Chains of Love
Call from Rita
On their twelfth release, Los Lobos widen their circle to welcome a diverse set of guests including both influences (Mavis Staples, Willie G., Bobby Womack, Garth Hudson) and contemporaries (Dave Alvin, Elvis Costello, Rubén Blades), all of whom mesh like part of the band rather than outsiders. The powerhouse opener with Café Tacuba and Garth Hudson, “La Venganza de los Pelados,” and “Ya Se Va” with Blades are sizzling Latin numbers, the off-kilter and funky “Kitate” with Tom Waits and Martha Gonzalez of Quetzal features a Kiko-inspired soundscape, and Dave Alvin and David Hidalgo’s voices work well together on the rootsy “Somewhere In Time.” Many of the album’s highlights come from re-working songs from Los Lobos’ vast back catalog. “Matter of Time” with Costello is a tender, pedal-steel-driven ballad, the medley of “Wicked Rain” and Womack’s own classic “Across 110th Street” is a brilliant stroke, and the gospel-soul reading of “Someday” with the legendary Staples on vocals provides the album’s emotional high point.