The Blasters Release a New CD
Fun On Saturday Night

In This Issue: The Blasters new CD, Phil Alvin's 'miracle'
recovery, and the Troubadour Blues DVD release.



Phil Alvin Falls Ill in Spain; Blasters Cancel Euro-tour


     The Blasters' current lineup of Phil Alvin, John Bazz, Keith Wyatt, and Bill Bateman released their new album Fun On Saturday Night on July 3, 2012. It's the latest Blasters album since 2004's 4-11-44. Lead guitarist Keith Wyatt shares his recording sessions diary here:

Keith Wyatt: November 2011 -- During our semi-regular Wednesday get-together/rehearsal at Phil's house two weeks ago, the band was talking about assembling some merchandise to sell on the upcoming December 2011 west coast tour. For CDs, we still have copies of 4-11-44, but Bill replaced Jerry since we recorded that one, so it doesn't represent the current lineup, and the back catalog on Warner/Slash is much more expensive for us to get.
     Since we've been talking for several months about getting back in the studio to record some new material, it suddenly felt like the time was right for a new Blasters album, and of course with only weeks to go before the tour we had to make it happen within days. Phil knew Scott Abeyta of Rip Cat Records, who had offered to produce the sessions as well as handle packaging and distribution, so we set up a session for the following Monday at Pacific Studios in Culver City, CA.
     The day before, we met at 'Downey' Don Lamkin's house to rehearse (Phil's place is all torn up due to a floor refinishing job) and ran down the material to record - most of which we had





The songs from


Comments from Keith Wyatt and producer Scott Abeyta

1. Well Well Well

Keith Wyatt -- This one turned out well - we've been doing it for a while live, so it's had a chance to settle in. The sax solo on the record is a classic, so I built the guitar solo around some of those ideas.

Scott Abeyta -- In recording Keith's guitar at the November 2011 session, Keith played through my Fender tweed deluxe amp, an early 60's Fender Reverb tank, and my tape echo.  We just stuck a Shure SM 57 microphone in front of the amp.  He did a couple of guitar solos at his house, but I'm not exactly sure how he did those.  He recorded a couple of things at my studio and I think we used a '66 Fender Champ and the reverb tank. 

2. Jackson

Keith Wyatt -- We originally learned this to do at a Johnny Cash festival in LA; X was playing too, so we got Exene to come up and do it live with us. We cut the track without Exene, and then she and Phil put vocals on later. She has such a personal style that even though everyone knows the song, she makes it fresh. We've done it live with her a few other times, and it's always a high point.

Scott Abeyta -- This is a duet with Exene Cervenka. Whenever Phil and Exene are on stage together they do this. Phil and Exene were in the studio together, but sang at different times.  It really only worked when it was the three of us in the studio alone together.  They are really close long-time-friends that have a ton of respect for each other. 

3. Breath of My Love

Keith Wyatt -- This was originally called 'Bipolar Lover'. It went through a half-dozen versions before winding up like this, built around piano and background vocals. I'm not sure how we'll do it live again at this point, but I guess we'll find out on stage.

Scott Abeyta -- It features Eddie Nichols from the Royal Crown Revue on backing vocals.  Phil plays piano on this and another song on the album. This is one that Phil wrote and he swears it's a true story, very funny!  This song took us the longest to get done. We worked really hard on the vocals to get it right; I think it was worth it.


4. Fun On Saturday Night

Keith Wyatt -- This is another we've been doing live for a while. The guitar solo on the original record (Pete Lewis) is really good, so I kept it pretty close. I also cut another much different solo, but for various reasons it didn't wind up on the final version.

Scott Abeyta -- The title track.  A fun song! Phil's singing is really amazing; it was great working with him on this album.  He knows his voice really well, and he can tell when he gets it right. He has a lot of control of his voice and he really knows how to make it do all kinds of cool stuff.  He was sick when we did FUN ON SATURDAY NIGHT, so it is a little scratchy, but we decided to keep it 'cause it sounds cool on that song.

5. No Nights By Myself

Keith Wyatt -- This was a Sonny Boy Williamson track, very similar to MIGHTY LONG TIME, and Phil mixed the lyrics between them. We kept it real basic to focus on the vocal and harp.

Scott Abeyta -- This is a very cool old Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller) song.  You can hear Phil singing like Sonny Boy a bit on it, but with his own flair. Johnny Bazz plays upright bass on here and about 5 other songs on the album. It's a very distinctly different sound than electric bass.

6. Love Me With A Feeling

Keith Wyatt -- This turned out to be one of the best-sounding tracks overall and this is the live version, except for vocals. The band clicked and it has a nice overall sound. Again, it's very close to the Magic Sam original.

Scott Abeyta -- This is a Magic Sam song. I took a crack at the rhythm guitar on this, but Phil didn't like it, so he replayed it. Damn! I almost got to play guitar on a Blasters album !!!

7. I Don't Want 'Cha

Keith Wyatt -- This was a Jimmy Reed - style track on the flip side of HIGH HEEL SNEAKERS by Tommy Tucker. We stuck pretty close to the song in terms of feel; we listened to the original only a few times before laying it down. Like LOVE ME WITH A FEELING, it clicked pretty quickly although we've never played this one live.

Scott Abeyta -- This is a very rare Tommy Tucker song, and Phil owns the original 45 of it.  Reminds me a bit of Jimmy Reed.

8. Please Please Please

Keith Wyatt -- We originally cut this with the live band arrangement (electric guitar covering the background vocal parts), and the real background vocals and piano were added later. It wound up sounding much more old-school than the way we do it live, and Phil's vocal kills.

Scott Abeyta -- This again features Eddie Nichols on backing vocals, singing harmonies with Phil.


9. Rock My Blues Away

Keith Wyatt -- This is a well-known Gatemouth Brown number. I cut the guitar solo at home and sent it to Scott via a file-sharing network - not exactly old-school.

Scott Abeyta -- One day at my studio we were recording the backing vocals for this, and we needed another voice. Just then my mailman came walking in, so we got him to sing "pretty baby" with Phil and Bazz.

10. Penny

Keith Wyatt -- We cut this in Chicago last year; the track is the same, but Phil re-did the vocals. It started off as an impromptu Howling Wolf-inspired guitar lick as we were getting sounds in the studio and then everybody joined in. Phil's lyric talks about a certain young lady with unusual tastes who had turned up at the show the previous night.

Scott Abeyta -- This song was actually recorded in Chicago a while ago.  The band was doing a rehearsal and rolled tape.  They made it up on the fly.  We just redid the vocals for it and it was good to go.

11. Yodeling Mountaineer

Keith Wyatt -- Another sort of off-the-cuff choice; we have been doing this live intermittently so everyone knew it, but we wound up adding different rhythm parts and solos later.

Scott Abeyta -- A very rare song. In fact, it was really hard to find the writer's credits and publishing info on this one.  Cool song, Phil yodels in it!

12. Maria Maria

Keith Wyatt -- It's MARIE MARIE as an acoustic waltz: this is one of my favorites since it's such a different take on one of the Blasters best-known songs. The vocal and bass were done live; I overdubbed the acoustic later (again at home) and Kid Ramos added the bajo sexto. I was going for something between EL PASO and THE THRD MAN THEME - it took a while, but I think it turned out cool.

Scott Abeyta -- This is a Mexican version of their 80's hit MARIE MARIE.  I was working on The 44's CD with Kid Ramos and when I played it for him, he said: "Wait here": then he came back with a Baja Sexto (a 12-string Mariachi guitar) and we added it to the track.