Wolf Tracks: The Best of Los Lobos

Wolf Tracks: The Best of Los Lobos

4.5 2
by Los Lobos
     
 

East L.A.'s most enduring musical purveyors have been churning out their singular brand of barrio roots-rock for more than three decades now -- a span that's lovingly documented on this career-spanning retrospective. Unlike the two box sets previously issued in their name, Wolf Tracks is an all-killer, no-filler set that's as easy for the casual fan to digest…  See more details below

Overview

East L.A.'s most enduring musical purveyors have been churning out their singular brand of barrio roots-rock for more than three decades now -- a span that's lovingly documented on this career-spanning retrospective. Unlike the two box sets previously issued in their name, Wolf Tracks is an all-killer, no-filler set that's as easy for the casual fan to digest as it is for the diehard to groove to. Naturally, the 20-tune collection includes the Ritchie Valens covers -- "La Bamba" and "Come On, Let's Go" -- that provided the band its entrée into the pop mainstream. It also dips heavily into their pool of old-school rock barnburners, highlighted by "Shakin' Shakin' Shakes" and "Jenny's Got a Pony." But the band's real wild card -- one that's played to perfection here -- is its ability to adapt traditional Mexican sounds for the rock fan's ear without dumbing things down in the least. That's the key to the universal appeal of songs such as the swaying "La Pistola y El Corazon" and the waltz-time "Volver Volver," presented here in a live version recorded in 1987. And when those two approaches meld -- as they do on the previously unreleased, squeezebox-driven "Border Town Girl" -- the party vibe is so strong that it's easy to believe closing time will never roll around.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Ten years after their breakthrough 1983 EP And a Time to Dance, Los Lobos released their first retrospective, the double-disc Just Another Band from East L.A. Seven years after that, the career-spanning four-disc box El Cancionero: Mas y Mas appeared, so there hasn't been a shortage of comprehensive Los Lobos collections. What has been missing is a succinct overview, designed for neophytes and casual fans, and that finally arrives in the form of Warner/Rhino's 2006 set, Wolf Tracks: The Best of Los Lobos. At 20 songs, Wolf Tracks is generous, but with a band with such a long, diverse body of work, there will inevitably be some notable songs missing, and there are: "I Got Loaded," "River of Fools," "Tears of God," "The Neighborhood," and "Angels with Dirty Faces" aren't here, nor is anything from 1996's love-it-or-hate-it art-rock opus, Colossal Head, nor are the charting radio singles "Down on the Riverbed," "Bertha," or "Reva's House." But if you're the kind of listener that feels strongly about these omissions, then Wolf Tracks is not for you -- choose either of the previous comps or stick with the original albums instead. For everybody else, Wolf Tracks is not only a sharp, concise chronicle of a unique American rock & roll band, it's a hell of a lot of fun, too. This hints at the breadth and depth of Los Lobos' music, touching on their corridos while emphasizing their foundation in old-time rock & roll, while hitting all their biggest songs along the way: "Don't Worry Baby," "Will the Wolf Survive?," "One Time One Night," "Shakin' Shakin' Shakes," "Set Me Free (Rosa Lee)," plus the Ritchie Valens' covers "La Bamba" and "Come On, Let's Go." There's enough terrific music here to spark interest in the rest of the band's catalog, but it's satisfying enough as a hits comp to satiate the needs of a casual fan -- a trick that not every hits package can pull off, but that's exactly what Wolf Tracks: The Best of Los Lobos does.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/14/2006
Label:
Rhino
UPC:
0081227329426
catalogNumber:
73294
Rank:
1709

