Hurple Hoopla

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Perfect Summation of a Perfect Band

Tracing the career of a band as eclectic as Los Lobos is no easy task. Every few years they manage to reinvent themselves, while at the same time, maintaining a solid foundation in the roots rock that they admittedly love so much. In addition, while they began their career in East Los Angeles as a traditional mariachi band, there are still many remnants of that humble beginning in their most recent works. Amazingly, El Cancionero: Mas y Mas touches on every period in the band's career and, because of this, is a perfect summation of what has been called "the best band in America".

The collection is spread across 4 discs, arranged chronologically, from their first, extremely rare, album through their latest release, "This Time". It includes many previously unreleased tracks, most notably the bands live version of the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows," recorded for a PBS Beatles "tribute" concert. The discs are housed in a book-like box with a cover that emulates a Spanish b-movie poster. The booklet contains a long and in-depth history of the band, along with notes on every track included in the set. Overall, the packaging is wonderful, among the best of any box set released so far.

And the song selection is worthy of such lavish packaging. Opening with what has to be the definitive recording of the seminal mariachi song, "Guantanamera" (known to jokesters as "One Ton Tomato"), the set weaves through their early years, through the "hit" period of Will The Wolf Survive and La Bamba and the "critically acclaimed" period of Kiko and Papa's Dream, and ends with an amazing live version of the Marvin Gaye's classic "What's Going On" which includes Sheryl Crow on guest vocals. Along the way, side trips are taken to include all the tracks the band has supplied to movie soundtracks, tribute albums (including a killer version of the Disney classic "I Wanna Be Like You (The Monkey Song)" from The Jungle Book) and solo and side bands such as The Latin Playboys and Los Super Seven.

All that being said, I still have one minor complaint with this collection. A few years ago the band released a 2-disc collection titled Just Another Band From East L.A. which acted as a mini-box set, containing all the hits, important songs and quite a few unreleased, rare and live songs. This collection contains all the same hits, all the same important songs, but few of the unreleased and rare songs from the 2-disc set, thus making it necessary to have both albums to have a complete Los Lobos collection.

Other than the above complaint, this is as close to a perfect summation of a band's career as has ever been assembled for any band. After listening to this collection, anybody would agree that this band deserves nothing less.

Song List

1. Guantanamera
2. Sabor A Mi
3. We're Gonna Rock
4. Let's Say Goodnight
5. Anselma
6. Why Do You Do
7. How Much Can I Do?
8. I'm Sorry (live 1984)
9. Los Ojos De Pancha (live 1984)
10. Don't Worry Baby
11. I Got Loaded
12. Matter Of Time, A
13. Corrido #1
14. Evangeline
15. Lil' King Of Everything
16. Will The Wolf Survive?
17. Quatro Vicios - (featuring Ry Cooder)
18. I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday
19. One Time One Night
20. Shakin' Shakin' Shakes
21. Is This All There Is?
22. My Baby's Gone
23. River Of Fools
24. Set Me Free (Rosa Lee)
25. Tears of God

1. La Bamba
2. Come On, Let's Go
3. Goodnight My Love
4. Rip It Up
5. Volver, Volver (live 1987)
6. I Wan'na Be Like You (The Monkey Song)
7. Estoy Sentado Aqui
8. La Pistola Y El Corazon
9. I Can't Understand
10. Someday
11. I Walk Alone
12. Angel Dance
13. Little John Of God
14. Down On The Riverbed
15. Till The Hands Fall Off The Clock
16. Be Still
17. Neighborhood, The
18. Bertha
19. Beautiful Maria Of My Soul
20. Christmas Song, The - (live)

1. Dream In Blue
2. Wicked Rain
3. Angels With Dirty Faces
4. That Train Don't Stop Here
5. Kiko And The Lavender Moon
6. Saint Behind The Glass
7. When The Circus Comes
8. Peace - (previously unreleased, demo)
9. Rio De Tenampa - (previously unreleased, demo)
10. Try Me - (previously unreleased)
11. Alone In A Crowd
12. Tomorrow Never Knows (live 1993) - (previously unreleased)
13. Forever Night Shade Mary - Latin Playboys
14. Same Brown Earth - Latin Playboys
15. Down Where The Drunkards Roll
16. Route 90
17. Lonely Avenue
18. Midnight Shift
19. Mariachi Suite
20. She's About A Mover (live 1996)

1. Revolution
2. Mas Y Mas
3. Maricela
4. Can't Stop The Rain
5. This Bird's Gonna Fly
6. Pepe & Irene - (with Money Mark)
7. Lonesome Tears In My Eyes - (with Paul Burlison)
8. Me Estas Matando
9. El Canoero - Los Super Seven
10. La Sirena - Los Super Seven
11. El Pescador - Los Super Seven
12. Little Heaven - Cesar Rosas
13. Soul Disguise - Cesar Rosas
14. Angelito - Cesar Rosas
15. Lemon 'N Ice - Latin Playboys
16. I'll Change My Style - Houndog
17. Cumbia Raza - (English version)
18. Oh Yeah
19. Viking
20. This Time
21. What's Going On? - (with Sheryl Crow)


Post a Comment

<< Home