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Various Artists

Blastered – 1998 (Run Wild)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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In spite of the huge commercial success the Stray Cats enjoyed in the early '80's, the roots rock 'n' roll band of that period that has had the most influence in the intervening years has undoubtedly been The Blasters. The timing of a Blasters tribute is particularly ironic, given the fact that only the group's 1980 Rollin' Rock debut, "American Music," is currently in print.

In most cases the artists here tend to hew pretty closely to the originals, in many instances even duplicating Dave Alvin's original guitar solos. While no one manages to match the original versions, there are some spirited renditions; particularly the Original Sinners' "No Other Girl" and Jumpin' Jupiter's "Rock and Roll Will Stand," as well as an unreleased 1983 rendition of "Marie Marie" from Washington DC's Billy Hancock.

The real fun, though, comes from the offbeat covers; particularly Hot Rod Lincoln's Tex-Mex version of "Border Radio," Lucky 7's ska version of "So Long Baby Goodbye," and Last Train Home's acoustic-based alt-country version of the same song, the album's strongest number; making explicit a sorrowfulness only implicit in the 1981 original. Now if only someone can get Slash and/or Warner to do their jobs and reissue the originals. (Run Wild Records, PO Box 123, Lebanon, NJ 08833, E-Mail: