Los Lobos – The Neighborhood
1992’s “Kiko” has often been regarded as Los Lobos’ finest moments. The album that takes the tejano folk/rock band and morphs them into the seasoned, Tex-mex rock band hitting their songwriting stride. But for me, "The Neighborhood" is that album.
It was released in 1990 and when I first heard ‘Down By The Riverside” I couldn’t believe it was Los Lobos. It didn’t sound anything like the La Bamba band we’d all come to know over the past few years. The production was light years beyond the 80’s sound they’d suffered from on the earlier records. It was a grittier and more soulful than anything they’d done before and those songs!
The songwriting is fantastic and you can tell the band is really getting into it. The 50’s sound is gone and the album sounds modern, yet very familiar at the same time. From the funky blues of “Down On The Riverbed” to the soulful lullaby of “Little John Of God they cover it all. But they pull them all off perfectly and no else but David Hidalgo can make a lyric like, “A red tailed hawk circles overheard” sound so cool. This is also where they turn into a kick ass rock band!
David Hidalgo is also one of my favorite guitar players and this is the first album where he really starts to shine. His recorded sound finally caught up with his playing. He's got some killer riffs in songs like, "I Walk Alone" and "Deep Dark Hole" and the guitar solo in the title track is one of the finest on record.
No question “Kiko” is a great album, but for my money “The Neighborhood” is even better!