For the Sake of the Song: Dave Alvin “The Man in the Bed”

Welcome to ‘For The Sake Of The Song’, our latest new series. It aims to celebrate individual songs and each week our writers will choose one of their own particular favourites to share with you.

Dave Alvin is renowned as both a celebrated guitarist and also an excellent songwriter. From his work with the Blasters, through his solo work and within numerous collaborations, he has established and maintained a remarkably consistent level of performance. The song chosen here comes from his 2004 album ‘Ashgrove’ and is a very personal reflection on the death of his father. However, the song can also be interpreted as a wider observation of the process of ageing, loss of health and society’s dismissive attitude toward the elderly and the infirm. Many people will relate to the words here in terms of them resonating and reflecting the situation of their own loved ones. The poignancy is palpable and the emotion in Alvin’s voice adds another layer to a simple but deep song.

“The man in the bed isn’t me‘Cause I slipped out the door and I’m runnin’ freeYoung and wild like I’ll always beThe man in the bed isn’t me”

About Clint West 294 Articles
From buying my first record aged 10 and attending my first gig at 14, music has been a lifelong obsession. A proud native of Suffolk, I have lived in and around Manchester for the best part of 30 years. My idea of a perfect day would be a new record arriving in the post in the morning, watching Ipswich Town win in the afternoon followed by a gig and a pint with my mates at night,
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Check out Border Radio or Abilene for his country songs. I saw him at the late, lamented Borderline in London. A great night.

Paul Higham

I‘ve seen him live twice. Most recently (but still a good few years ago) at the Night & Day Cafe in Manchester, and the first time with the Blasters supporting Nick Lowe at Manchester University. The latter was sparsely attended, and less so for the Blasters as support. They gave it their all though for the two dozen or so of us in the audience, and included an encore. The former included a terrific version of “Abilene”, which stretched out with an Allman Bros-like guitar coda.

He allows live recordings to be traded, and they can be found at

Stan Carpenter

NOBODY better than Dave. This song brings me to my knees.