Record review: 'Los Lobos Goes Disney,' children's songs by Los Lobos

Friday, November 13, 2009

LOS LOBOS

"Los Lobos Goes Disney"

Kindred spirits: The Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Shows: Sunday at the Birchmere. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. 703-549-7500. http://www.birchmere.com. Monday and Tuesday at the Rams Head Tavern. Show starts at 8 p.m. 410-268-4545, http://www.ramsheadtavern.com.

If Bob Dylan's "Christmas in the Heart" is autumn's most surprising album, "Los Lobos Goes Disney" is a close second. Who expected the Mexican American band responsible for some of the toughest, truest songs ever recorded about the modern immigrant experience to make a whole album of children's songs?

But David Hidalgo, Los Lobos' lead singer, is as much an icon of Los Angeles culture as Walt Disney. By bringing those two icons together, songs originally sung by roosters, monkeys, dogs, dolls and dwarves now sound like an East L.A. wedding party set to a rocking border beat.

Has there ever been a more yearning song of emigration than Roger Miller's "Not in Nottingham"? Has there ever been a more revealing song about the lure of assimilation than Richard & Robert Sherman's "I Wanna Be Like You"? Has there ever been a sadder song about the end of a dream than Randy Newman's "I Will Go Sailing No More"? Have these songs ever been as poignant and as muscular as they are here? No, no, no and no.

-- Geoffrey Himes

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