“Arizona Baby” and “The Colt Miners”, envy of Mieres

The last of the aforementioned evidences was offered to us by the Mierense cultural managers on March 13 with the concert of the Valladolid “Arizona Baby” accompanied by the Asturian “The Colt Miners”. The latter, who have in their ranks the Mieres guitarist and singer Bobby González, were in charge of opening another excellent gig that afternoon at the Mieres Centru Cultural. With a repertoire of solvent and leathery rockabilly that ranges from country to swing, this power trio also took the opportunity to play the songs of their first epé –on vinyl support– released by the record label Sleazy Records. By the way, the cover of this single disc is an image taken at the La Rabaldana mine in Turón.

This intense musical preamble gave way to the performance of Arizona baby –in a duo format– who, wrapped in the mythical Canned Heat song “On the road again”, made an appearance on stage. After such good musical omens, the development of the concert did nothing more than amplify the good vibes of their songs, loaded with a good dose of country, blues and seventies rock. A little timidly, they were accompanied at times by clapping hands, thus making up for the absence of drums, the audience that occupied at least two-thirds of the capacity.

In addition to their own songs, they also made, an indelible mark of the group, their peculiar versions of some classics, such as Kraftwert’s “La Modelo” or Merle Travis’s “Sixteen Tons” that has known varied and successful performances around the world. including the one carried out in our country in 1960 by José Guardiola. It was precisely this classic of the international mining song that served to illustrate – musically speaking – the Asturian ancestors of the two components of Arizona Baby who were on stage. And it is that if the mother of the exalted guitarist from this combo –Rubén Marrón– is from Uviéu, the other guitarist and charismatic singer –Javier Vielba– has origins, also on his maternal side, in Turón, for what they wanted, through the quoted “Sixteen tons”, to pay his particular tribute to work, and in particular to that of the mine, an activity that is practically extinct in our basins but for the moment of indelible memory.

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They also took advantage of “Arizona Baby” to remember the epé –cedé format– that they published in Subterfuge records in 2014, and in which with the significant title “It’s called work” they made their personal reflection on nature – punishment / miracle– of wage labor, with the mining theme as its main sound support: a minor classic (“Working in the coal mine”) by Allen Toussaint was added to the song by the named Merle Travis, and the one that gives its name to disc, composition by Javier Vielba. The graphic design of this recording is full of references to the council of Mieres and its close relationship with coal mining, since on the cover there is a photograph of a miner -family of the singer of the group- while on the back cover you can see a complete panoramic view of the disappeared Pozu Balanza on the first floor of the Mariana Mine, while some of the credits on the disc are accompanied by a map of the mining basins.

In short, last Saturday, March 13, in addition to two superb concerts, limited in their full enjoyment by the current health crisis, we also witnessed a whole twinning of rock music with its past –in its broadest geographic meaning– miner by work and grace of the City Council of Mieres. I am not moved by any kind of political affinity with the current Mieres government team by giving them this public recognition in their cultural management regarding the so-called urban popular music, but I am envious that in the Nalón – I don’t care about the political sign – we do not have something similar in any town hall.

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