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Los FabuLocos

Los FabuLocos

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Album Review

Tex-Mex is a recognized subgenre of Americana that features rocking blues mixed with accordion and R&B. Los Fabulocos, however, refer to their music as Cali-Mex, yet the only difference between the two seems to be the state referenced in the prefix. Led by the accordion and vocals of ex-Blazers Jesus Cuevas, this is all very much in the vein of Sir Doug Sahm with the primary difference being Kid Ramos' driving guitar replacing Augie Meyers' pulsing keyboards. It's a colorful stew that never disappoints, even if it isn't as unhinged as you might expect from the "loco" in their name. Imagine a combination of the Fabulous Thunderbirds (with whom Ramos played) and the Hacienda Brothers and you're close to the soulful sound of this quartet. Cuevas is a good but not great vocalist who tries his best yet just doesn't have a distinctive or powerful enough voice to push these songs over the top. For his part, Ramos sure has the chops, but primarily stays in the background adding flavor, only occasionally taking the spotlight. When he does step it up with reverb-heavy picking on the hot sauce instrumental "Burning the Chicken," it's a taste of what we're missing on the rest of the disc. Clearly he is here as support for the Texican approach of the group, which features the accordion of Cuevas more than Ramos' bluesy guitar. The set is a solid mix of originals and covers, the latter providing the disc's highlights. Tunes from Huey "Piano" Smith ("Educated Fool"), Rockin' Dopsie ("You Ain't Nothin' But Fine," also famously done by the Thunderbirds), Clifton Chenier ("All Night Long") and Lloyd Price ("Just Because") jump out due to their familiarity and strong performances. But Cuevas' originals, such as the midtempo "If You Know" and the bluesy romp "Day After Day," are nearly as good. Fans of the style will flock to this since there just isn't much Tex, err Cali-Mex music made these days, especially with the talent of this lineup. It sounds to be live in the studio, but you get the feeling that Los Fabulocos' home is really on-stage and this is only a warm-up for a typically sweaty show.

Biography

Formed: 2007 in East Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Los Fabulocos are a band fronted by two roots music greats who have introduced a new sound they call Cali-Mex, a fusion of blues, rock, R&B, cancionero, and Chicano sounds that reflects the myriad music influences that come from being part of California's Mexican-American community. Los Fabulocos were founded by Kid Ramos (born David Ramos), a celebrated blues guitarist whose résumé includes stints with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, the James Harman Band, and the Mannish Boys, as well as recording...
Full Bio
Los FabuLocos, Los FabuLocos
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