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Review: Los Fabulocos Featuring Kid Ramos, Dos

Los Fabulocos Featuring Kid Ramos
Dos
Delta Groove DGPCD142

Los Fabulocos’s debut self-titled album was stunningly good, and this follow-up is its equal. The main difference is that Dos emphasizes their original material. The East L.A. group originally consisted of singer/accordionist Jesus Cuevas and drummer Mike Molina, who are both ex-members of The Blazers, and bassist James Barrios. A few years later, veteran blues guitarist Kid Ramos, who has played with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, James Harmon, and The Mannish Boys (besides having released four solo albums), was added to the group. The label refers to the group’s music as Cali-Mex, which is really a Southwestern blend of 50s rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, and traditional Mexican sounds that encompass conjunto and polka music. One track, namely “The Vibe,” sounds very much like zydeco.

Most of the songs were written by Cuevas and sung in English, but the Spanish songs, such as Lalo Guerrero’s “Los Chucos Suaves” and Enrique Sanchez Alonso’s “Une Pura Y Dos Con Sal,” are equally compelling. Little Richard’s “Keep A Knockin” is performed in bilingual format. This Americana/Latino roots music has it all: strong vocals, virtuoso musicianship, varied tempos and arrangements, and good songs. Both the group’s eponymously-titled debut and this sequel are two of the best Tex-Mex, or rather Cali-Mex, albums of recent years.

—Paul-Emile Comeau (Comeauville, NS, Canada)

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