This Week's R E V I E W ...

Los Lobos
Kiko

© Slash/Warner Bros. Records

October 6 - 12, 2019

Year of Release: 1992
Rating:
  • Dream In Blue
  • Wake Up Dolores
  • ANgels With Dirty Faces
  • That Train Don't Stop Here
  • Kiko And The Lavender Moon
  • Saint Behind The Glass
  • Reva's House
  • When The Circus Comes
  • Arizona Skies
  • Short Side Of Nothing
  • Two Janes Whiskey Trail
  • Just A Man
  • Peace
  • Rio De Tenampa

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    Los Lobos (which means in Spanish, The Wolves), marks their debut this week on WSVNRadio, with their 1992 album, Kiko. Coming off the success of the movie La Bamba (1987), they reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, with their version of the Ritchie Valens classic. With the exception of "La Bamba"'s 2 million units sold, Kiko sold more units (albums, cds, cassettes) than any other album in their 46 year career of their original songs. Roughly 450,000 units were sold worldwide. They released an album of traditional Mexican music in 1988, and another studio album in 1990. But for Kiko, Los Lobos drew on all different musical influences: Blues and Zydeco, Mariachi and Clapton-esque classic rock, Motown Soul and Country, Tex-Mex and 1940s bi-band jazz.

    This is Rock & Roll at its goodness. "Dream In Blue" starts out the album, in true rocking form. The next track is even better - "Wake Up Delores." "Angels With Dirty Faces" blends Rock and Latino music together. "That Train Don't Stop Here" is nostalgic -- this is a song that could easily be recorded in sound and style, of the Brian Setzer Orchestra. "Kiko And The Lavender Moon" has a mystery sound to it; having a sound that could fit an early 1940s/1950s detective movie soundtrack, and also has a nostalgic touch to it. "Saint Behind The Glass" also has a Latino style, and it fits, just as their version of "La Bamba" did.

    "Reva's House" is your basic Rock & Roll; it sounds like a song that rockers such as Dave Edmunds and/or Nick Lowe. "When The Circus Comes" is another mystery-styled track; it also fits the album. (Each song up to this point easily flows; this is an album that critics agreed on - an album that would become a masterpiece for Los Lobos. Some critics compared it to as their own Sgt. Pepper's.)

    "Arizona Skies" is another great Latino-sounding track, with its Spanish guitars, as it is an instrumental. "Short Side Of Nothing" has a Tom Petty'ish style. "Two Janes" sounds alot like Country and Bluegrass. "Wicked Rain" is a great blues-sounding track. It's Psychedlic. It's Blues. It's Rock. Jeff Healey comes to mind for this song. "Whiskey Trail" is another straight and basic Rock & Roll track. "Just A Man" is Blues, yet it is also Jazz. A good mix here. Then there is "Peace" -- oh my, another great rockin Americana style. Ending the album is "Rio De Tenampa" - Yes, it's a Mexican tune, having a Tex-Mex style, as it reminds me of another great Tex-Mex band, The Texas Tornadoes (with Doug Sahm and Freddy Fender).

    Kiko by Los Lobos has richness and texture. This is album of different genres, as they all easily blend into what critics have claimed this album to be: A Masterpiece. (Why didn't we ever hear of this album when it was first released, and comparing it to the other great albums that preceeded it and beyond?) The success of their version of "La Bamba" could easily have made many music fans to look back at their music, and easily recognize how talented Los Lobos has always been. Is it a Sgt. Pepper's album? Could be, comparing to the band's previous albums, and seeing how they took risks in developing different musical styles together, rather than just focusing on one particular type of sound. "Will The Wolf Survive," "Set Me Free (Rosa Lee)," and their "La Bamba" are the three songs most would remember (from my knowledge) of well-known songs by Los Lobos. But, given Kiko a listen, and you easily see how this band has become one of those who are underrated, and should take upon consideration. Los Lobos is a great band, and Kiko is a great and fantastic album to listen to. It blends all musical styles, and will definitely want you to look more into their music - whether it be from their beginnings, and seeing how they progressed into being one of Rock's finest bands. They've been around for over 40 years now, and if you haven't heard of them by now, you should. Los Lobos is a great band (as mentioned), and will be a band you will want to learn more of. From their first album in 1978, they are still recording, studio albums, live albums, soundtracks, and compilations. Their most recent studio albums were released in 2015, and 2019.





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