Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Alejandro Escovedo may not be a household name, but the reputation of this punk agitator-turned-roots-rock pioneer in the musical community is among the best -- which accounts for the outpouring of affection on this disc, a benefit designed to help Escovedo in his battle against liver disease. The participants cover pretty much the entire waterfront of what's come to be called adult-alternative music, with Lucinda Williams bringing out the homespun dejection in the aging-party-girl paean "Pyramid of Tears" and John Cale homing in on the existential aspects of the crumbling-marriage tale "She Doesn't Live Here Anymore." While there's plenty of melancholy in these ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Alejandro Escovedo may not be a household name, but the reputation of this punk agitator-turned-roots-rock pioneer in the musical community is among the best -- which accounts for the outpouring of affection on this disc, a benefit designed to help Escovedo in his battle against liver disease. The participants cover pretty much the entire waterfront of what's come to be called adult-alternative music, with Lucinda Williams bringing out the homespun dejection in the aging-party-girl paean "Pyramid of Tears" and John Cale homing in on the existential aspects of the crumbling-marriage tale "She Doesn't Live Here Anymore." While there's plenty of melancholy in these grooves, the set also allows Escovedo's brighter side to shine through, most notably on fellow Austinites Los Lonely Boys' fuel-injected version of "Castanets" and "Rhapsody," which gains a country-morning freshness from the vocal harmonies of Tres Chicas. Not surprisingly, Escovedo's extended family -- including niece Sheila E., who joins her dad, Pete, on a burnished "Ballad of the Sun and Moon" -- are well represented, but the degree of respect he commands outside his inner circle so strong that the long-splintered Son Volt reunited to record "Sometimes" for the disc is the set's second-most heartwarming aspect. The first? The guest of honor's own performance on "Break This Time," recorded just before he fell ill in 2003 -- a presentation that not only puts a face on Por Vida but also underscores the collection's upbeat title by serving notice that Alejandro Escovedo intends to keep on kicking for some time to come.
All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Alejandro Escovedo has been making memorable music of one kind or another since the mid-'70s, but it wasn't until he released his first solo album in 1992, Gravity, that he began to reveal the full extent of his gifts as a songwriter. A lyricist with a remarkable ability to find subtle beauties and difficult truths in the stuff of everyday lives, Escovedo also has a superb ear for a melody, whether he is writing for a small acoustic group or a roaring full-on rock band, and Gravity was nothing short of a revelation, with his subsequent albums only confirming Escovedo's talent. In April of 2003, it was announced that Escovedo had been diagnosed with potentially deadly Hepatitis C; adding to this dire news was the fact that, like many artists and musicians, Escovedo had no health insurance to help pay his extensive medical bills. It's a telling indication of the respect with which Escovedo is held as an artist and as a person that friends and admirers around the country began organizing benefit shows to help the songwriter in his time of crisis, a grassroots effort that eventually grew into the album Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo, a sprawling two-disc set whose proceeds benefit the Alejandro Escovedo Medical and Living Expense Fund. Por Vida features no fewer than 31 newly recorded covers from Escovedo's songbook, as well as a new tune Alejandro recorded for the occasion, and the list of participants includes at least three of Escovedo's musical heroes John Cale, Ian Hunter, and Ian McLagan, several frequent collaborators Jon Dee Graham, Charlie Sexton, Chris Stamey, and a list of admirers and well-wishers whose musical spheres range from pop Jennifer Warnes to blues Charlie Musselwhite to jazz Pete Escovedo and Sheila E. to Tejano Rubén Ramos to alt-country Son Volt, who reunited for their contribution here, with any number of other sounds represented along the way. Given the almost dizzying variety of artists and styles encompassed on Por Vida, what's most remarkable about the album is how consistent it is; the quality of these songs is a given, but the performances are strong and emphatic from front to back, as if the musicians wanted to be sure that they gave the songs the interpretations they deserved. And despite the leaps from genre to genre, the voice of Alejandro Escovedo rings out clear and present on every track, and it's good to be able to report that his own track, "Break This Time," is a hearty rocker that pays no mind to his difficult circumstances. It would have been easy for Por Vida to come off as just another benefit set or tribute disc, with plenty of well-meaning but tossed-off performances from musicians who were easy to round up at the moment, but thankfully that's not how it turned out -- instead, it's a loving homage from a group of gifted artists to one of their own, and the result speaks not of illness or death, but of music created "por vida."..for life.
New York Times - Jon Pareles
Nearly everyone involved does justice to his rock-ribbed songs, with their mixture of dark revelation and down-home twang.
