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West of the West

Dave Alvin, Dave AlvinAudio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Price: $15.71 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 13 Songs, 2006 $8.99  
Audio CD, 2006 $15.71  
Vinyl, 2013 $25.10  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. California Bloodlines 4:28$1.39  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Redneck Friend 5:04$1.39  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Kern River 4:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Blind Love 4:49$1.39  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Here in California 4:35$1.39  Buy MP3 
listen  6. I Am Bewildered 3:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Sonora's Death Row 5:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Down on the Riverbed 4:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Between the Cracks 4:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Don't Look Now 4:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Tramps and Hawkers 4:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Loser 4:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Surfer Girl 3:01$1.39  Buy MP3 

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Special Offers and Product Promotions

Frequently Bought Together

West of the West + King of California + Ashgrove
Price for all three: $43.69

Buy the selected items together
  • King of California $11.88
  • Ashgrove $16.10

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 30, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: 2006
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Yep Roc Records
  • ASIN: B000F7CL1Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,731 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

West of the West is Dave Alvin's tribute to the songs and songwriters of California. It's the fourth-generation Californian's latest excursion into the sounds and history of his home state, continuing the high standard he set with King of California and Blackjack David. Produced by Greg Leisz (Wilco, Lucinda Williams, Beck, Brian Wilson), the new album mixes much loved songs by Merle Haggard, John Fogerty, Tom Waits, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne, Jerry Garcia, Kate Wolf, Robert Hunter and Los Lobos' David Hidalgo and Louis Perez, with unearthed gems from such previously overlooked talents as Blackie Farrell and Jim Ringer. Dave's first collection of cover songs (2000's Public Domain) won a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album and his most recent album of originals (2004's Ashgrove) garnered praise from USA Today, Rolling Stone, Mojo and the Los Angeles Times who said, "Few songwriters capture the way music can provide escape or solace to the lonely, the lost and the desperate as Alvin." Digipak.

One of the finest composers of rootsy Americana since his years with the Blasters, Dave Alvin here celebrates the quintessential songs (and songwriters) of his native California. Some of his choices--Merle Haggard, John Fogerty, and Alvin's occasional collaborator Tom Russell--are artists who have obviously influenced his own writing, but he extends the selection to include some surprise choices, such as Jackson Browne, the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia, and the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. As revelatory as the songs he selects is what Alvin does with them, turning Browne's "Redneck Friend" into a shuffle worthy of Big Joe Turner and giving an equally bluesy twist to Fogerty's "Don't Look Now," while removing the blues that had characterized Los Lobos' original version of "Down on the Riverbed" in favor of a banjo-driven folk arrangement. The opening rendition of John Stewart's "California Bloodlines" establishes the album's theme; the closing "Surfer Girl" is a stunner, Alvin's most tender vocal to date, giving the Beach Boys ballad a warmth that borders on reverence. Whatever Alvin may lack in vocal range, there's no doubting his interpretive range. --Don McLeese

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Dave Alvin's sublime new CD is a cadre of songs written by Californians either born and/or who grew up in this land. The lyrics talk about what it means to live and love in the land of dreams and broken promises. It is also a look at the story of the frontier in this large western state. Dave Alvin has a voice that is deep and smooth and like a friend of his said "infiltrates your brain like a shot of Jack Daniels."

Dave Alvin says "We started with a list of 25 songs, from Steve Gillette to Captain Beefheart and everything in between. I was even thinking of doing 'Going Back to Cali' as a blues thing. In the end, though, it wasn't about choosing my favorite songs so much as choosing songs that I could sing well enough and arrange differently enough to make them interesting." He has picked these songs carefully and each of them fit his style and voice well. Of them all, and I like each and every one, my two favorite interpretations are "Here In California" and "Surfer Girl"

"California Bloodlines" is a sentimental rendition of John Stewart's fine work, which finds peace in knowing "There's California bloodlines in my heart / There's a California woman in my song ... And a California heartbeat in my soul."

"Redneck Friend" the Jackson Brown less well known song was just right for Dave Alvin's style.

"Kern River" is a song Merle Haggard wrote after losing his best friend, and it is a melancholy rendition.

"Blind Love" from Tom Waits is sung in a bluesy style with some doo wops thrown in to give it style.

"Here in California" one of my favorites is sung with Christy McWilson. He felt this song needed a woman's perspective.

"I'm Bewildered" is an old Richard Berry, the great guitarist's tune. Backed up by The Calvenes.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A golden nugget of an album! Thanks, Dave! May 31, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Dave Alvin has put out a great CD full of mellow, beautifully arranged tracks. I particularly enjoyed "Here In California," the bluesy touch to "Don't Look Now," and especially the closer "Surfer Girl." This last song, performed so often by The Beach Boys, is so touchingly beautiful it's good enough to stand as a single!

