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Blazers keep flame of rockabilly alive

Just for You
Just for You
By the Blazers

Rounder Records: 1997


This review first appeared in the September 6, 1997 edition of the American Reporter.

The Blazers are musical soulmates of Los Lobos – East L.A. Latino rockers in the tradition of Richie Valens. But they're more than just a Mexican-American band; they're also – as are Los Lobos – part of a strong and continuing Southern California rockabilly revival that's going on 20 years now; longer than the original rockabilly craze back in the '50s.

Picking up where The Blasters and Beat Farmers left off, The Blazers are carrying the rockabilly torch into the next century.

The quartet is headed up by the twin guitar sound of Manuel Gonzalez and Ruben Guaderrama, who also provide the lead vocals. Neither of them is a particularly original stylist, but like George Thorogood they're more than competent and play with a near-manic energy that drives the music.

They benefit from a rock-steady rhythm laid down by drummer Raul Medrano and bassist Lee Stuart; as a unit, the quartet is tight as all good rock 'n' roll bands.

What sets the SoCal rockabilly scene apart from retro bands elsewhere is that, starting with The Blasters and continuing with The Blazers, the music is never a museum showpiece. Rockabilly, yes – but certainly no soundtrack from "American Graffiti." The Blazers have clearly absorbed many of the musical trends of the past 30 years, and there is a modern edge to their brand of rock 'n' roll, a lot of chord changes that would have thrown Scotty Moore for a loop 40 years ago.