By the time Los Lobos
made their debut on record, they already had a half-decade of live gigs under their belt. That initial independent release, Del Este de Los Angeles
, went largely unrecognized, however, and it wasn't until a half-decade later that the music business took notice. With the arrival of ...And a Time to Dance
, they began to realize what many Southern California music fans had discovered years earlier. Here was a band that combined stunning instrumental chops with a flare for everything rootsy, from '50s rock & roll and R&B to country twang and traditional norteño. They were a formidable live unit as well, and the restaurants, weddings, and parties that served as the group's initial circuit were soon replaced by gigs at the Olympic Auditorium (a defunct boxing arena where the group opened for P.I.L.
) and the Whiskey a Go Go. Just Another Band from East L.A.
, this two-disc, 41-song compilation of album cuts, soundtrack contributions, live tracks, and unreleased material, celebrates the group's first 14 years on record. It follows the band from their first recordings in the late '70s to 1992's visionary Kiko
. Along the way, Los Lobos
honed their blend of rock & roll and Tex-Mex on a pair of T-Bone Burnett
-produced albums, returned to their roots for the traditional flavors of La Pistola y el Corazón
, and scored a number one hit with the title track to director Luis Valdez
's film La Bamba. With each new full-length, the penmanship of David Hidalgo
, Louie Pérez
, and Cesar Rosas
only seemed to improve, and Just Another Band
includes all of the songwriting highs. An excellent place to begin a journey into the music of Los Lobos