Baja Marimba Band

Watch Out!

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Watch Out! was the Baja Marimba Band's highest-charting album, and though the group's appearance and the record's title imply a rollicking good time, the disc is a fairly typical representation of the band's trademark "lazy Latin" sound. A few tracks, such as the energetic "Gay Ranchero" and cartoon-like version of "Ghost Riders in the Sky," almost catch fire, but most of the performances show very little evidence of the passion, urgency, or party spirit that characterizes "real" Latin music. Bandleader/first call L.A. studio musician Julius Wechter is, without a doubt, a fine marimbaist, but, like on all Baja Marimba Band albums, he rarely stretches out, leading one to wonder what he could've done in a more challenging setting. Occasionally, like on the lilting "Tomorrow Will Be Better," the band transcends its limited framework and turns in a sweetly moving interpretation. Overall, though, even fans of the Baja Marimba Band would be hard-pressed not to admit that much of the music here is little more than bland cocktail lounge jazz and elevator music. This being the case, the over-the-top Mexican outfits and whooping and hollering take on a comical bent that, in retrospect, could also be interpreted as propagation of racist stereotypes for material gain. Watch Out! is, however, a good place to start if one wants to explore the Baja Marimba Band or enjoys easy listening music with a slight Latin feel.

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