Record of the day: Los Lobos, "Wolf Songs"

Record of the day: Los Lobos, “Wolf Songs”

Los Lobos
Wolf Songs (Cd Warner Bros./Rhino 812273294-2)

The name of this group is known in Italy mainly for the tasty reinterpretation of the Richie Valens classic “La Bamba”, created for the soundtrack of the film of the same name; to this day many listeners identify the band of David Hidalgo and César Rosas solely with that song, but the history of Los Lobos begins well before, ever since 1973 when they called themselves Los Lobos del Este and were already offering the public the scene of Los Angeles their very spicy mix of rock, blues, Tex-Mex, rockabilly and latin capable of lifting even the most distracted audience from their seats.

The exciting music of this group can be unleashed to the boogie rhythm of “Let's Say Goodnight” and “Anselma” (an amazing two-step polka with a sparkling liveliness) but also turn to the melancholy of the acoustic instrumentation of “Volver, Volver” (shown here in a live version) and “La pistol y el corazòn”. Since the mini-album “…And a Time to Dance” that launched them in 1983, the Los Angeles Wolves have stood out as one of the most fun and energetic bands on the scene. Their concerts always turn into big parties that involve the audience in dancing, singing and clapping, reaching incandescent temperatures.

Their discography is entirely made up of quality albums, you can't go wrong with works from several years ago such as “How Will The Wolf Survive?” and “By the Light of the Moon” and the more recent “Live at la Casa del Raza” and “The Town and the City”.

If an anthology is enough for you and you don't want to spend for the excellent 4-CD box “El Cancionero: mas y mas” here is the “Wolf Tracks” collection, edited by Los Lobos themselves, which includes all their greatest hits remastered by Bill Inglot, a very beautiful unreleased song, “Border Town Girl”, and a generous selection from all their albums, from the irresistible “Shakin'Shakin'Shakes” (try turning up the volume and see if you can keep still) through for the homage to Motown of “Set Me Free (Rosa Lee)”, “Kiko and the Lavender Moon”, “A Matter of Time”, “Come on Let's Go”, “Good Morning Aztlàn” and many others that will guarantee an hour of healthy fun thanks to simple and engaging music played with skill and energy.
Naturally, “La Bamba” could not be missing, still a must for any self-respecting party.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.