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Easton Road And Keswick Avenue
Sun, September 30, 2012
If Los Lobos has learned one thing in nearly four decades together, it’s that playing by the rules is not for them. They tried it for a while, said no thanks, and they’ve been better for it ever since. The 20th anniversary re-release of Los Lobos’ landmark Kiko album by Shout! Factory on August 21—bursting with bonus tracks and a live DVD in addition to the original album—serves as a potent reminder of why going rogue was the best thing this legendary American quintet ever did.
By early 1992, prior to making Kiko, Los Lobos—David Hidalgo, Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano, Louie Pérez and saxophonist/keyboardist Steve Berlin—was wrapping their second decade together, coming off a five-year period of newfound massive commercial success but lost creatively. Their 1987 remake of Ritchie Valens’ classic “La Bamba” for the soundtrack of the same name earned the band a number 1 smash on the Billboard charts, and the following year’s La Pistola y El Corazón, which found the band revisiting its Mexican folk roots, was also highly regarded.
When Kiko was released in the late spring of ’92, it was embraced by fans and hailed by critics as Los Lobos’ defining moment, the album that put Los Lobos back on the innovation track. The album, wrote All Music Guide, “demonstrated the breadth of their sonic ambitions.” Comments the band’s Cesar Rosas, “With that album we didn’t want to be tied down to all the conventional ways of recording, so we started experimenting and making up sounds.” That is where they remain today. Next year Los Lobos will celebrate 40 years together, a monumental achievement in a world where bands come and go in the blink of an eye.
A rare example of longevity in a volatile music world that stresses style over substance, Los Lobos’ lineup has remained uninterrupted since 1984.
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