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Los Lobos: “Evangeline” and “Will the Wolf Survive?”

A blogger/musician named Noah Baerman posted, a couple of years ago, a nice essay on Los Lobos. He also offered his thoughts on the band’s ten best songs. Here is how the post starts:

Do you have any bands or artists who you just love even though they’re not very popular (thus requiring some effort to get and stay hip to their music) or even particularly cool (so, for example, your friends won’t laud your sophisticated tastes as a result)? I have a few of those and Los Lobos is high on the list.

The group began in the late 1970s, a quartet of Mexican-Americans Cesar Rosas, David Hidalgo (both guitarists and vocalists, though Hidalgo also plays violin, accordion, lap steel and other things), bassist Conrad Lozano and drummer Louie Perez. Saxophonist and keyboardist Steve Berlin, the one gringo in the band, was gradually brought into the fold, becoming a full member in the mid-1980s. Aside from Perez transitioning gradually away from drums to being a rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist (replaced behind the kit for touring/recording, most significantly by “unofficial band member” Cougar Estrada), there have been no real personnel changes. Having that kind of stability and longevity is unusual, especially for a group (unlike U2, for example) that is not making gobs of money. For example, although the bulk of their songs are co-written by Hidalgo and Perez (with Rosas writing a significant number as well) all five take equal shares of the publishing proceeds.

Here is the band’s big hit, its cover of La Bamba.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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