Los Bukis

Casas de Carton

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One of the earliest releases by this group and probably one of the earliest still circulating on CD. The successful cuts are available elsewhere, but it's the earnest grittiness of the whole that makes this brief disc a keeper. The sound is a far cry from the '80s ballads that sustained the Bukis' superstardom (by then they were, for all intents and purposes, the backing band for lead singer/songwriter Marco Antonio Solis), but it has aged oh so much better. Here, the sheer charm of a lo-fi mistakes-and-all recording, and the starkness of a stripped-down organ-guitar-bass-drums combo overcome the unadventurous music and clichéd, maudlin lyrics that are the stock in trade of this genre. The Bukis play and sing with real imagination and honesty; the sparseness and uptempo feel of the disc has everybody on creative alert and the effect is not unlike that of rockers reggae from the same period. There is only one actual rock-ish song, the surprisingly edgy (relatively speaking) title cut, the remainder of the material being divided between ballads and polkas. But there is plenty of energy to go around. Throughout, Solis displays an early mastery of craftsmanship that would mark his later successes, but here he is less of a romantic crooner and more an enthusiastic young man living the dream. The harmonies here are unrehearsed and unaffected. The playing is scruffy, but effective. This is obviously the live sound of the band, transferred as faithfully as possible for the recording studio. Packages of the Bukis' early stuff can be hard to find, so this is as good a pick as any if you want to hear why they were a great band.

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