Los Lobos do Waits, Costello, Blasters !!

LOS LOBOS have been my most constantly favorite band for the past 20 years, ever since my brother Gabriel (seen here with Blasters' head honcho Phil Alvin) bought ".. And A Time to Dance" in the mid 80s. My love and admiration for them has only grown since then, as I heard them go from rockabilly to norteño songs to swamp blues to bolero to mexican sones to their bugged out Mitchell Froom experiments to mex. style cumbia and back again.

In 2004, to celebrate their 30th anniversary as a band, they released "The Ride", a collaboration with some of their musical friends and idols, including new takes on old tunes from the Lobos' songbook.
At the same time, they put out a "companion" EP of them doing covers of songs originally recorded by their guest artists. This EP was called "Ride This".
In an article in ICE magazine, they discuss the "Ride" project:

LOUIS PEREZ: "That song ("A Matter of Time") was written by David and me sitting face-to-face with a pencil and guitar at a time when we were much like the characters in the story… we had toured for [Los Lobos’s 1983 debut] …And a Time to Dance, and we were at a crossroads: ‘Are we just going to be the best bar band in the country, or are we going to follow our hearts and do something that’s really important to us?’ When I got the track back from Elvis, I was speechless."

"To walk into Cesar’s house and see Rubén Blades standing there in the kitchen, or to drive up in front of the house and have Richard Thompson pull up behind me in a mini-van… it was almost surreal… these people are our heroes."

STEVE BERLIN: "We sent Tom a rough demo and he said, ‘I love this track and want to collaborate, but I want to do it my way.’ He demanded that no one else be there, and he recorded it on this archaic, multi-track cassette… so we had to find one of these machines — of which there aren’t many left."... "The funny thing Tom said was, ‘You know, I’ve always wanted to sing in Spanish. My dad spoke Spanish.’ So we were, like, ‘Great! Awesome!’ We got it back and it was just Tom chanting ‘Quítate’ [‘move over’]. That was the extent of his Spanish. And then Louie had the idea of adding Marta to it… she’s one of my favorite singers. Then Francisco Torres put his trombone thing on there… he lives right near Cesar, so he came down at 1:00 a.m. one night and did it."

Here are my favorite songs from "The Ride", and, when possible, the quid pro quo "Ride This" tributes, plus a couple of odds and ends:

- QUÍTATE (Tom Waits with Marta Gonzales of LA group Quetzal, from "The Ride")
- JOCKEY FULL OF BOURBON (Los Lobos covering Tom Waits, from "Ride This")

- MATTER OF TIME (Los Lobos covered by Elvis Costello, from "The Ride")
- UNCOMPLICATED (Los Lobos covering Elvis Costello, from "Ride This")

- YA SE VA (Rubén Blades, from "The Ride")

- SOMEDAY (Los Lobos covered by Mavis Staples, from "The Ride")

and for lagniappe,

- I GOT LOADED (live on BBC radio, May 11, 1985)

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