When you go east of Los Angeles, you eventually come to East Los Angeles (as one would expect). And if you go a little further to the east, you come to Whittier, CA, home of Los Fabulocos, a Latin blues/rock quartet comprised of Kid Ramos (guitar), Jesus Cuevas (vocals/accordion), James Barrios (bass), and Mike Molina (drummer).
It's probably difficult for Los Fabulocos to shake comparisons to their neighbors due west, Los Lobos, but it's never bad to be compared to such a great band. Regardless, Los Fabulocos are doing just fine on their own, as one can hear from their recently released second album, Dos (Their first being a self-titled release).
Clocking in just above 45 minutes, Dos's dozen tracks are full of variety. Some of the songs rock, some are for dancing; some are in Spanish, others English. No matter what the style, they all keep your toe tapping to Los Fabulocos Cali-Mex sound.
What stands out the most in my first few listens has been the guitar playing of Ramos and the accordion provided by Cuevas. Ramos's guitar only takes center-stage when asked to, and does so splendidly when called upon. It's evident Ramos (formerly of the James Harman Band) could be the dominant force on this album if he wanted to be, but the songs are better off this way. I assume Ramos gets a lot more chances to show his skills during shows, and I would certainly welcome them in that setting. Cuevas's accordion stands out more, and generally does so nicely. I certainly enjoy some good accordion, and Cuevas definitely delivers in that regard, however I did find there to be too much at times and would like to hear some of the other pieces stand out instead. Still for the lack of good accordion you hear nowadays, I'll take too much over too little any day.
In the end, Dos is a strong album of Cali-Mex blues/rockin goodness. It has a classic sound that reaches its ethnic roots as well as classic rock, and it's a fun listen. Often times it made me want to dance (and that's not easy to do). And if you like what you hear of Los Fabulocos, I have to imagine you will like what you see and experience live from them as well based on what YouTube has available. Do check out Los Fabulocos, especially for those of us missing a warmer time of year.
This writer rates "Dos" 41/2 stars out of 5.
Los FabuLocos take the stage Aug. 13th 2011
at Nick's Taste of Texas in Covina, CA
Show starts at 9:00 PM
$15 at the door