Entertainment Weekly - Holly George-Warren
No matter who's singing, Escovedo's remarkable songcraft shines through. (A)

Nearly everyone involved does justice to his rock-ribbed songs, with their mixture of dark revelation and down-home twang.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/24/2009
  • Label: Imports
  • UPC: 711297471625
  • Catalog Number: 849200
  • Sales rank: 153,367

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Pyramid of Tears (4:47)
  2. 2 Sacramento & Polk (4:37)
  3. 3 Paradise (3:51)
  4. 4 Broken Bottle - Sally Timms (3:56)
  5. 5 Wave (4:04)
  6. 6 Pissed Off 2 AM (4:30)
  7. 7 She Doesn't Live Here Anymore (4:41)
  8. 8 Castanets (3:35)
  9. 9 Don't Need You (4:24)
  10. 10 Dear Head on the Wall (3:50)
  11. 11 Helpless (3:38)
  12. 12 She Towers Above (4:24)
  13. 13 Wedding Day (4:07)
  14. 14 Rhapsody (3:59)
  15. 15 The End (3:40)
  16. 16 Rosalie (5:28)
  17. 17 Crooked Frame - Section Quartet (3:59)
Disc 2
  1. 1 One More Time (4:14)
  2. 2 Last to Know - The Jayhawks (5:08)
  3. 3 Velvet Guitar (4:49)
  4. 4 The Ballad of the Sun and the Moon (4:53)
  5. 5 One True Love (5:26)
  6. 6 Sometimes (5:39)
  7. 7 Inside This Dance (4:56)
  8. 8 Everybody Loves Me (4:05)
  9. 9 Way It Goes (3:49)
  10. 10 The Rain Won't Help You When It's Over (4:19)
  11. 11 By Eleven (4:05)
  12. 12 I Was Drunk (2:38)
  13. 13 Gravity (6:53)
  14. 14 Thirteen Years (4:42)
  15. 15 Break This Time (4:09)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Charlie Musselwhite Harmonica
Rosie Flores Vocals
John Cale Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Background Vocals, Sampling
Peter Case Electric Piano
Steve Earle Electric Guitar, Vocals
Ian Hunter Piano, Vocals
Charlie Sexton Bass, Guitar, Percussion, Piano, Drums, Vocals, Steel Drums
Lucinda Williams Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Pete Escovedo Bongos, Timbales, Vocals
Matt Rollings Piano, Hammond Organ
Vic Chesnutt Vocals
Scott McCaughey Guitar, Vocals
Bob Neuwirth Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Chris Stamey Guitar, Vocals
Nicholas Tremulis Guitar, Piano
Dave Bartholomew Acoustic Guitar, Castanets, Drums, Electric Guitar, Background Vocals, Shaker, Coral Sitar, Guitar (Baritone)
Ian McLagan Hammond Organ, Vocals, Wurlitzer
PJ Harvey Voices
Rubén Ramos Vocals
Mickey Raphael Echo Harp
Bill McKinley Bass
Ed Ackerson Electric Guitar
Bukka Allen Accordion
Alan Anton Bass
Peter Buck Bass, Guitar
Joey Burns Acoustic Guitar, Cello, Vocals, Melodica
Jaro Czerwinec Accordion
Richard Dodd Cello
Sheila E. Conga, Drums, Vocals
Mitch Easter Rhythm Guitar
Alejandro Escovedo Rhythm Guitar
Jay Farrar Electric Guitar
John Gardner Percussion
Jon Dee Graham Guitar, Vocals
Michael Hardwick Guitar, Piano
Michael Heidorn Percussion, Drums
Steve Holley Percussion
Duane Jarvis Guitar
Michael Jerome Percussion
Tony Kinman Bass
Jon Langford Track Performer
Gary Louris Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Background Vocals, Wurlitzer
Jim Mastro Background Vocals
Matt McKenzie Bass
Eddie Muñoz Guitar
Tim O'Reagan Percussion, Drums, Background Vocals
Marc Perlman Bass, Percussion
Taras Prodaniuk Bass
George Reiff Bass
Bill Rieflin Drums
Margo Timmins Vocals
Michael Timmins Guitar, Background Vocals
Peter Timmins Drums
Sally Timms Track Performer
Kenny Vaughan Electric Guitar
Toshi Yanagi Guitar
Andy York Bass, Guitar, Background Vocals, Guitar (Resonator)
Brian Young Percussion, Drums
Derek Brand Bass
J. Steven Soles Electric Guitar
Larry Beers Drums
Jim Christie Drums
Tom Heyman Guitar
Hector Muñoz Drums
Rob Watson Background Vocals
John Convertino Drums
Javier Escovedo Guitar, Vocals
Howe Gelb Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Pat McGrath Acoustic Guitar
Lynn Blakey Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
John Chumbris Electric Guitar
Jeff Babko Keyboards
Dave Boquist Electric Guitar, Background Vocals
John Ramberg Guitar, Background Vocals
Craig Schumacher Harmonica
Rick Barnes Guitar, Vocals
Jim Boquist Bass, Background Vocals
Don Harvey Drums
