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  Listen Up! 5/24/02 Listen Up!

Friday, May 24

Los Lobos, ďGood Morning Aztlan,Ē Mammoth Records. If this record was on LP, Iíd wear out side one. Not that side two would suck or anything, but the first four songs here are the best things Los Lobos has done in the ten years since their classic ďKikoĒ album. Gone are the noodling experimental weirdness, the abandonment of passion in favor of eclectism. Here, one of the finest rockínírollíníMexican bands in the world just kicks ass and plays great songs like they matter to them. And, when these songs are rockíníroll or bluesy, thereís nobody that can touch them for sheer excitement. Thatís what the first four songs are, and thatís why Iíd play that side to death.

Warren Zevon, ďMy Rideís Here,Ē Artemis Records. Leave it to Zevon to write a transcendent smart-ass song about a hockey goon. Well, actually, I havenít left it to Zevon to write anything I cared about in a long time. His first two and one half albums were among the finest of the 70s, then he went into a serious slump that pretty much ensured I wouldnít bother to listen to his records unless it was accidental. This one is pretty damn good, as he seems a little more interested in varying the melodies again. The lyrics Iím hearing jump out as being smart and funny; of course, theyíre co-written with actual literary folks whose work Iíve never read (except Hunter S. Thompson, whose work I have read, but who isnít really literary.) Any way, Iím gonna keep listening to this for a while.

The Small Faces, ďThe Definitive Anthology of the Small Faces,Ē Popumentary Records. Well, itís no more definitive than any other anthology of the Small Faces, whose penitence for recording for Immediate back in the 60s is a lifetime (or rather, post-lifetime) of reissues scattered on labels that fall away as fast as they come out. This 55-track set, though, is full of masterpieces and the occasional mistake, showcasing the soulful mastery of Steve Marriott, the inventive heart of Ronnie Lane, the stunning keyboards of Ian McGlagen, and the rocking drumming of Kenny Jones. They were a band that deserves a spot just to the south of the Who in the Brit-rock pantheon.

--Steve Pick



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