Dave's voice is rich despite the fact that his vocal range hasn't always been consistently the largest. There's real passion in his voice and Dave can use his voice to highlight even the most subtle nuances of the words he sings. For example, listen to Dave sing a song here by Jackson Browne entitled "Redneck Friend." Dave uses every syllable to convey precisely what he wants to convey for this song. Indeed, in any song Dave chooses to perform, Dave imparts a sense of self-respect to even the most demoralized and exploited persons when he wants to. The musical arrangement is also very well done.

Although the mood on this album is somewhat relaxed, Dave's performance here displays a sense of confidence. He has grown as an artist and as a performer over time.

I recommend this album for Dave's fans (obviously), as well as fans of rock and pop music. As for those of us who want an introduction to Dave's talent, you can't go wrong by buying this CD.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Industry Reviewer Says It Best July 26, 2006
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
My introduction to the music of Dave Alvin came several years ago when an old friend in Carlsbad turned me on to him. I already knew of him from the Blasters, but at the time I had no idea he was doing solo work. Since that time, I have heard Alvin grow musically with each successive album.

Albums consisting of covers don't always work out. West of the West does. After listening several times, it seems to me that Alvin has carefully chosen songs that would work for him and played them as though they were his own. Being originally from California, this album speaks to me. Though there were some songs I might have deleted in favor of others, overall Alvin's choices are excellent and his interpretations delightful.

My favorites are a smooth, swinging take on Jackson Browne's Redneck Friend, the bittersweet Here In California, the top-flight music AND storytelling of Sonora's Death Row, a gutsy rendition of Los Lobos' Down On the Riverbed, another swinger with John Fogerty's Don't Look Now, Jerry Garcia's gambler's tale Loser, and the incredible 50s-style take on the Beach Boys classic Surfer Girl.

Reading other reviews, I notice some carping about Dave Alvin's vocal range. Long-time Alvin fans have known about that aspect forever and yet there is a reason his base remains as his legion of fans grows. Its his interpretive ability that keeps us on board and we can hear that his singing has vastly improved since his first solo outings. The industry reviewer says it best and I quote: "Whatever Alvin may lack in vocal range, there's no doubting his interpretive range".

I don't like every song on this CD, but there are none that I hate. If you like Dave Alvin on any level, or are a fan of the singer/songwriter style, do your ears a favor and add West of the West to your CD collection. You'll be glad you did.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Summer Album ! June 1, 2006
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I just opened this and put it on my computer to play. I have only listened to the first 5 cuts, but they are all strong. The production is beautiful. I have bought cds ( and you have too ) with only one or two good songs on it, this is different. Do yourself a favor, buy this and Ashgrove and take a summer drive with Dave Alvin. You will not be disappointed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classy California Covers Album
The first things I think of when I ponder Dave Alvin are his songwriting and his bluesy on first blush, an album of mid tempo covers didn't immediately spark my... Read more
Published 4 months ago by rockabilly blues
4.0 out of 5 stars A covers album that works
Perhaps because he stays close to California - and perhaps because his taste is impeccable - if a little short of inspired. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Daniel W. Bleier
4.0 out of 5 stars Here in California
Do you like country, blues, rock? Well this is none of those but it is close to all of them. Dave is a mellow singer but don't mistake mellow for sleepy. Read more
Published 10 months ago by MAJOR MALFUNCTION
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bridge to Somewhere
Covers albums, from Bowie's "Pin Ups" on, serve two functions--the first is to explore the music the artist listened to growing up, and the second is to provide a bridge for that... Read more
Published on August 2, 2009 by Timothy P. Young
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent CD
I love this guys voice. First found him through a Bruce Springsteen tribute album and thought I would try some of his stuff. Really good musically.
Published on August 15, 2008 by Rhonda J. Jackson
2.0 out of 5 stars bland, faint singing
The music is not bad, but I don't like the voice. The singer is not a singer really...
Published on July 13, 2008 by DiDoBe
4.0 out of 5 stars Alvin Transformed
The transformation of Alvin from croaker to crooner is complete with this disc, an enticing collection of California covers. Read more
Published on October 30, 2007 by Music fan
2.0 out of 5 stars very dissapointed
I've followed Dave since his days with the Blasters, This CD is such a dissapointment. The Only highlight of the CD was Surfer Girl. Read more
Published on January 26, 2007 by Blues Guitar Player
4.0 out of 5 stars Rich voice, but laid back style runs its course too quickly
Dave Alvin has that cool, throaty voice that lends intelligence to his songs. However after a number of them, the simple production values don't leave room for expanded scope of... Read more
Published on January 11, 2007 by Louis N. Altman
5.0 out of 5 stars Swan Song for an under appreciated talent
Wow, what can I say? I liked the premise of this album and have been a Blasters fan since the early eighties, thus I took a chance and bought the CD. Read more
Published on November 9, 2006 by John M. Little
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