Vein of Pain

A week in the life of the blues

Another good'er from our neighbors to the south: San Diego's SLEEPWALKERS have finally released their debut CD, Can't Stop Rockin', after forming in 1993. The group comes from the rockabilly/blues/rock & roll tradition of such border-town predecessors as the Paladins, Billy Bacon & the Forbidden Pigs, and Hot Rod Lincoln, but there's a stronger garage and Tex-Mex influence afoot. Which only makes sense, as Sleepwalkers' brain trust Johnny Valenzuela is a Mexican from Texas. Valenzuela is a very good singer and an even better front man; the group has power and intensity to burn. At times, the chops ain't all they might be, but since this album was recorded, the group has made a couple of personnel changes that relieved that problem (full disclosure: one of those changes was the addition of Jerry Rig on guitar, who also plays bass in my band). This is still good, solid, mean-assed rock & roll—and a promising debut album. Just don't forget which side yer bread's buttered on, Rig.

John Hammond and Alvin Youngblood Hart perform at the Blue Cafe, 210 The Promenade, Long Beach, (562) 983-7111. Thurs., Feb. 10, 10 p.m. $6 (such a deal!); the West Coast Pin-Ups play at Abilene Rose, 10830 Warner Ave., Fountain Valley, (714) 963-1700. Thurs., Feb. 10, 7 p.m. $5; the Sleepwalkers'Can't Stop Rockin' is available at select San Diego-area Music Trader outlets.
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