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Town & The City

35 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 12, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The 13-track set--fittingly, the disc is the 13th studio album of the band's 30-year-plus career--was recorded over the last several months, with the band doing its own production work. Tchad Blake, who's worked with the group for many of its past albums, handled mixing duties. The album partially reflects the East Los Angeles roots-rockers' experience as de facto immigrants in their own country, as well as unease with the current political situation in the land. The band is currently on an open-ended touring schedule, which is typical of their roadwork.

After variously celebrating their 30th anniversary with the star-studded The Ride, documenting their bracing live shows on Live at the Fillmore and doing a little intimate musical retrenchment on the self-released Acoustic En Vivo, Los Lobos returned to the studio with creative exploration on their minds. The result is their most sonically adventurous, thematically taut collection since the heady days of Kiko and Colossal Head. With lyrics penned mostly by multi-instrumentalist Louis Perez, the album's first-person narrative views a myriad of larger issues through slices of local life, from the immigrants' physical and spiritual travails of "The Valley" and "Hold On" to the liturgical grace of "Little Things" and the haunting impressionism of "The City." The musical tack is even more adventurous, a melange of diverse flavors that ranges from the infectious calo Spanglish patois of Cesar Rosa's "Chuco's Cumbia" and neo-norteno "The Road to Gila Bend" to the chunky r&b groove of "Don't Ask Why," the Caribbean-Latin fusion of "No Pueda Mas" and the shadowy, jazz reflectiveness of the "The Town." The Lobos blend it all into a compelling sonic landscape, one that's tamed the playful, psychedelic spirit of Perez and David Hidalgo's free-spirited Latin Playboys side project and focused it into a band context with rich rewards at every turn. -- Jerry McCulley
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 12, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hollywood Records
  • ASIN: B000HKCRV8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,407 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By John E on September 20, 2006
Format: Audio CD
A sophisticated record by a mature band. While traces of their bad boy roots rock remain, this record shows a older, more contemplative group of artists. On their landmark debut album they had an anthem of sorts about the plight, courage, and determination of the Latino immigrant with the soaring "Will the Wolf Survive?" Here, there are no anthems, but the story is now filled in with multiple shades and tones. What the boys kicked in the music scene door with back in the Eighties is now voiced with a tired wisdom, regret, and bittersweet pride.

Standout tracks are all over this record; among the best has to be Hidalgo and Perez's "Little Things." Strongly evoking Procol Harem's "A Whiter Shade of Pale," it's that kind of Lobos tune that can just kill you where you stand. An aching, gorgeous and beautifully sad masterpiece.

Caesar Rosas, goes all George Harrison on us this time out and only gives up two songs. Although his "No Puedo Mas" coming towards the end of the record is clearly its furious blues-rock highlight without a doubt. Anyone bemoaning the lack of "rock" on the record should skip straight to this burner and turn it up nice and loud.

But that's not what this record is about. It's about the desperate, spooky "Hold On," the Will the Wolf Survive-like "Road to Gila Bend," the bone-weary, resigned "If Only You were Here Tonight," (a song in which you'd swear Hidalgo's guitar is channeling the ghost of Jerry Garcia), and the foreboding final track "Town."

All-in-all, an excellent group of songs that is strangely reminiscent of Bob Dylan's recent brooding work. A album that requires multiple listens, your attention and your heart.

A keeper.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By John C. Bannon on September 28, 2006
Format: Audio CD
If this album had been issued by a band whose name consisted of a number and a noun; and whose members were all in their twenties, decked out in skinny glasses, black leather, little beards, and kinky hair, and whose album art consisted of the band members staring glumly into the eye of a camera,this CD would be HUGE.

So if you've never heard of Los Lobos; or if you think they're just a bunch of pudgy throwbacks to the roots-music movement; or if you liked Kiko but lost interest after that; or even if you love Los Lobos so much you'd buy anything they recorded, why not try a little experiment: buy the CD; take it out of the packaging without looking at any of it; slap it into your audio system; grab a comfortable chair and place it right in the center of the stereo image; turn out the lights; and listen as closely as you possibly can.

