Los Lobos: Kiko/Kiko Live
Kiko/Kiko Live CD/Kiko Live DVD/Blu-ray
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The always impressive Shout! Factory label pulls out all the stops to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Los Lobos’ monumental recording with three releases, all available separately. The original Kiko album was an anomaly at the time of its 1992 release, not just because it showed that the already well-respected Los Lobos were more than just a really good roots rock band, but because it so successfully broadened their artistic vision, lyrically and musically, with production (by Mitchell Froom) that expanded on their established Chicano/American/folk/soul/ rock elements with experimental textures. Two decades later it remains the highlight in Los Lobos’ remarkably consistent catalog and a terrific, even revelatory listen. This newly remastered studio edition includes 5 additional tracks—3 of them live from 1992– terrific liner notes with lyrics, full credits, rare photos and is the place to start, even if you already own it. But the concert recording and DVD that recreates the album in order, captured at a February, 2006 gig and unreleased until now, shows how well the band translates the studio creations to the stage even if many had not been played live until this show. Short interview segments provide detail on the songs and the project’s sonic construction. In any version it’s essential listening for existing fans and especially for those new to this contemporary rock classic.