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Los Lobos: Disconnected in New York City

Doug Collette By

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Recorded within the intimate confines of the Big Apple's City Winery in December 2012, Disconnected in New York City finds Los Lobos' simultaneously recognizing, anticipating and celebrating its fortieth anniversary as a band. Little wonder the performances are so sparkling on the three discs within the 'Deluxe Edition,' potent beyond their somewhat abbreviated duration.

The main recording is also available as a single cd, and carries comparably more force by dint of its length alone: a baker's dozen cuts totaling approximately an hour's duration. Los Lobos' customarily impeccable sound quality highlights the purity of the acoustic textures (as opposed to electric, hence this title) on vintage tunes such as "The Neighborhood," as well as the title song from its most recent studio album Tin Can Trust (Shout Factory, 2011). Meanwhile the rootsy, broadly eclectic closing medley, comprised of "La Bamba"/Good Lovin,'" has a deceptive power that might, if edited as such, also act as powerful transition to similar content, as contained on the second CD in this package.

But the overall running time of those four tracks, running only slightly over twenty minutes, unfortunately comes off as something of an afterthought rather than the uplifting climax to an exceptional Lobos performance. That's despite the inclusion of the Grateful Dead's "Bertha" preceding a frenetic "Mas Y Mas," the propulsion of which arises from Lobos' fluidity as a band, including the rhythm work of percussionist Camilo Quinones and drummer Enrique Gonzalez: theirs is a rousing set of rounds at the conclusion.

The song selection over the course of the two CD's suggests Los Lobos' eclectic range, while the DVD of concert footage focuses on the traditional roots of this band from East Los Angeles. The CD and DVD selections are appropriate in the context of their history and the milestone this release is meant, at least in part, to document. However, the limited content though of the five performances, whether in the form of the melancholy "Tears of God" or the chugging partially plugged-in mode on "Set Me Free (Rosa Lee)," only whets the appetite for more Los Lobos this soulful and authentic.

Though the cumulative impact of Disconnected in New York might well have been heightened by interviews with band members on the DVD or printed content in an accompanying booklet within the triple-fold digi-pak, Los Lobos, in contrast to its other most notable releases (the comprehensive box El Cancionero Mas y Mas (Rhino, 2000) or the various anniversary packages of Kiko in 2012) prefer to let their music speak for them and, as is usually the case with this band, it is earthy, elegant and articulate.

Track Listing: CD 1: Intro; The Neighborhood; Oh Yeah; Chuco's Cumbia; Tears of God; Venganza de los Polados; Tin Can Trust; I Got To Let You Know; Maria Christina; Malaque; Little Things; Set Me Free (Rosa Lee); La Bamba / Good Lovin'. CD 2: Hardest Time; Bertha; Don't Worry Baby; Mas Y Mas. DVD: Chuco's Cumbia; Tears of God; Set Me Free (Rosa Lee); La Venganza de Los Pelados; Malaque.

Personnel: David Hidalgo: vocals, guitar, accordion, fiddle, requinto jarocho; Cesar Rosas: vocals, guitar, bajo Sexto; Louie Pérez: vocals, guitar, drums,jarana huasteca Conrad Lozano: vocals, bass, guitarron; Steve Berlin:keyboards, saxophones; Bugs Gonzalez: drums: Camilo Quinones: percussion.

Title: Disconnected in New York City | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Concord Music Group

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