Barrio Ritmos & Blues.
DR. LOCO'S ROCKIN' JALAPENO BAND Barrio Ritmos & Blues (Dr. Loco Prod.)
Sporting a new sound, this fourth release for Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeno Band is a well thought out concept record that uses the blues as a motif to capture and explore the dynamics of today's barrios. It's a potent musical looking glass formulized by Dr. Jose Cuellar --aka Dr. Loco-- and Grammy-nominated producer Greg Landau that interprets and articulates the joy, struggle, and pain of a community. The idea was to reflect the different barrio ritmos that are connected to the blues which have always been part of the Chicano experience but mirrored across different beats. With remakes of '60s brown-eyed soul Tejano classics like the Sunny and The Sunliners hit, Carino Nuevo, it is real down home in places with the Flaco Jimenez-inspired accordion of Miguel Govea riffing with bordertown norteno fervor alongside Dr. Loco's sax.
The texture honed by Landau on the Tex Mex stuff likens to Americana productions by roots rock producers Pete Anderson (The Blazers), Mitchell Froom (Latin Playboys), and Steve Berlin (Los Lobos). Three exquisite spoken-word pieces --A Barrio Trilogy Plus-- featuring the theatrical troupe Culture Clash along with Cuban jazz pianist Omar Sosa - pay homage to East Los Angeles and the San Francisco Mission with a bittersweet blue funk filled with acidy harmonic edges. It's obvious here Landau knows how to get people to play and sound their best and Dr. Loco and friends definitely did that but as a testimony to the communal threads of a people, it's a masterpiece.