So they did. For a sweet year or two following the release of Short Fuse, the Blazers rode their Ritchie-Valens-meets-The-Kinks garaje rock, as well as their Los Lobos connection -- Cesar Rosas produced their first two records -- until Magnet got bored and turned to sexier stuff. The Blazers kept gigging, but their last release, Puro Blazers -- a dazzling, all-Spanish set of cumbias and polkas -- languished for two years before being released and ignored in 2000. Rounder dropped the band but producer/twangster Pete Anderson picked them up: 17 Jewels, the group's first album in three years, is due out on Anderson's Little Dog label at the end of the month. It's not a recipe for breaking through, but it's not like the Blazers care: they have never needed or desired more than frolic and feeling, the shared tierra of rock & roll and cumbia. Cash in your Hives and White Stripes records if you have to -- just grab this rare chance to catch an unassailably great American band.
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