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lobos   Primary Artist
John Hiatt   Vocals
Jim Keltner   Percussion,Drums
Alex Acuña   Percussion
Steve Berlin   Organ,Synthesizer,Flute,Harmonica,Percussion,Piano,Keyboards,Baritone Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Clavinet,Melodica,Sax (Sopranino),Group Member
Victor Bisetti   Percussion
T Bone Burnett   Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Mickey Curry   Drums
Anton Fier   Drums
Mitchell Froom   Keyboards
David Hidalgo   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Percussion,Piano,Violin,Accordion,Drums,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Koto,Guitarron,Tres,Bajo Sexto,tiple,6-string bass,Lap Steel Guitar,Requinto,Jarocho Harp,Guitar (Nylon String),Hidalguera,Group Member
Conrad Lozano   Electric Bass,Vocals,Guitarron,Fretless Bass Guitar,Acoustic Bass,Group Member
Cesar Rosas   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Vocals,12-string Guitar,Vihuela,Bajo Sexto,cuatro,Huapanguera,Guitar (Nylon String),Group Member
Pete Thomas   Drums
Ron Tutt   Drums
Louie Pérez   Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Jarana,Quinto
Louis "Chickie" Perez   Banjo,Guitar,Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Jarana,Vihuela,Quinto,Guitar (Tenor),Fraustophone,Hidalguera,Group Member

Technical Credits

Guadalupe Trigo   Composer
James Austin   Liner Notes
Steve Berlin   Producer,Audio Production,Annotation
Tchad Blake   Producer,Engineer
T Bone Burnett   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Bryan Cole   Contributor
Mitchell Froom   Producer
David Hidalgo   Composer
Larry Hirsch   Producer,Engineer
Bill Inglot   Producer
Keith Keller   Engineer
Mark Linett   Engineer
Lobos   Producer,Executive Producer
Dave McNair   Engineer
Gary Peterson   Annotation
Leroy Preston   Composer
Cesar Rosas   Composer
Rudy Rosas   Contributor
Bob Schaper   Engineer
Ritchie Valens   Arranger,Composer
Chris Morris   Liner Notes
Fernando Z. Maldonado   Composer
Robert Sebree   Cover Photo
Tony N. Todaro   Contributor
César Suedan   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Chris Tetzeli   Executive Producer,Management
Masaki Koike   Art Direction
Vincent Hidalgo   Contributor
Emily Bryan   Contributor
Nathan Carrillo   Contributor
Denise Hidalgo   Contributor
Sarah Hirsch   Contributor
Miguel Larios   Contributor
Christina Lozano   Contributor
Alicia MacKay   Contributor
Vianna Mendoza   Contributor
Christin OBrien   Contributor
Andria Parra   Contributor
Nicole Parra   Contributor
Matthew Pérez   Contributor
Victoria Rosas   Contributor

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Customer Reviews

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Wolf Tracks: The Best of Los Lobos 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Where does one start with the Los Lobos catalogue? There have been three Los Lobos "Best Of's" (a 4 disc set, a 2 disc set and this single disc) and, although they all give a fair overview of the band, I would suggest that if you are hard-core Los Lobos fan you probably own most of this material already. Los Lobos have been releasing albums now for 30 years and have gone through a number of stylistic changes in this time. They started off as a traditional Mexican music band and have moved through country, blues, atmospheric groove, rock, rock and roll, R&B and pop. What has distinguished them throughout has been superb musicianship, songwriting, lyrics and vocals and an unbending desire to release albums that satisfied the band before a record company. All this has led to many vastly different albums some of which may alienate the casual listener. For example, compare "Will The Wolf Survive" with "KIKO", "La Pistol e La Corezon" with "Colossal Head" or "Papa's Dream" (a superb children's album) with "The Town and the City" and you will see the diversity of the band. This all leads to the difficulty in compiling a definitive "best of" collection for the casual listener. One may love the traditional Mexican stuff but not the hard-core, groove based material or visa versa. Wolf Tracks does a reasonable job of condensing the Los Lobos catalogue into a one disc overview and, as such, is a pretty good place to start. If you like all the music here then I urge you to go get as many albums as you can. However if you like the more accessible material, start with "Will the Wolf Survive" and "By the Light of the Moon" then move forward with care. If you like the rock material, you can't get any better that "The Town and the City" and the previous album, "The Ride". If you like the groove based material, go for "KIKO" and move on from there, including the Latin Playboys albums. Los Lobos have been releasing some of the best American/Mexican roots music available for nye on 30 years and the journey, from start to now, has been exhilirating, if frustrating at times. "Wolf Tracks" is as good a place to start as anywhere and if you do decide to go the journey you will be richly rewarded with some of the finest roots music of the last 30 years.
mid More than 1 year ago
These guys are great. This is a good collection of their work. They are so diversified. Rock, blues, jazz, tex-mex, latino it's all good. They're even better live.