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Por Vida: A Tribute To The Songs Of Alejandro Escovedo

Alejandro EscovedoAudio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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"Musically, Alejandro Escovedo is in his own genre." David Fricke, Rolling Stone

Alejandro's whole life has pretty much been documented already and reads like a "How to Make Rock and Roll A Lifelong Profession" primer. Ground Zero punk rock dude with The Nuns (they opened for the Sex Pistols last show, you know), cowpunk progenitor in Rank and File, gutter ... Read more in Amazon's Alejandro Escovedo Store

Visit Amazon's Alejandro Escovedo Store
for 17 albums, 10 photos, and 20 full streaming songs.

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Por Vida: A Tribute To The Songs Of Alejandro Escovedo + Street Songs of Love
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 27, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Or. Music
  • ASIN: B0002E5O9Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,454 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Pyramid Of Tears - Lucinda Williams
2. Sacramento & Polk - Lenny Kaye
3. Steve Earle & Reckless Kelly - Paradise
4. Jon Langford and Sally Timms - Broken Bottle
5. Calexico - Wave
6. Jennifer Warnes - Pissed Off 2AM
7. John Cale - She Doesn't Live Here Anymore
8. Los Lonely Boys - Castanets
9. Cowboy Junkies - Don't Need You
10. Charlie Sexton - Dear Head On the Wall
See all 17 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. One More Time - Ian Hunter
2. Last To Know - Jayhawks
3. Velvet Guitar - Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra
4. The Ballad Of The Sun And The Moon - Sheila E.
5. The Chris Stamey Experience - One True Love
6. Sometimes - Son Volt
7. Inside This Dance - Rosie Flores
8. Charlie Musselwhite - Everybody Loves Me
9. Way It Goes - M. Ward
10. The Rain Won't Help - Javier Escovedo
See all 15 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Stricken with Hepatitis C in April 2003 and lacking health insurance, Alejandro Escovedo has been the focus of scores of benefit concerts in Austin, Texas, and across the U.S. These 32 songs offer further aid--and a dizzying, daring appraisal of a brilliant, if commercially hard-luck, songwriter. Opening with Lucinda Williams's slurred, Spartan electric groove, the set covers the obscure ("Sacramento & Polk," in a manic paranoid take by Lenny Kaye) and the exquisite (the road-weary ballad "Thirteen Years," in a stately, aching reading by Tejano legend Ruben Ramos). Those familiar with the restless style-shifting of Escovedo's career won't be surprised by the juxtaposition of Ian Hunter's bar-band strut with the Jayhawks' psychedelic wall of delay, or Peter Case's glam garage with Bob Neuwirth's unguarded, accordion-laced sigh. Surprises include a poignant vocal turn from keyboard legend Ian McLagan, a reunited and stunningly revived Son Volt, and Escovedo himself, charging through a new tempo-twisting rocker cut just before he fell ill. There is tangible enthusiasm, even love, in the performances of these wildly diverse admirers. --Roy Kasten

From the Artist

Alejandro Escovedo is one of the most critically acclaimed artists in contemporary music, hailed by Rolling Stone critic David Fricke for creating "his own genre" and named Artist of the Decade for the 1990s by No Depression magazine. Widely admired for the stylistic breadth and innovation of his compositions and his facility for translating his personal experiences and observations into universal truths, he fell ill from the effects of Hepatitis C in April 2003.

The music community responded to his health crisis and its financial repercussions with a stunning outpouring of generosity and concern that culminates in Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo. On the two disc set, 31 acts from across the musical spectrum – including Escovedo’s friends, family, peers, influences and admirers – offer their inspired interpretations of his material, packaged with liner notes by famed critic Dave Marsh. A portion of the proceeds from this release will benefit the Alejandro Escovedo Medical & Living Expense Fund as well as a developing effort to develop an ongoing assistance effort for musicians afflicted with Hepatitis C.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loving Tribute to a Songwriting Great December 24, 2004
Format:Audio CD
You may wonder, who is this guy and why does he deserve a 2-CD tribute? But by the time you get halfway through the first disc, you'll wonder no more: Alejandro Escovedo is a flat-out brilliant songwriter. His music has moved through genres, without losing his sensibility for both roots-rock and his Mexican heritage. Suffice to say that if you like Los Lobos (even though they don't appear), you'll really enjoy this CD. In the same tradition as "Sweet Relief" (the tribute to Victoria Williams, who was stricken with MS about ten years ago), and other albums after it, this project was intended to assist Escovedo, who has hepatitis C and no health insurance. And what assistance he got: a first-rate lineup of artists, from Lucinda Williams, Son Volt and the Jayhawks to Charlie Musselwhite, Ian Hunter and John Cale. Just about everything here works very well, kicking off with Lucinda Williams' great version of "Pyramid of Tears", moving through hot property Los Lonely Boys' cover of "Castanets", and many other highlights by Cowboy Junkies, Chris Stamey, and Escovedo himself. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up (it's a bargain for a 2-CD set with nary a bad track on it). Then, if you haven't already, acquaint yourself with the original albums from this influential and gifted Mexican-American artist.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Por Vida" Rises Above the Tribute Genre June 20, 2005
Format:Audio CD
I'm skeptical of tribute albums and there are a dozen good reasons why nearly all tribute albums fail. The general rule of thumb and the best argument against tribute albums is that the original artist has already recorded the definitive version of the song. Tribute albums inevitably invite comparisons to the original versions and more often than not, come up short.

