Home Read Classic Album Review: Los Lobos | The Ride

Classic Album Review: Los Lobos | The Ride

The roots-rockers' star-studded set is one of the more diverse discs of their career.


This came out in 2004 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Only Los Lobos know for sure why their latest album is called The Ride, but I’m willing to be it has something to do with all the cool people who came along for it.

From its grill to its tailfins, this 11th studio disc from the East L.A. roots-rockers is a star-studded, sometimes nostalgic affair midway between a new album and one of those Santana-style self-tribute discs. Typically freewheeling, the Lobos play gracious hosts on these 13 cuts, mixing and matching their styles to suit their guests.

For Mexican eccentrics Cafe Tacuba, they dish up some syncopated Rock en Espanol; for singer Little Willie G., they crank up the funk factor on Is This All There Is?; for Dave Alvin, they get back to their acoustic mariachi roots; for R&B legend Bobby Womack, they get soulful with a gorgeous two-pack of Wicked Rain and Across 110th Street; for guitarist Richard Thompson, they get folkie with a rich sea chanty; for Elvis Costello, they wheel out the piano and back away to let him croon Matter of Time; for Mavis Staples, they surrender to a higher power on the gospel groover Someday; and for Tom Waits, they just get weird on the clattery cacophony of Kitate.

Between the musical meet-and-greets, the Lobos take a few moments for themselves with a handful of solid new tunes like the strummy Alejandro Escovedo-style ballad Rita and the fuzzed-out blues of Charmed and Hurry Tomorrow. Naturally, with such an eclectic approach, this disc is hardly the band’s most consistent or focused work. But thanks to its accessible vibe and collaborative vibrancy, it is one of the more distinctive albums in the catalogue. All in all, it’s a pretty enjoyable Ride.