment