I thought I'd investigate music by roots rock type bands who I hadn't heard much by. So I downloaded samples from The Georgia Satellites, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and the Black Crowes. I must say I wasn't that taken with any of them. I found them all rather generic. All were listenable but I thought the type of music had been done better by other bands such as the Stones, The Faces, Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Flamin' Groovies to name but four. Then I remembered a band called The Blasters. I'd read a fabulous review of their first album when it was originally released back in 1981, but had subsequently forgotten all about the band. The height of New Romanticism and New Wave wasn't really the right time for a band playing old style rock n roll, although the Straycats and Rockpile (the brilliant band fronted by Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe) were having some success with similar types of music in the UK during the turn of the 80's.
Anyway I was immensely impressed by The Blasters. They seem to have a cleaner, better produced sound compared to the Crowes, the Satellites and the Thunderbirds; their songs are stronger and they had a better singer. The only song that most people will be familiar with on this generously filled and superbly packaged and annotated compilation is the opening track 'Marie Marie' which was a big hit in the UK for Shaking Stevens. I must say I was surprised to discover this was a Blasters song as I thought it to be an original fifties rock n roll song originally recorded by someone such as Eddie Cochran. That's what's great about The Blasters - their original songs are as strong as the authentic rock and roll and r n b songs they cover, and consequently work brilliantly. 'Border Radio' and 'American Music' are perhaps two of their strongest but everything they did - and all of it is here on these two discs - is worthwhile. What is also great about the band is that their cover songs for the most part aren't the obvious ones, so no Chuck Berry, etc. Apart from 'High School Confidential', 'Keep a Knockin' and 'Got Love If You Want It' I'd never heard of any of their other covers songs, proving that there's still a wealth of little known r n r and r n b tunes out there.
The first disc is undoubtedly stronger as the band was fresher and more exciting. I suppose it's difficult for a band rooted in r n b and r n r to change their sound or 'progress', so it's perhaps inevitable that they're going to burn out creatively fairly quickly as happened with both Rockpile and The Straycats, although of course the Stones managed to sucessfully 'evolve' - at least for a time.
Anyway the bottom line is that if you like rock n roll guitar, boogie woogie piano and the wailing sax, you can't go wrong with this brilliant compilation. Quite simply the Blasters are a blast and the best undiscovered band I've heard for ages!