Sunday, January 9, 2011

Dear Los Lobos, I'm Sorry

Los Lobos doesn't make bad albums. They make good ones and great ones. "Tin Can Trust" is a great one, yet somehow, I only thought it was a good one when I completed my best of 2010 list.

As I sat, stuck on the 'N' train, in between 5th Avenue and Lexington Avenue, or more accurately, between a guy that stank and a ten year old girl who just couldn't stop kicking her seat below, "27 Spanishes," the last song from this album, came over the iPod, and for 5 minutes, I forgot about that little pest. (Though the guy still stank.)

I spent the weekend revisiting "Tin Can Trust," and I think I love it. Maybe even more than any previous Los Lobos albums.

So David, Cesar, Louie, Conrad, and even you Steve...I'm sorry.  You should have made Burning Wood's Top Ten.  I know my omission didn't break you guys, but nevertheless, I carry the guilt.


Ain't that a groove....


Noam Sane said...

Glad you came around, Sal - totally agreed on this one. It holds together better than "Kiko," even. Something special.

cmealha said...

Like this cut very much. Reminds me of a Cream groove for some reason. Liked it enough to check out the album.

Meanstreets said...

I accept your apology Sal....

Big Jim Slade said...

You know, I haven't given this one enough of a chance yet. I love their previous one so much (The Town and the City) - it's just rock and roll comfort food. I have to play the new one more to get to know it better. I have a soft spot for this band - they were getting more well known during my high school years (81-85) and they were local (L.A. - I've moved, not them). I didn't pay attention for like 20 years and was so goddamn happy to hear that they just got better and better! In the early-ish 80s I liked them, but thought that they were kind of wearing somebody else's suit and saying hey, look at this suit, this is our style! But now that suit is Their Own. And I couldn't be happier about it.

Please pardon the comment thread high-jacking, but this seems like a good place to bring up Joe Higgs. Do we have any roots reggae fans out there? Joe was a wonderful, if un-prolific over the long haul, songwriter, and had a voice soulful gold.

Far and away his best album is Life of Contradiction. I once fantasized about making my own record label and tracking down the original recording to remaster and re-release this album because the version available was crappy. How do I know it was crappy? Well, I'm embarrassed to admit it, but in the 80s I found the vinyl for this at Rhino Records. I taped it, but returned it because it was scratchy sounding. HEY! I didn't know anything about how lucky I was to have a Jamaican pressing of a rare album. Sigh. But I'm damn glad I taped it first. I enjoyed that tape for 20 years. Even when I had the cd, I would play the tape when I could because it sounded better (even though you could hear the needle dropping after you dropped your own needle). Well, thank the music gods because Pressure Sounds did my work for me :-) They even restored the original artwork (well, it's darker brown now, but basically right on), and the track order:

Think of this record as the Los Lobos "Town and the City" of reggae. He moved to L.A. later in life and I was lucky enough to see him 3 times... :-) I've only seen Los Lobos once - and that was in Boston! That's the way it goes sometimes.

Sal Nunziato said...

Big Jim,
I couldn't agree with you more about Joe Higgs' "Life Of Contradiction." I don't feature reggae on these pages enough...or, at all really. But you are so right about this one.

Thanks for the words and the reminder.

Kevin said...

Darned if you aren't right (again), Sal.
However, good thing for all of us Los Lobos is a patient, forgiving band. If you go here and log in to FaceBook, they give a free listen of the whole thing:
Wallet-tightening has led me to downloading more and more. Where I've done it in the past for specific songs, I'm doing it more now for new material, and it's bands I'm not as familiar with and new acts (like 7 Walkers) that are paying the price when I can't hear the entire album. Sometimes 30 seconds a song isn't enough.
Unfortunately, all this 'e' stuff renders stores almost obsolete, and there are too many people willing to post torrents online, which renders musicians poor, which makes sites like yours all the more valuable.
I've been buying music for 40 odd years now, and downloading is almost like being able to buy 45's again, as opposed to paying 12-20 dollars a CD for a single and/or a few strong tracks.
These guys does something interesting:
besides being excellent sites.
BTW, here is Willard's new URL:
at least until 'The Man' comes round again. (Scroll down to The Semantics' "Powerbill" link for a real treat as a reward for wading through this. It still works, for now.)