Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dave Alvin & Chris Gaffney: Two Kings of California

   Chris Gaffney's 1995 album Loser's Paradise is one of those albums that you just find yourself playing over and over - first rate songwriting, nice sequencing of songs, solid backing musicians, and a great weathered honky-tonk voice.  It was also produced by Dave Alvin in the days when he seemed to be producing one out of every four alternative country albums.  Gaffney put out a fine live album "Live and Then Some" a few years later and then joined forces with Dave Gonzalez in the Hacienda Brothers who also released some excellent cds (I'm partial to their self-titled release).  Unfortunately, he passed away in 2008 after a bout with cancer.  I paired him with Dave Alvin for this comp given their long friendship, their fondness for songs about California, and well, because I thought they'd sound good together.

     Now, about the final song on the compilation.  It's the last thing Gaffney ever recorded.  He went in and sang the song which was to appear on a couple of friends' album (the guys who wrote the song) even though he was quite sick at the time (he died 3 weeks later).  A year later, when the friends found out that a Gaffney tribute album was being put together, they told Dave Alvin out about the song and ultimately it ended up on the tribute album - The Man of Somebody's Dreams.  (You can read the full story here.)  Anyway, I understand if you think it's kind of morbid, but it is really moving and a truly sublime performance.


King of California Dave Alvin
Artesia Chris Gaffney
Alchoholidays Chris Gaffney & The Cold Hard Facts
Johnny Ace Is Dead Dave Alvin
Look Into The Future Hacienda Brothers
These Times We're Living In Dave Alvin
Ashgrove Dave Alvin
She's Gone Hacienda Brothers
La Frontera I Dave Alvin & Steve Berlin
Two Lucky Bums Dave Alvin
My Baby's Got A Dead Man's Number Chris Gaffney
Fade To Grey Chris Gaffney & The Cold Hard Facts
Laurel Lynn Dave Alvin
The Last Time Hacienda Brothers
Don't Talk About Her Dave Alvin
California's Burning Dave Alvin
Guitars Of My Dead Friends Chris Gaffney


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this - looking forward to giving these guys a listen.
I've been trawling back on your posts & have to say - great great music & vibe - I knew a fair bit of the artist... but I'm learning a lot also...
love the juxtaposition of some of the mixes.
Please keep it up & thank you for taking the time & care :-)

Ishkabibliophile said...


To be honest, I don't think the juxtaposition of Alvin & Gaffney sounded quite as good as I thought it would, but their songs are still damn good and Alvin and Gaffney should be together in a mix somewhere. :)