(Delta Groove Music)
Let time take its path, and simplicities start falling away, at least for the most part. We know there are people out there who use the phrase “Latin music” as if that explains everything because there are people who similarly think that everyone south of the border–from Tijuana down to Tierra del Fuego–is the same. Pity them.
So when the veteran musicians in Los Fabulocos kick off their appropriately-titled second album with an easygoing groove, blues licks and accordion melodies, plus the voice of Jesse Cuevas that seems perfect for singing classic country or soul as much as a conjunto standard, better just to call them another great East LA band. The OC connection comes courtesy of the guy on guitar–Kid Ramos came to fame via the James Harman Band, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and plenty other blues-rock efforts, and it sounds as though he has been doing this his whole life without a care.
Peeling out a great solo on “The Vibe” and “Keep a Knockin” seems like the kind of thing he was almost made to do–not to mention the various performances he provides on bajo sexto–but the key thing about Dos is that it's clearly a band effort rather than some sort of showcase scenario for Ramos or any of the other band members. “I Never Thought” busts out a perfect slow tearjerker ballad, with Cuevas in especially good voice, while “My Brother's Keeper” gives the whole band a chance to strut on a full-on classic-rock stomp. It's about three-to-one English-to-Spanish lyrics, and that just makes it even more SoCal, though songs such as “Una Pura Y Dos Con Sal” seem better for San Antonio or Monterrey.
It's important to realize Los Fabulocos are damn good at what they do, but not world-beating superstars–Dos doesn't reinvent anything, and it's not out to tear your head off or fire up a modern dance floor in Vegas. It's not going to be on cutting-edge year-end lists. But it's just the type of thing you want to hear blasting at a house party to make the drinks taste better, the conversations flow easier and the dancing hotter.
You can give an ear to some of Los Fabulocos' work here.