I think any band that sticks together for 20 years, working consistently and making clean, listenable music ought to get a special statue in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I remember these guys appearing in LA back during the punk days. Musical fusion filled the air, and ALL genres of music were accepted and influenced by each other. All it took to get into the punk community were brightly colored posters with angular letters.
Los Lobos slid right in. No one cared that they were from East LA. As long as they had some fast songs, the Whiskey A-Go-Go hipsters bought their tickets. The two decades since have mellowed them a bit, but have sharpened their musical skill. Having out lived everyone else, they can draw on a huge talent base of friends and acquaintances, making this album more than just a Los Lobos project.
The Ride is mostly a collaborative effort with the likes of Elvis Costello, Bobby Womack and Dave Alvin. The folksy “Wreck of the Carlos Rey,” which invokes Gordon Lightfoot, involves Richard Thomson. Little Willie G contributes “Is This all There Is,” a more funk-oriented tune that could have come out of a Blaxploitation soundtrack. The list goes on. Varied origins keep the record from getting boring, and the solid Los Lobos crew keeps them stylistically related for a very pleasing effect. This is the sort of collaborative album that makes everyone sound good.
Los Lobos: http://www.loslobos.org • Hollywood Records: http://www.hollywoodrecords.com