Song of the Day: Los Lobos “La Pistola y El Corazon”
In celebration of the Mexican holiday of El Dia de los Muertos, or the day of the dead, I could think of no better choice than a selection from East LA Latino roots rockers, Los Lobos‘ LP, La Pistola y El Corazon. Think of this post as something of a Shocktober addendum. The record is probably my favorite by the group and was about Los Lobos going back to their cultural roots and releasing a set of traditional and new Tejano/Mariachi folk songs, sung in Spanish and using traditional instrumentation.
The title track is a wonderfully haunted and melancholic song (literally translating to: “the pistol and the rooster”). Like many Mariachi songs, the song is ostensibly about longing for a lost or distant love. What really shines through is the sheer musicality of group leader/ guitarist/ singer David Hidalgo and his compatriots. Los Lobos are so innately musical and do so many things well, in such a diverse set of styles, that the effect can feel a little scattershot sometimes. This project really enabled the group to play to their strengths by limiting their focus and allowing them to really cut loose on some of these songs.
I first picked up this record at a thrift store around 20 years ago. I had previously heard bits and pieces of Los Lobos, including their hit cover of La Bamba for the film of the same name and was immediately drawn to the Dia de los Muertos-themed cover. I was immediately rewarded with a stunning album, featuring some great songs, incredible vocal and instrumental performances that proved to be a gateway to a wider appreciation of Mariachi. Enjoy, and Feliz día de los muertos todo el mundo!