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4.4 out of 5 stars
Neighborhood
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
For my money, "The Neighborhood" is the best Los Lobos studio album. Recorded and released after the all their mid-1980s hype in the music press had died down, it is a strong, rocking album full of excellent songwriting and performances. The up tempo single "Down By the Riverbed" starts things off with a bang. After that comes a set of consistent songs that vary from the spritual "Little John of God," to the funky "Angel Dance," to the rollicking fun of "Deep Dark Hole" and "Georgia Slop." What really sets this album apart is its sense of fun. The band displays a fine sense of humor without ever being cheeky. Their Latin roots are displayed subtley, enhancing their sound without being overbearing.
Overall, "The Neighborhood," is an overlooked gem that deserves a wider audience.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 1999
Format: Audio CD
That critical comment by Philip Thomas above is rather bizarre. He seems to want Los Lobos to pigeonhole themselves into some faux-authentic, token Chicano box. As if they're somehow not Hispanic enough for him. I may be mistaken--it has happened--but that seems to be the implication. And it seems to me a condescending one: sing in Spanish, guys, make sure you sound Hispanic enough, leave the rock and R&B alone. But the very strength of Los Lobos--and the reason I consider them my favorite American band (not just Hispanic/Latino/Chicano band), period--is their breadth and ambition: the fact that they know where their feet are placed, where they come from, but they see no need to limit their reach. As for this particular record, to me it's not quite as fine as Kiko, but it's excellent and has been overlooked by a lot of folks. Underrated and worth picking up.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The Neighborhood is probably Los Lobos least popular and most underated albums. After 10 years and countless spins in the walkman, this album still sounds as fresh as the day I bought it. Although It doesn't quite live up to their 2 classic albums "Will The Wolf Survive" and "By The Light Of The Moon", it comes in a close third. This was really the last album Los Lobos did before they started moving their music into experimental territory with Kiko and the rest of their albums. I prefer the kinder, simpler Los Lobos of the first 3 records. The Neighborhood is by far their bluesiest album, with songs like Georgia Slop, "I Can't Understand", which Cesar Rosas co-wrote with blues giant Willie Dixon, who happened to also produce the soundtrack to La Bamba, which Los Lobos appeard on. Another good blues song is "I Walk Alone", which has got some of the most ferocious, hard rockin drivin' blues Los Lobos has ever done. But they also do a 180 on here and show they can still write some of the most beautiful ballads this side of Gene Pitney. With songs like "Angel Dance" and "Little John Of God", which features some great singing by Levon Helm. Just beautiful. I also like the celtic sounding "Be Still", that's got some very creative violin playing in it. And my favorite on here is "The Giving Tree", which still ranks as one of the best songs The Wolves have ever written. I had the pleasure of seeing Los Lobos live at the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas. And they put on one of the most unforgettable shows I've seen. They're just a great band. But to hear these guys playing their best no gimmics roots rock, you have to get their first 3 records. You can't go wrong with any of em. They're all good.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2000
Format: Audio CD
A brilliant recording that expands on the band's early mix of 50s Latino rock, rockabilly and traditional Mexican sounds. With this disc Los Lobos pushes harder in the r'n'b (heavy on the B) and rock directions. The accordians are played down in favor of some very soulful blues singing and wailing distorted guitars. Which isn't to imply that they've abandoned their roots, there are still acoustic guitars and bajo-sextos, hawaiian steel guitars, 5-string acoustic basses and more. The latter are simply de-emphasized.
There's a good deal of diversity within the 45 minutes of these 13 tracks, ranging from the country fiddle and acoustic guitars of "Emily" (with vocals reminiscent of a Traffic-era Stevie Winwood) to the electric country of "Deep Dark Hole", to the raging blues of "I Walk Alone" (featuring a distorted guitar line that sounds like e electricity crackling out of your speakers) and Steve Ray Vaughn-esque "I Can't Understand", to the soulful "Angel Dance", and the more traditional acoustic "Be Still."
Guests include Jim Keltner playing drums on a few tracks and Levon Helm playing drums and mandolin and adding a beautiful harmony vocal on one track. Steve Berlin adds his sax on a few of the upbeat pieces.
One of those rare records that has you racing to repeat songs on first listen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Kudos to rlindsey above for hitting the nail on the head regarding THE NEIGHBORHOOD. If this album had been recorded by any other band the issue of race/culture/vision abandonment would never have been raised. Of course, no other band could have recorded this album...it's Los lobos, through and through.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2003
Format: Audio CD
this is one of those recordings that when you listen to it the first time it must be listened to again and again. then, after a few turns, you buy something new and los lobos- the neighborhood gets filed. sometime later it's back in the cd player and one wonders why it was ever removed.
this recording rocks, swings, grinds, and proves that all other alternive country, rock and country-rock muscians have a standard to hold to. true musicians all; los lobos is great. the neighborhood isn't their only wonderful recording, will the wolf..., kiko, collosal head, naming others i currently have, are just as exciting. i don't know about you but, i must have more los lobos!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Los Lobos continue on "The Neighborhood" the artistic development, the group embarked on "How Will the Wolf Survive" and continued on "By The Light of the Moon."

Like its predecessor, the album is characterized by strong songs written by David Hidalgo and Louis Perez. However, producer Larry Hirsch together with the group has created a sound that is both highly contemporary and respectful to the group's roots in the traditional Spanish Mexican.

Hidalgo's and Perez' songs are very varied and provides space for both the melodic and instrumental - all members are excellent musicians.

The band's love for the blues is highligted on "Down By the River Bed" where John Hiatt is to find in the chorus. Also "I Walk Alone" and "The Neighborhood" belong to the blues category.

The melodic and folk-inspired characterize strongest songs of the album, such as "Emily," "Take My Hand," "The Giving Tree" and not least the beautiful "Little John of God" where Levon Helm convincingly joins in with his vocals. Another favorite is the Lovin Spoonful-like "Deep Dark Hole".

A really great album on which actually only the group's cover of "Georgia Slop" disappoints
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
This is some really high quality songwriting and execution. These guys know what they are doing and have been around long enough to deliver the goods. They remind me of a Latino version of The Band, and since Levon Helm sings on a few songs that makes it an even easier comparison. These songs stick in your head, just give them a few listens and you will be hooked. Although the styles vary, each song is high quality and not over produced like a lot of their later material. The album has a loose feel which makes it easy to listen to repeatedly, as you can groove on the energy of the soul of the tunes. My favorite songs are "Emily", "I Walk Alone", "I Can't Understand", and "The Giving Tree." The two ballads are very nice too, the whole album is very impressive. Please bring peace to the neighborhood!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 13, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Los Lobos is one of the greatest bands to come out of LA. They are nearly on a par with the Doors or Frank Zappa. Like any great band, they are always innovating and exploring.
In this album, they explore retro-rock, borrowing from the sounds of the early sixties, before the British invasion. They mix rockabilly, country, R&B, Tejano and straight ahead rock. There are some excellents songs on this CD, like Emily. But there are a number of songs that are just merely good. These tend to be the overly blended songs that come out bland.
I like everything by Los Lobos, but I think they are at their best when they really go off into new areas. I think that Colossal Head was their best album and one of the best albums of the nineties.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This album is a classic, exemplifying Los Lobos' unique voice. Although all of the songs on the album are good, for my money, two songs really stand out: "Emily" and "The Giving Tree."
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