X: 4th of July
Dave Alvin: Fourth of July
I've been thinking - and blogging - about fourth-generation Californian Dave Alvin this week, as my family and I head up his native coast for the last weeks of school vacation; if you're a fan, or just a curious kitten, feel free to head over to Cover Lay Down for a few coversongs from his folkier side.
But sifting through the sands of any artist's career pulls up more than coverfolk. And interestingly, though his live version, recorded fifteen years afterwards on Out of California, finds a stopping place for its slowed-down, pensive transformation, Alvin originally recorded this song twice in the same year: once as a solo artist, and once as a member of the LA-based countrypunk band X. Both of the '86-'87 versions are rockers, in the same way that Springsteen was during the eighties, though the solo take is a bit more tejano-country; both fade out into oblivion, fitting both the unfinished emotional distance of the lyrics and the wail and cry Alvin pours through his frustrated and lost narrator.