Los Straitjackets

Damas y Caballeros!

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Welcome to the excitement of one entire los Straitjackets show just the way it happened during the summer of 2000 at The Foothill Tavern in Long Beach, CA. And where better to encounter the surf-riding, mask-wearing, Spanish-speaking garage rockin' of "America's premier instrumentalists" as their pre-recorded introduction claims? It's a wild, wooly 60 minutes of 19 nonstop twang/trash rock tunes delivered with precision and spitfire riffs blazing. While many of these tracks, like the quartet's innovative take on Celine Dion's smarmy "My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme from Titanic)," have turned up on three previous los Straitjackets albums, the black Converse-shod foursome add six covers of more like-minded classics to their set. Even though their jittery roots originals are well constructed, it's still a kick to hear them slow dance to Santo & Johnny's "Sleepwalk" and Floyd Cramer's "Last Date," as well as gallop through Link Wray's "Rawhide" and smoke into "I'm Branded" along with Louis Prima's "Sing Sing Sing" like they've been playing them all their life, which they probably have. Rather than rip into an obvious Ventures track, they unearth an obscurity with the appropriately titled "Driving Guitars" to pay tribute to their most obvious influence. Sure, it starts to sound a bit samey after a while, but the band's obvious glee in what they're doing and the energy they infuse to these songs, spurred on by a sold-out club crowd, keeps the show lively for its entirety. Not quite as good as being there to experience the band in full regalia with their syncopated stage moves, this hour-long souvenir is the next best thing.

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