If you think that Americanised Mexican music is all about "La Bamba" and accordions, you have clearly not heard Alejandro Escovedo. He casts more than a nod in the direction of his heritage through the participation on a recent song of vast numbers of percussion-playing relatives, but his horizons stretch much further than the environs of the Texas border country. A sometime punk whose niece is Prince collaborator Sheila E, and two of whose brothers played with Santana, Escovedo attempted the axe-hero route to rock stardom when he teamed up with brother Javier in late-1980s critics' faves The True Believers. But while a similar bent is explored on The Pawn Shop Years, the album by his sideline project Buick McKane (yes, named after the T-Rex song) that the eclectic label Rykodisc releases next month, Escovedo is undoubtedly at his most effective, as well as accessible, when he draws on his troubled personal life for ventures into Tom Waits-type territory on the recent solo project With These Hands and its two - recently reissued - predecessors.

Roger Trapp

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