John Pirruccello Guitar, Vocals
Doug Pettibone Guitar
Gregg Rice Hammond Organ, fender rhodes
Nick Luca Bass
Jim Bryson Guitar
Caitlin Cary Violin, Accordion, Vocals
Henry Garza Guitar, Vocals
Joe Camacho Guitar, Pedal Steel Guitar
Andrew Duplantis Bass, Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Eric Gorfain Violin
Daphne Chen Violin
Kelsey Michael Background Vocals
Greg Readling Piano, Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer
James Mitchell Background Vocals
Stone Organ, Percussion, Vocals
Skillet Gilmore Drums
M. Ward Guitar, Vocals
Thad Cockrell Vocal Harmony
Cody Braun Mandolin
Willy Braun Vocals
Tift Merritt Vocal Harmony
Brian Standefer Cello, Bells, Celli
David Abeyta Electric Guitar
John Teer Violin
Jay Nazz Drums
JoJo Garza Bass, Vocals
Leah Katz Viola
Joshua Case Mando-Guitar
Robbie Gjersoe Bass, Dobro, Guitar, Percussion, Guitar (Nylon String)
Jeremy Gara Drums
Brian Lebarton Piano, Hammond Organ
Tonya Lamm Vocals
Dave Meshell Bass
Bryan Head Drums
Ron Bartholomew Bass Guitar
Shaun Cornell Organ, Piano
Milan Escovedo Background Vocals
Jesse Heubner Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar
Kraig Jarret Johnson Electric Guitar
Logan Matheny Drums
Skip Matheny Bass, Vocals
Timshel Matheny Keyboards
Jimmy McFeeley Bass
Chris Muldaur Guitar
"Scrappy" Joe Newcomb Guitar, Slide Guitar
Victor Penatosa Guitar, Vocals
David Pulkingham Guitar (Nylon String)
Gerry Wasson Bass Guitar
Sofia Yenanian Zills
Ringo Garza Drums, Vocals
Jason White Percussion, Drums
Technical Credits
Ray Kennedy Engineer
John Cale Producer
Peter Case Producer
Charlie Sexton Producer
Lucinda Williams Producer
Pete Escovedo Producer
Scott McCaughey Producer
Bob Neuwirth Producer
Rick Parker Producer, Engineer
Chris Stamey Composer, Producer, Engineer
Dave Bartholomew Producer, Engineer
Mike Martin Engineer
Ian McLagan Producer, Engineer
PJ Harvey Contributor
Bill McKinley Engineer
Ed Ackerson Producer, Engineer
Stephen Barber Composer
Stephen Bruton Composer
Larry Crane Engineer
Marty Davich Producer
Michael Dumas Engineer
Sheila E. Producer
Alejandro Escovedo Composer, Producer
J.D. Foster Composer
Rob Fraboni Producer
Heinz Geissler Executive Producer
Michael Hardwick Producer
Chet Himes Engineer
Lenny Kaye Producer
Jon Langford Producer, Images, Cover Painting
Gary Louris Producer
Lynn Mabry Vocal Arrangements
Taras Prodaniuk Producer
Michael Timmins Producer, Engineer
Sally Timms Producer
Paula Wolak Producer, Engineer
The Dragons Producer
J. Steven Soles Composer, Producer, Engineer
Jim Christie Producer
Dave Marsh Liner Notes, Essay
Lee Miller Executive Producer
Jim Waters Engineer
Javier Escovedo Arranger, Composer
Howe Gelb Contributor
Mark Cross Producer, Engineer
David Kampa Art Direction
Doug Pettibone Producer
Johnny Sangster Producer, Engineer
Nick Luca Engineer
Jim Bryson Sound Effects
Caitlin Cary Producer
Angelo Montrone Mastering
Twangtrust Producer
Daphne Chen Arranger
David Guerrero Engineer
M. Ward Arranger, Producer
John Harvey Engineer
Brian Standefer Engineer
Mark Cimerro Engineer
Mike Coykendall Engineer
Joshua Case Producer
Mario Podio Engineer
Robbie Gjersoe Engineer
Jeremy Gara Contributor
Shaun Cornell Engineer
Kyle Crusham Engineer
Yonatan Elkayam Engineer, Digital Editing
Jason Tuten Engineer
Kim Christoff Composer
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A must have!

    Hey, Guys, I just got this GREAT! New album called Por Vida. It is a Tribute to the songs of Americana legend Alejandro Escovedo, who is struggling with Hepatitis C. In honor of him, and to help him with his medical expenses, there has been this Great! new compellation put together by some of Americana's greatest artists. There are some really fabulous tracks! Some of my favorites are Lucinda Williams' "Pyramid of Tears", Calexico's "Wave", Los Lonely Boys' "Castanets", and Alejandro Escovedo himself singing "Break This Time". The album also has some other great artists on it, is for a really good cause, and is a must have!! Trust me!

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