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Good Morning Aztlán
     

Good Morning Aztlán

3.0 1
by Los Lobos
 
Playing together for nearly 30 years, East L.A.'s Los Lobos have evolved into a band of American master musicians, adept at seemingly every aspect of the backbeat, from sea to shining sea. For their tenth album, the casually scintillating Good Morning Aztlán, Los Lobos consolidate the elder statesmen phase begun with 1999's This

Overview

Playing together for nearly 30 years, East L.A.'s Los Lobos have evolved into a band of American master musicians, adept at seemingly every aspect of the backbeat, from sea to shining sea. For their tenth album, the casually scintillating Good Morning Aztlán, Los Lobos consolidate the elder statesmen phase begun with 1999's This Time. Having sated themselves with the visionary production of groundbreakers such as Kiko and the Latin Playboys side project, the band just play, from the feral rock of "Done Gone Blue" to the Latin stomp of "Malaqué" to the sweet Curtis Mayfield-esque soul of "The Word." A band this confident simply doesn't need the studio trickery that Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake had made the hallmark Los Lobos sound through the '90s. So this time around, they've hooked up with rock vet John Leckie (Radiohead, XTC), who simply lets them be themselves. The result is a tapestry of American rock, in all its regional accents (including the playful Spanglish of "Luz de Mi Vida"). The barn-burning boogie favored by Cesar Rosas shows up on the title track; the foot-stomping cumbia visited in quotation marks by the Playboys is honestly assayed on "Maria Christina"; the brown-eyed soul of Chicano R&B is soulfully conveyed on "Hearts of Stone"; and horn-laden Memphis blues drip from "What in the World." But these are not genre exercises; the heartfelt vocals of Rosas and David Hidalgo and poignant lyrical portraits by Louie Perez mark each song as a new celebration of the band's incredibly long-lived creative chemistry. As much as the four-CD El Cancionero set, Good Morning Aztlán is a summation of Los Lobos' history: "Tony & Maria" even revisits the Mexican immigrant protagonists of How Will the Wolf Survive? Sadly -- perhaps predictably -- they're not faring that well in 21st-century America. Happily, and again perhaps predictably, you can't say the same for Los Lobos. The wolves survive, and thrive.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Great rock & roll bands aren't supposed to be as modest as Los Lobos, an unlikely band comprised of five world-class musicians who write, sing, and play brilliantly, have been doing it for close to 30 years -- and don't appear to feel compelled to make a big show of it. Lack of flash should never be confused with a lack of creativity, of course, and their best album, 1992's Kiko, showed they could bend traditional structures and play with the possibilities of the studio as well as any hipsters half their age. But straightforward meat-and-potatoes rock and soul have always been their strongest calling card, and their post-Kiko work with producer Mitchell Froom found them struggling to balance their more experimental instincts with their gifts as straight-ahead players, often with uneven results. Good Morning Aztlán finds Los Lobos working with a new producer, John Leckie, whose work with Radiohead, the Fall, and Kula Shaker confirms his credentials in helping to craft intelligent, creative music. But Leckie has also worked with Dr. John and Roy Harper, and knows the importance of letting a great musician simply play; as a result, Good Morning Aztlán sounds like Los Lobos' strongest album since Kiko. Leckie has replaced Froom's banks of tape-loop keyboards and webs of audio trickery with a solid, straightforward sound that reflects the band's skills as one of rock's most consistently impressive live acts, but he's also caught them on tape with a batch of especially impressive songs, many of which deal with the nuts and bolts of life in the Hispanic community. Good Morning Aztlán swings from high-octane rock & roll ("Done Gone Blue"), soulful R&B ("Hearts of Stone"), passionate Latin grooves ( "Luz de Mi Vida"), and any number of combinations thereof, such as "Malaque"'s slinky Latin melody set to a neo-hip-hop beat, or "Get to This," which blends an old-school funk bottom with crunching rock guitars. And if Los Lobos prefer to write about small-p personal politics rather than Large-P Global Politics, their take on the sometimes funny, sometimes troubling stakes of life in Hispanic America makes it clear that they know what goes on in their neighborhood, and they have plenty of compelling things to say about it. Good Morning Aztlán isn't hip, revolutionary, or groundbreaking -- it's just a superb album from one of America's great rock bands.
Rolling Stone - Christian Hoard
A record as poignant as it is rollicking, and a welcome return to form.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/04/2002
Label:
Fontana Mammoth
UPC:
0720616551825
catalogNumber:
165518

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lobos   Primary Artist
Bucky Baxter   Pedal Steel Guitar
Steve Berlin   Flute,Percussion,Keyboards,Saxophone,MIDI Sax
Victor Bisetti   Percussion
Fermin Herrera   Harp
Conrad Lozano   Bass,Vocals
Rick Marotta   Drums
Cesar Rosas   Guitar,Vocals,quatro
Pete Thomas   Drums
Louie Pérez   Guitar,Percussion,Drums,Jarana
Cougar Estrada   Percussion,Drums
Martha González   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

John Leckie   Producer,Engineer
Lobos   Producer
Dave McNair   Engineer
Louie Pérez   Art Direction
Sandow Birk   Cover Painting
Bob Shaper   Engineer
Jeff Smith   Art Direction
Tim Bernett   Management
Quattrocchi   Art Direction

Customer Reviews

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Good Morning Aztlán 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
glauver More than 1 year ago
I have never heard a truly bad Los Lobos CD. However, this one just does not seem to be as good as, say, The Ride or Kiko. Good Morning Atzlan and Can't StopThe Rain (found on the bonus disc) are top notch but the rest don't quite reach the top tier.