Dave and Phil Alvin of The Blasters, a cult favorite from the ’80s punk and roots-rock scenes, hadn’t made a record together for 30 years, but the brothers didn’t miss a beat. Common Ground, a collection of covers from Arkansas blues-man Big Bill Broonzy, debuted to critical acclaim last year from NPR, The Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times.
On September 18th, the duo will release their latest record Lost Time. Still covers, but instead of focusing on one artist, they pay tribute to everyone from Lead Belly to James Brown. The song “Wee Baby Blues” holds a special place for the Alvins, who grew up near Disneyland, but spent their time as teenagers learning from musicians at blues and country venues.
“It’s a song from our mentor, blues shouter Big Joe Turner that, and like many of his songs, is sentimental for us,” says Dave Alvin. “He was an early musical hero of ours and remains so now. When we were young teenagers, Phil and I followed Big Joe around from gig to gig, eventually getting to be lifelong friends with him. My brother had a pretty good blues band when he was a teenager and performed this song back then many times with Big Joe.”