Los Lobos

Ride This: The Covers EP

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Los Lobos are, quite simply, one of America's great rock bands, and versatile enough to put their stamp on practically any sort of music they choose. Anyone looking for proof of this assertion ought to pick up Ride This: The Covers EP, in which the band runs through seven tunes from other artists, most of which were recorded during the sessions for Los Lobos' fine 2004 album, The Ride. Rambling from the late-night creep of Tom Waits' "Jockey Full of Bourbon" to the primal roots rock wail of the Blasters' "Marie Marie," Ride This finds East L.A.'s finest sounding tough, passionate, and soulful throughout. Top honors here go to their emotional take on Thee Midniters' "It'll Never Be Over for Me" (featuring a glorious vocal from Cesar Rosas) and the menacing rumble of Richard Thompson's "Shoot Out the Lights," which -- unlike most covers of Thompson's work -- features a guitar player nearly as gifted as RT himself, the estimable David Hidalgo. On all seven tunes, Los Lobos honor the spirit of the originals while putting their own spin on the material, and show that they're one band whose top-shelf chops never get in the way of making honest, soul-satisfying music. Not quite an essential Los Lobos release (these guys are still at their best on their own fine songs), Ride This: The Covers EP is still a treat for fans, or anyone who likes to hear a world-class rock band playing some really great songs.

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