Los Lobos

Los Lobos Goes Disney

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For their second children's album (following 2005's Papa's Dream, made with Lalo Guerrero), Los Lobos pay tribute to the Walt Disney movie musicals, as others have done before them. This version of the Disney songbook falls in between Barbara Cook's traditional pop treatment on The Disney Album and producer Hal Willner's more imaginative, revisionist take of some of the material, Stay Awake. (Los Lobos appeared on the latter, performing "I Wan'na Be Like You," a song repeated here.) Put simply, Los Lobos Goes Disney could have been called "Disney goes Los Lobos" instead, since the group applies its familiar mixture of musical styles to Disney songs. At first, that seems more radical than it turns out to be over the course of the disc, as the band launches into a spirited version of "Heigh-Ho" sung in Spanish. English rules thereafter, as Los Lobos alternately play the songs in rock & roll ("The Ugly Bug Ball") and Mexican ("Bella Notte" in a norteño reading) styles, as is their wont. "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" gets a surprisingly relaxed arrangement, with a loping tempo, while "The Bare Necessities" is taken at a quick 2-step beat with a Cajun/zydeco flavor. Randy Newman's wistful "I Will Go Sailing No More" from Toy Story is as wistful as usual, however, and "Oo-De-Lally" from Robin Hood retains its identity as a typical country-folk number from the old "king of the road," Roger Miller. It all ends up with an instrumental medley of "When You Wish Upon a Star" and "It's a Small World" that sounds like it belongs on a tape of early Beatles recordings; it even comes complete with the crescendo from "Twist & Shout." Clearly, Los Lobos were having fun on this record, as they should have been. The interpretations are hardly definitive, but they are enjoyable and demonstrate the range and adaptability of the music written for Disney movies over the years.

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