Music review: Los Lobos 'Kiko' 20th Anniversary Edition

Los Lobos' finest album gets a deluxe 20{+t}{+h} anniversary repackaging.
BY GENE TRIPLETT Entertainment Editor etriplett@opubco.com Published: August 24, 2012
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ROCK

Los Lobos ‘Kiko' 20th Anniversary Edition/‘Kiko Live' (Shout! Factory)

Contrary to the modest title of their 1978 debut album and a subsequent box set of their best work, Los Lobos were never “Just Another Band from East L.A.”

The 20th anniversary repackaging of “Kiko” contains ample evidence of that.

So does “Kiko Live,” which captures the band performing their 1992 breakthrough album in its entirety at the House of Blues in San Diego on Feb. 24, 2006.

Produced in collaboration with Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Richard Thompson, American Music Club) songwriters David Hidalgo and Louie Perez turned in some of their most striking and ambitious work, combining their usual influences of roots, blues, Tex-Mex, traditional Mexican folk and Richie Valens-style classic rock 'n' roll with richly textured instrumentation and haunting melodies and lyrics on such tunes as the wistful “Kiko and the Lavender Moon” and the searing, guitar-driven, restless, tribally temperamental “Wake Up Delores.”

In addition to the original 16 tracks, the anniversary edition includes five bonus selections, including a rollicking, fuzz-toned demo version of “Whiskey Trail,” tight live renditions of “Peace,” “Arizona Skies/Borinquen Patria Mia” and “Kiko” that put you right in the room with the band, and an English-language alternate version of the melancholy “Rio De Tenampa.”

The separate companion album “Kiko Live” contains a superbly recorded concert version of all 16 songs, never before released or broadcast, plus interviews with the band and others involved in the making of the studio album. “Kiko Live” is also available on DVD and a two-disc Blu-ray / CD set.

— Gene Triplett


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