The mid-to-late 90s found Los Lobos’ creativity spilling over into a series of side projects, off shoots and alternate bands. Here are 4 releases from ’98-’99 to give you an idea of what Los Lobos were up to when they weren’t being Los Lobos.
Soul Disguise (1999)
The only solo release from Los Lobos guitarist/vocalist Cesar Rosas is a roots rock throwback boasting a cleaner, more traditionally produced sound than much of Lobos’ late 90s work since Colossal Head. LL fans will hear plenty of familiar elements, from dirty blues riffs (“Tough To Handle”) to accordion-fueled Tex-Mex (“Angelino”) to retro soul/R&B (“E. Los Ballad #13″). Listen to “Tough To Handle.”
Strange, slow lo-fi blues album from Los Lobos guitarist/vocalist David Hidalgo and Mike Halby (ex-Canned Heat & John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers). Halby handles the vocals here, with an odd, muddy style that often sounds like someone’s thumb is dragging the turntable. Mark II Lobos fans will no doubt dig the on-the-fly atmospherics and no-fuss anti-blues feel. Produced by Hidalgo. Listen to “No Chance.”
A cool Bizarro world supergroup, featuring David Hidalgo & Louie Perez, along with producers/musicians Tchad Blake and Mitchell Froom. Their second release, Dose, picks up where Los Lobos’ restless late 90s experiments left off, with clanging, trash can percussion, barbed-wire riffs and a pleasing array of slightly psychedelic found sounds, percolating rhythms and raw invention. Latin Playboys is where Hidalgo & Perez took ideas that were a little too far out for Los Lobos. Listen to “Locoman.”
Los Super Seven
Los Super Seven (1998)
This one is an actual supergroup, featuring a host of well known names from the Latin genre. Alongside Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo & Cesar Rosas are Freddy Fender, Joe Ely, Flaco Jiminez, Rick Trevino, Ruben Ramos and others performing sincere renditions of both traditional and original Mexicali material. Lobos’ Steve Berlin produces and provides LSS with a rich, genuine taste from south of the border. This is the first of three albums from Los Super Seven. Listen to “La Morena.”