“Mexican kids are shooting fireworks below”

July 4, 2012

Some time in the mid-’90s, I was with my friend Keith, as I often was, at Atlanta’s wonderful Variety Playhouse in the Little Five Points neighborhood. We split our concert-going between musicians I wanted to see and musicians he wanted to see. This time we were there for Keith’s musicians—Buddy and Julie Miller. The Millers were playing on a bill that featured the roster of artists on the roots-music-specialty label Hightone Records.

The show was long, and I was getting bored. I wanted to leave before the headliner, Dave Alvin, came on. I had never heard of Alvin. He played in a roots-rock band in the early-’80s called the Blasters and was, for a short stint, Billy Zoom’s replacement in the punk band X.

I’m glad I stuck around. Alvin and his band came on and burned the place to the ground! It was simply the best 45 minutes or so of live rock and roll I had ever heard. Alvin is a blistering lead guitarist. And like only a small number of other players, he can write songs as well as he can play.

And here is one of them, “4th of July,” recorded live for Austin City Limits. X recorded a version of this song when he was with them in 1985, but I still like his better. I thought this was appropriate for today. You get a sense of his guitar chops beginning around 3:45.

Rock and roll! My favorite thing that America invented. 

2 Responses to ““Mexican kids are shooting fireworks below””

  1. Jane Rogers Says:

    Whoo-hoo! Loved this! The best elements of rock and roll! Where is Alvin today?

    • brentwhite Says:

      He’s still on the road somewhere. I’ve since seen him in concert a few times. I need to see when he’s coming to Atlanta again!

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