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One Time One Night: Live Recordings, Vol.1

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Album Review

Los Lobos now have presented three different aspects of their music in the three live albums they have released in successive years on their own Los Lobos Records label. The first, Acoustic en Vivo, was an "unplugged" collection of their Mexican and Spanish-language favorites. The second, Chuy's Tape Box, Vol. 1, spotlighted a specific show, January 14, 1984, in Santa Barbara, CA, as the group was on the cusp of national success. This one, One Time One Night: Live Recordings, Vol. 1, takes off in another direction. As with Acoustic en Vivo, no date for the performances is provided, but the set list suggests 1996 as a likely year. That's because six of the 11 songs come from Los Lobos' 1996 album Colossal Head. That album, like its predecessor, Kiko (from which the song "Just a Man" appears here), was co-produced by the band and Mitchell Froom (Froom's associate Tchad Blake also earned a co-producing credit on Colossal Head). Froom has a distinctive production style characterized by a complex percussion sound that some listeners admire and others deplore. Here, for better or worse, it is absent; the album was produced by bandmember Cesar Rosas. Rosas has de-emphasized the live aspect of the disc, generally mixing down and quickly cutting off applause at the end of the tracks, when it is audible at all. So, much of the album comes across as what the Kiko/Colossal Head music might have sounded like without Froom. Not surprisingly, what that sounds like is the pre-Froom Los Lobos, a tight R&B/rock & roll band steeped in tradition but able to put its own spin on familiar styles. Rosas also has included some earlier material from the albums How Will the Wolf Survive? and By the Light of the Moon, particularly his own vocal showcases, and they mix in well with the newer songs. The stand-out number is "Just a Man," here extended to nearly nine-and-a-half minutes and turned into a blues workout. For many, Los Lobos took a left turn when they started working with Froom in the studio. This album demonstrates that, at least in concert, they continued to go straight ahead.

Biography

Formed: 1973 in East Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most acclaimed American bands of the 1980s and '90s, Los Lobos were seasoned musical veterans with nearly 15 years of experience under their belts when they scored their first hit in 1987 with a cover of Richie Valens' "La Bamba." Though their time as pop stars was short, the group -- who enjoyed calling themselves "just another band from East L.A." -- won over critics and a legion of loyal fans with their bracing mixture of rock, blues, Tex-Mex, country, R&B, and Mexican folk sounds,...
Full Bio
One Time One Night: Live Recordings, Vol.1, Los Lobos
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  • $10.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: May 26, 2007

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