Who are these guys? How the hell did they come up with these soundscapes, timbres, moods, and fleeting highlights? How come, just when you're expecting the band to boost the volume over the top, throw the drums in your face, and "like, totally rock out," they drop the volume and add a nuance that is more exhilarating than a rave up would ever be? How, with state of the art recording techniques, do they make their songs sound hazy, intriguingly distant, like old lp's without the scratches? Who knows? Wait, I've GOT to know.

But hey, did you hear that? What the guitars are doing? If he weren't so humble, it would be hard to believe that the lead player could be capable of playing so many styles so perfectly, and yet so personally. I wait in vain for the cliches. He's in the pantheon, allright.

What's with the bass player? What, no funky thumb-wacking, no treble-booster?
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By on September 22, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is the deal. I'd only amplify the previous positive reviews, which I admire: great, great recording, and I'd also mention that the atmospherics, as my music pals call them, are more integrated here than on about any CD I've heard in a very long while, maybe ever. There is just stuff here that continually surprises you, and not in some obnoxious, "clever" way. It's all part of the portrait they're painting, the immigrant life In California. Like the dab of yellow on a great painting that makes you see everything, except the dab of yellow. It's the trigger.

The Playing is explosive when necessary, subtle when appropriate. Probably their strongest lyrics yet. (I'm picky, because I have a book out that deals with immigrant LA, the source of my own writer's inspiration. They kick me real bad here, and for that I'm grateful.)

The guitar performances are especially unbelievably fine. Anyone who has heard "Tomorrow Never Knows" on the box set know that these guys can sound as if George Martin had run the guitar track backwards. But they can run it real time.

Man, what an accomplishment from los veteranos del Norte. And, I say this as a listener for many years, there is NO BAND better than Los Lobos. Nobody. Nowhere. The Beatles of East LA. Not a small accomplishment. Amigos siempre. Amigos de mi corazon.

My Spanish sucks. Forgive me, amigos. Your record is the best of this and many years.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nicman on September 15, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Yeah I still call them albums, and I still think Los Lobos is one of the best bands around. This album grows on you with each listen so, you might have to give it a chance. This time out, Los Lobos(producing), with Tchad Blake (mixing)have created a work that, sonically, is laced with so much detail that it would be hard to digest in one sitting. Through out the album you can hear; Nylon acustic guitar strings against electronic soundscapes, Electronic and acoustic persussion, and a huge rage of guitar tones crunching and strumming, even beautiful organ on a few tracks. At one point, while listening, I took off my headphones because I thought my phone was ringing! There's more to these songs than meets the ear at first listen. I was listening with headphones on my PC. I really want to hear this on my 5.1 Home Theater System!

Overall it's a very strong album, telling the tale of the immigration experince. The songs have a theme of a Mexican immigrant traveling into the USA, and his feelings and experiences,looking at it from different(character)angles. Each song is another story. Their dedicating the album to their parents for "giving all they had" made me think of my own grandfather who was a Mexican immigrant during the 1920's.He was naturalized in Nogales (mentioned in Gila Bend) and married his wife there.

While this album may not "Rock" as much as you might want, the songs are solid. From the rockin "Road to Gila Bend" and the shuffly "Two Dogs and a Bone", the wonderful Mexican dance of "Chuco's Cumbia" the blusey "No Pueda Mas", ballads like "If you were only here with me tonight" the experimental sounding "Luna". "Little Things" does sound heavily influenced by the organ drenching of Procol Harem, another beautiful ballad. But don't be fooled!
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This ranks right up there with KiKO.
Does anyone know why this album is unavailable at Amazon, and whether it will be?
Sep 21, 2006 by PayOrPlay |  See all 2 posts
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