The Town and the City

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Los Lobos know their way around both of the locales mentioned in the title of their latest offering -- which serves as something of a guided tour of each, as traces of dirt-road rusticity and hardscrabble urbanity permeate the disc's grooves. The Angelenos revisit many of their old haunts in order to outfit the tales with appropriate sonic backing -- lacing "Chuco's Cumbia" with several dashes of the piquant border-town spice that were so liberally applied in their earliest work and dipping into heady, Latin Playboys-esque experimentalism on the darkly visceral "The City." The eerie quality of that latter track imbues several of the album's songs, underscoring the ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Los Lobos know their way around both of the locales mentioned in the title of their latest offering -- which serves as something of a guided tour of each, as traces of dirt-road rusticity and hardscrabble urbanity permeate the disc's grooves. The Angelenos revisit many of their old haunts in order to outfit the tales with appropriate sonic backing -- lacing "Chuco's Cumbia" with several dashes of the piquant border-town spice that were so liberally applied in their earliest work and dipping into heady, Latin Playboys-esque experimentalism on the darkly visceral "The City." The eerie quality of that latter track imbues several of the album's songs, underscoring the yearning nature of "Hold On," a classic Lobos tale of Latinos trying to get a foothold in society. Louie Perez, the band's primary lyricist, comes back to that topic often, but does so in a way that's universal enough to resonate with anyone who's struggled with hardship, regardless of its source. He and his bandmates are also well versed in balancing life's dark and stormy nights with some kick-up-the-heels interludes -- notably the roughhousing "Two Dogs and a Bone," which barrels along with the power of vintage Lobos rockers like "Shakin' Shakin' Shakes." That blend of simplicity and complexity, tradition and modernity, is what makes The Town and the City seem so complete, so well considered -- like a short film that reveals something new each time it unspools.
All Music Guide - Mark Deming
The simple fact, not stated nearly often enough, is that Los Lobos are one of America's truly great rock & roll bands, and they've been making consistently strong albums since 1984's How Will the Wolf Survive? But 1992's Kiko raised the stakes for Los Lobos' work in the studio with its edgy atmosphere, ambitious production, and expressionistic, purposefully off-kilter textures; it took their music in new and unexpected places with confidence and fire, but they seemed a bit unsure of where they should go down the new trail they blazed. Released in 1996, Colossal Head found them replicating Kiko's sonics without approaching its emotional power, while their subsequent recordings found them retreating into the safety of their status as America's finest roots rock band, which is hardly a bad or unsatisfying place to be. But The Town and the City is the first album where Los Lobos have allowed themselves the same degree of freedom and room to play with their signature sound as they had on Kiko, and the result is a quietly exhilarating experience. The Town and the City is a simpler and more measured set than one might expect from Los Lobos, with a lower quotient of full-on rock, but the band's performances are as tight and sinewy as ever; David Hidalgo offers yet another master class in virtuoso guitar playing (without strutting his ego or boring the listener in the process), and Cesar Rosas remains his perfect instrumental foil. The rhythm section gives the songs a firm backbone and adds welcome color and heft to the music, and the production (by the band, with Tchad Blake and Robert Carranza mixing) makes the most of the interplay between the musicians -- this is music that revels in the spaces as much as the notes, and demonstrates that this is truly a great band rather than just five gifted players. The 13 songs on The Town and the City work within a loose conceptual framework as they ponder the Mexican-American experience both among illegals and folks who were born and raised in the U.S.A., and while Los Lobos are too smart and too talented to sink into melodrama, there's a sense of wonder in the opening tune, "The Valley," and an air of measured dread in the finale, "The Town," which leaves room for a great deal that's both joyous and tragic in the lives of their characters. The Town and the City isn't likely to be the soundtrack for your next party, but it's an exciting and emotionally powerful experience that grows with each listen, and it's hard to think of many bands who, after three decades together, are as willing to challenge both themselves and their audience as Los Lobos do on this album.
Rolling Stone - Jason Fine
This is what happens when five guys create a magical sound, then stick together for thirty years to see how far it can take them.
San Francisco Chronicle - Chuy Varela
Los Lobos don't bang you over the head with politics here but they definitely leave you with plenty to think about.

This is what happens when five guys create a magical sound, then stick together for thirty years to see how far it can take them.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/12/2006
  • Label: Hollywood Records
  • UPC: 720616266125
  • Catalog Number: 162661
  • Sales rank: 14,620

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 The Valley (4:33)
  2. 2 Hold On (4:30)
  3. 3 The Road to Gila Bend (4:41)
  4. 4 Chuco's Cumbia (3:32)
  5. 5 If You Were Only Here Tonight (2:54)
  6. 6 Luna (3:27)
  7. 7 Two Dogs and a Bone (2:26)
  8. 8 Little Things (4:49)
  9. 9 The City (4:21)
  10. 10 Don't Ask Why (5:25)
  11. 11 No Puedo Mas (4:59)
  12. 12 Free Up (3:36)
  13. 13 The Town (7:19)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Los Lobos Primary Artist
Steve Berlin Group Member
David Hidalgo Group Member
Conrad Lozano Group Member
Cesar Rosas Group Member
Louie Pérez Group Member
Cougar Estrada Percussion, Drums
Technical Credits
David Hidalgo Engineer
Los Lobos Producer
Jaime Hernandez Illustrations
Robert Carranza Engineer
Louie Pérez Art Direction
Richard Barron Engineer
Jeff Smith Art Direction
Stephen Marsh Mastering
Al Quattrocchi Art Direction
Chris Tetzeli Management
Mark Johnson Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
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    Posted April 27, 2009

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    Posted May 19, 2009

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