Cesar Rosas

Soul Disguise

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Cesar Rosas' first solo album, Soul Disguise makes no effort to move beyond the range of material he contributed to Los Lobos. In fact, Soul Disguise sounds positively conservative compared to Los Lobos albums like Kiko and Colossal Head. Full of blues, soul, R&B and accordion-driven Mexican tunes, Soul Disguise takes Rosas back to the kind of sound that typified the first full-length Los Lobos LP, How Will the Wolf Survive? The blues pervade the album. The hard-driving title track could have originated in the Texas blues scene, with a guitar solo that conjures up the spirit of Jimi Hendrix. Ike Turner's "You've Got to Lose" is a brutal chunk of R&B that Rosas makes his own. The slow and steamy "E. Los Ballad #13" and the funky "Treat Me Right" are soul-inflected blues, with Rosas applying a touch of tenderness in his vocals. But the album is more than just modern blues. The opening track, "Little Heaven," is a slice of love-ain't-what-it-used-to-be storytelling, and "Racing the Moon" is just the sort of rock-flavored song that could be covered by one of the new country hat acts. The two songs in Spanish feature accordion master Flaco Jimenez: "Angelito" is a polka that just won't quit, and "Adios Mi Vida" is a tender waltz. Throughout Soul Disguise, Rosas lets his influences show while at the same time sounding like nobody but himself. It's a fine album, entertaining in the best sense of the word, and essential for fans of Los Lobos.

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