Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Album Review: Los Lobos - Native Sons

Los Lobos
Native Sons
**** out of *****

When an established act decides to release an album of covers it is usually not to be taken all that seriously, a treat for their fans and a stop gap release for the band until inspiration truly strikes. However in the hands of one of the most underrated bands going, Los Lobos new cover album of songs written by Los Angeles artists, Native Sons, is a unique tribute to their hometown. 

The twelve covers here range from well known tunes to lesser known artists who many listeners will be discovering for the first time and in the talented Los Lobos hands, each achieves a high level of connection. The rhythm and blues opener brings the horns and energy of Thee Midnighters to the forefront as "Love Special Delivery" pumps, kicking off the album with aplomb.  

The roots rock outfit deliver a mix of styles, they get their garage rocking '50's swing kicking with "Father John", "Flat Top Joint" and "Los Chucos Suaves" which cooks with a searing sax while more psychedelic covers spring fourth via Buffalo Springfield's "Bluebird/For What It's Worth". The flexible band get jazzy on Percy Mayfield's "Never No More" and "Dichoso" from Willie Bobo, before putting their touch on smooth SoCal pop from Jackson Browne "Jamaica Say You Will" and The Beach Boys "Sail On, Sailor".   

The lone original in the mix is the title track, a relaxed shuffle that cools things out before the extended take on War's "The World is a Ghetto" helped out by Little Willie G. and Barrence Whitfield on vocals. The record wraps with the sweet doo-wop inspired instrumental cover of "Where Lovers Go" from The Jaguars.   

This collection finds Los Lobos delivering a true love letter to the city that shaped their band, inspirations and sounds. Native Sons elevates common cover albums as Los Lobos continues there dynamic music making. 
Support the band, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:

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