[10 December 2013]
There’s this stupid Pace salsa commercial, some version of which has been running for years, that makes fun of a dude because his condiment comes from New York City. The authentic cowboys in the ad gawk in disbelief, as if modern San Antonio, Texas, shares more in common with the old southwest than it does the Big Apple. These days, as Los Lobos will tell you, the ‘hood is where you find it—whether it be East L.A. or Manhattan’s City Winery.
The Latin soul roots rockin’ Lobos picked New York as the site to celebrate their 40th anniversary as a band with original members David Hildago, Cesar Rosas, Louie Perez, Steve Berlin and Conrad Lozano, and new bloods Enrique Gonzalez and Camilo Quinones. Disconnected in New York City is available as a standard CD, a deluxe 2 CD/DVD package and on vinyl to promote going out on tour again. This review addresses the standard CD version, 12 hot cuts that can make spicy salsa seem mild by comparison, especially on such tracks as “Chuco’s Cumbia” and “Maria Christina”. Even slower cuts, like “Tears of God” seem to fester in a slow burn.
However, the release suffers from the usual flaws of live discs. As a whole it comes off best as a souvenir of a show one did not attend and a document of a how good the band is playing for an audience. Ending with an encore of the band’s biggest hit, a remake of “La Bamba” melded with “Good Lovin’” made famous by New York’s Young Rascals comes off as a bit manipulative, but no doubt the crowd enjoyed it. Los Lobos is an outstanding group with a wonderfully large catalogue. They can do no wrong, but they could have done better here by taking more chances.