New West Records
While many may consider Los Lobos, the band from East L.A., I have always felt that because of their collective story and impact on music across all genres, Los Lobos may possibly be the most American band in existence. Their new album Native Sons punctuates that with an album of love letters to L.A. in the form of covers from many of her Native Sons whose impact has been felt world wide. The Blasters, Lalo Guerrero, Jackson Browne, and The Beach Boys music is all featured in the 13 tracks and feel as fresh and interesting as they did when they first came out.
“Love Special Delivery” by Thee Midniters, one of L.A’s first Chicano bands to make it big, kicks the door open on the album with big horns, big drums, and grooves that pull you right back to 1966. The Buffalo Springfield medley of “Blue Bird” and “For What it’s worth” are preformed in the reverse order of their original song releases in 1966/1967 and a poignant reminder that “For What It’s Worth” still has something to say 55 years later. “Los Chucos Suaves” by The Father of Chicano Music, Lalo Guerrero, is excellently preformed and a great example of just how tight Los Lobos are as a band.
“Native Son” is the only original song on the album and, placed halfway through the record, it’s a nice way to sum up the entire project before getting back to more inspired covers. “Dichoso” by Willie Bobo showcases the Afro-Cuban/Jazz/Latin aspects of L.A. with Cesar Rosas nailing those smooth, Spanish vocals. Their take on The Beach Boys “Sail On, Sailor” is another example of Los Lobos making everything they do feel as much like the original as it does a Los Lobos song.
As the liner notes from the album say, “what they have done is what all great artists do: filter their time and culture through their art and put it into context for the rest of us.” And if a music fan from the middle of Iowa can feel that all the way from L.A., then they have accomplished what they set out to do. Native Sons is available now on all online retailers and streaming services.