From collections of Disney songs to old rock’n’roll covers if you need a band to deliver the goods – and reflect their own unique skill and flavour all the while then Los Lobos is a safe bet. So it’s no real surprise they’ve released my favourite new Christmas album for the season this year.
The absolute highlight is the old 1950s novelty tune, , ¿Dónde Está Santa Claus?, delivered here with some of the wide-eyed wonder of Jonathan Richman and all of the slick groove economy of Los Lobos’ finest work. It’s miles from the previously best-known rendition by 12-yo Augie Rios.
A rousing Feliz Navidad is like a campfire-closer, but in and around those two it’s to a range of Central, South and North American standards and to a brand new Lobos original, Christmas and You. It has the feel and tempo of their La Bamba-soundtrack hit, Donna and brings added sincerity to a collection that also celebrates songs from Freddy Fender (Christmas Time in Texas) and a fabulous slice of 70s salsa in La Murga.
From traditional to original and always with that indelible spirit and inimitable sound, Los Lobos achieves the Christmas Album’s highest honour I think: They’ve created something here that I can imagine listening to at almost any point of the year. For in truth this is just a great new album of performances by one of the world’s greatest bands. It just doubles as seasonal fare so you can get away with playing it during the silly season to appease those Christmas-music loving relatives…
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