Posted: October 28, 2009
A musical journey of heartbreak and struggle
Taj Mahal, David Hidalgo and Los Cenzontles meld blues, rock and Mexican folkMike Cote
LOS CENZONTLES WITH DAVID HIDALGO AND TAJ MAHAL American Horizon (Los Cenzontles/ADA)
American Horizon makes you rethink what it's like to live in this country for those who have traveled here in search of a better life. But the stories of heartbreak and struggle - one song offers a glimpse of a Hispanic immigrant struggling to find work, for example - also celebrate through music how much richer we are as a culture because of those journeys.
For this eclectic bilingual release, Los Lobos singer and multi-instrumentalist David Hidalgo and blues legend Taj Mahal teamed up with Mexican-American roots group Los Cenzontles (The Mockingbirds), producing a collection of songs that traverses rock, blues and traditional Mexican folk styles.
Virtuoso acoustic and electric string sounds share the spotlight with the vocal harmonies of Lucina Rodriguez, Fabiola Trujillo and Hugo Arroyo. Proceeds from the sale of this musical adventure benefit arts programs for youth in Los Angeles.
GUY MENDILOW BAND Skyland (World/International)
"World music" has become a much-maligned catch-all term often used to describe anything that doesn't fall into our narrow view of what defines rock and pop music. But how else to describe a an album of songs written by a guy who has called Israel, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and the U.S. home and presents an album sung in five languages and performsedon 19 instruments?
Skyland was recorded in an old farmhouse in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts. In the liner notes, Mendilow suggests listeners initially ignore the lyrics to the songs and just let the music speak (though he offers translations anyway.) It's a welcome invitation to explore his band's brand of global folk music.
CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL The Singles Collection (Fantasy)
Since acquiring the Creedence Clearwater Revival catalog a few years ago, the Concord Music Group has been remastering and reissuing the band's catalog of late '60s and early '70s classic rock.
With John Fogerty and company's music having been repackaged so many times, it has to be challenge to come up with something that hasn't been tried before.
This double-disc CD set - with a bonus DVD of four music videos and a poster - collects the band's singles, from obvious hits like "Proud Mary" and "Bad Moon Rising" to obscure 45s that never made a dent in the charts, such as Fogerty's early stab at Motown-style pop "Call it Pretending" and a pair of singles from the band's last studio LP that featured competent if unspectacular songs written and sung by bassist Stu Cook ("Door to Door") and drummer Doug Clifford ("Tearin' Up the Country").
Except for the two-part "Revolutions Per Minute," an oddball mock interview pastiche originally released only as a promotional item, all of the songs are issued here in mono -- recreating the sound that blasted out of all those AM radios back in the band's heyday. The set also is available as a limited edition box set of vinyl 45s.
Mike Cote is the former editor of ColoradoBiz. E-mail him at email@example.com.