Live: Peter Case, Houston

There’s no better way to wind up a sizzling summer workday than a couple cold beers and some free music down at Houston’s Cactus Music and Record Ranch. Tuesday we moseyed down there to hear a fine acoustic set from Peter Case, a singer/songwriter who spent time in rock bands like the Nerves and the Plimsouls before going solo in the mid-1980s.

He was in Houston to promote his new CD, The Case Files, a collection of demos, outtakes and other rarities from his 25-year solo career. The track listing combines full-band electric tracks with acoustic performances and features collaborations with many of Peter’s friends including Stan Ridgway, Eddie Muñoz and T-Bone Burnett.

At Cactus, he picked through some blues and rarities from his past, including a cool version of “Old Part of Town,” which was recorded by James McMurtry. Case sang the last few lines as he deepened his voice, imagining how Dave Alvin or Tom Russell would sing it – when it was done he dedicated it to McMurtry, Alvin and Russell.

He also pulled out a nice version of the Rolling Stones’ “Good Times, Bad Times,” which is on The Case Files. Afterward, as he signed a few CDs, Case promised he can rock out with an acoustic guitar and harmonica. “Once we get to stompin’, it rocks,” he said. I know he’s as good as his word.

Peter Case official website

YouTube: “The Case Files”

MP3: “Round Trip Stranger Blues”

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