Thursday, February 04, 2010

Los Lonely Boys - 1969 (2009)

Forgiven, Los Lonely Boys third full length studio CD was loaded with more great roots-rock that continued to cement their reputation as one of our best current American bands. One of its highlights included a cover of The Spencer Davis Group/Chicago Transit Authority hit "I'm a Man." It showcased a lot of what the trio does best. I don't know if that song became the band's inspiration to record more classic rock oldies but if an educated guess has to be made I'd say it laid the foundation that eventually gave birth to 1969, a five track EP full of songs from that great year in rock 'n roll history.

On Santana's "Evil Ways," a song that is perfect for these Texans, the brothers created a whole new groove with their usually fine harmony vocals and guitarist Henry Garza's blazing solo. On "Polk Salad Annie" they can't match Tony Joe White's deep baritone voice that was a huge part of the song's appeal but Henry again rides the coda into the sunset with another powerful, bluesy solo. It may be impossible to capture the raw power or the emotion that was always a part of Jim Morrison's singing with The Doors but on "Roadhouse Blues" Los Lonely Boys come mighty close. They also borrow part of the medley from side two of The Beatles' Abbey Road to re-invent "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window." Finally, Buddy Holly's "Well Alright," later covered by Blind Faith, rounds out the set. It too receives the group's funky treatment.

All five are good songs whose originals are hard to top but if you've never heard the old classics you may think that the covers featured on 1969 are ideal. In the end, the versions you prefer may depend solely on which ones are the most familiar to your ears.

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