Album Reviews

Los Lobos

Gates Of Gold

Artist:     Los Lobos

Album:     Gates Of Gold

Label:     429 Records

Release Date:     09/25/2015

91

What is it about Los Lobos? Well, for forty-two years down a zigzagging, consistently fascinating road, the band remains a group of brilliant multi-instrumentalists and singers: David Hidalgo, Louie Perez and Cesar Rosas on vocals, bassist Conrad Lozano and, for most of the marathon, sax and keys player Steve Berlin (prepare to hear sax like a broken car horn and love it). Drums– initially Perez’s position– have long been handled by a succession of auxiliary members. Here, David Hidalgo Jr. plays them beautifully, a fine testament to family. So, family. The songs are all by Hidalgo and Perez or Rosas, save the breezy, Spanish “La Tumba Sera El Final.”

Los Lobos may be the truest example of a melting pot band ever. Four fifths Mexican by way of East L.A., practically anything in the rock, soul and Americana realms is child’s play for them. This natural ease with varying styles makes for smooth transitions from the hushed, complex soul of “When We Were Free” into Rosas’ balls-out, grinding “Mis-Treater Boogie Blues.” Pure, thick rock ‘n’ roll with extended guitar solos in “Too Small Heart” gives way to celebratory Mexican music and Spanish singing in “Poquito Para Aqui.” At times highly inventive and at others straight-ahead, these extraordinary writers, players and singers hold tight to tradition, but have no fear. Long ago they could lay claim to their own kind of “Los Lobos Music.” At this point, at these naughtily-heavenly Gates of Gold, they define that sound perfectly. So, that’s what it is about Los Lobos: highly recommended for the head, hands, feet, and heart.

– Tom Clarke

Got something to say?

One Response