I steered clear of "Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo" on the grounds of caveat emptor; let buyer beware of the uneven quality of most tribute albums. It was unlikely that even the most gifted interpreter would offer any fresh insights into Escovedo's soulful renditions of his own music. My curiosity finally got the best of me and I finally purchased "Por Vida" a month ago.

Alejandro Escovedo has walked a rough path as a musician since he appeared on the music scene in the Seventies. He's so uniquely talented it's diffcult to pidgeon hole and market him as an musician. Success has been within Escovedo's reach but just beyond his grasp for too many years.

Escovedo's songwriting talent and body of work is on par with Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen or any other great contempory songwriters. You seldom hear Escovedo's name mentioned in the same conversation about relative merits of great comtemporary songwriters, like his noteworthy peers.

"Por Vida", as it turns out, is welcome exception to the rule of law. It is a testament to the universal nature of Escovedo's song writing and his music flatters nearly every artist on this sprawling two disc album. It's a dizzying array of styles that showcases 32 wildly varied music acts with over hundred musicians in the various bands.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is good music July 28, 2004
By Jon
Format:Audio CD
With an All Star alt-country lineup featuring everybody from Los Lonely Boys, Lucinda Williams, Catlin Cary (Whiskeytown), the Jayhawks, and Calexico to Steve Earle, there is no way this CD could have been bad. Every song is great, but standout tracks are Los Lonely Boys on Castanets, Sheila E. and Pete Escovedo on The Ballad of the Sun and the Moon (changing the song up quite a bit from the excellent version that was on the By the Hand of the Father CD), and the always excellent Ruben Ramos on the beautiful Thirteen Years. But as good as these covers are, most of the songs were sung perfectly the first time around by Alejandro himself, and not everyone is capable of keeping up with the original. Still, it is great to hear different takes on these songs, and the last track shows Alejandro hasn't lost any of the magic.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best collections of covers you'll ever find January 20, 2005
Format:Audio CD
If you can't find something on this that you think is first-rate, you don't like music. There are one or two weak cuts, but the best songs here are simply amazing. The Section Quartet's take on "Crooked Frame" was a revelation. Other highlights include the John Dee Graham cover of "Helpless", Peter Case's "The End", and the Dragons' version of "Gravity". I've already bought four CDs on the basis of what I've heard on this one, and I will be buying more.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Life--Por Vida August 11, 2004
Format:Audio CD
An uplifting and surprisingly cohesive album considering both the artists and styles represented. Of course, all of the songs are by Alejandro Escovedo but the bredth of genres he's made music in and excelled at is impressive on it's own. Highlights for me are a reformed and excellent sounding Son Volt, Ian Hunter, who sounds as good as he did in his Mott The Hoople Days, Lucinda Williams who can't seem to record a lousy track and Alejandro's own cut which quickly demonstrates why I have all of his albums. He's simply a great singer/songwriter and I hope that he beats the disease that he's having to fight.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important alt country collections ever! October 29, 2004
Format:Audio CD
I can echo what has been already said. For Al Escovedo fans (they had been bouncing anxiously from one foot to another waiting for its release!) it is a no brainer. For alt country fans, you can't go wrong because this is the best tribute cd of all time because it is a two volume set and instead of finding 3, 4, or 5 tracks you really like, you really can fill an entire cd with the stuff you really like; there is that much to love! So for any alt country fan is a no brainer. For those of you who rock but are uncertain what alt country is. Alt country is in part rock and Alejandro Escovedo has few peers in the quality and quantity of hard rocking tracks he has written. My guess is that most rock fans would find much more to love about this cd than most rock cds.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great compilation
Huge number of great singers play tribute to a great Texas roots artist. Alejandro is the best. This tribute helped pay for his medical expenses and get back to what he does... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Susan
4.0 out of 5 stars Por Vida - Alejandro Escovedo
There are some nice atmospheric and poignant songs on these CD's. I bought the CD's originally to get hold of "The Ballad of the Sun and Moon" which I couldn't find anywhere else.
Published on March 28, 2011 by White Hart
5.0 out of 5 stars viva por vida!
One of the best cover/tribute albums ever. The cast and interpretations are top notch. I'd argue much better than the author's own versions. Rarely does this happen. Read more
Published on May 22, 2009 by Tiny tunes
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable Artist and Album
I became aware of Alejandro Escovar just a month or two ago and just had the opportunity to see him live at Austin City Limits Music Festival in Sep 2008. Read more
Published on October 4, 2008 by J. Keton
5.0 out of 5 stars These artists all love Alejandro, why wouldn't you?
Maybe I'd been living under a rock or something... but I'd never heard of Alejandro Escovedo until this tribute came out. Read more
Published on March 10, 2006 by D. Ward
2.0 out of 5 stars 13 years
Alejandro has been writing darn good music for a long time now. Often overlooked in the mass market popularity contest of the music business, but respected by his peers. Read more
Published on November 15, 2004 by Winchester
3.0 out of 5 stars Uneven, but brilliant
A great introduction to the music of Alejandro Escovedo. The album is as eclectic as his talent, so the set drags upon occasion. Read more
Published on August 20, 2004 by Pablo
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
By turns, moving and heartbreaking at the same time. The artists featured pay their respects and reinforce the beauty of Alejandro's vision. This may well be my album of the year.
Published on August 6, 2004 by Music Vet
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