Los Lobos Wins Grammy Award For Covers Album

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Los Lobos have won the Grammy Award for Best Americana Album for their 2021 album, Natives Sons. The release, via New West Records, consists nearly entirely of covers. The 13-song set was produced by the band in East Los Angeles and is mainly of songs related to their L.A. musical heritage.

In acknowledging the award, the band wrote, “The concept of this record was gratitude. It was a thank you to the city that we started in.”

From the May 5, 2021, album press release: Having formed in 1973 and gotten their start playing spirited renditions of Mexican folk music at parties and in restaurants, Los Lobos are no strangers to reinterpretation…In a nod to their neighborhood, Native Sons opens with the wide-eyed frenzy of “Love Special Delivery” by Thee Midniters, an East L.A. garage band and one of the first Chicano rock groups to ever score a major hit in the U.S. From there, it features favorites and deep cuts by other Los Angeles luminaries such as the Beach Boys (“Sail on Sailor”) and Jackson Browne (“Jamaica Say You Will”), plus War, Buffalo Springfield, and more.

Listen to their covers of two Buffalo Springfield classics

In a particularly meaningful moment for the band, Native Sons includes a cover of “Flat Top Joint” by the Blasters, the L.A. roots-rock band that helped pave the way for their signing to Slash Records in the early ’80s.

The album’s title track is its sole original song, an homage to Los Angeles.

Of “Love Special Delivery,” Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo says, “We grew up on Thee Midniters and felt like they were representing us, so their music means a lot.”

“Sail On, Sailor,” an early-’70s track originally sung by longtime Los Lobos friend Blondie Chaplin, was one that Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin says “seemed like it would be easy, but once we broke the eggshell it revealed itself to be a lot more complex,” adding “The genius of so many of these records is all the layers that meld together in a way that isn’t very obvious at first.”

Listen to “Sail On, Sailor” from Native Sons

Los Lobos have an extensive 2022 tour in support of Native Sons. Tickets are available here and here.

Listen to their cover of “Jamaica Say You Will” from Browne’s 1972 debut album

Browne’s 2021 release, Downhill From Everywhere, was among the nominees for Best Americana Album that Los Lobos won.

Los Lobos are: David Hidalgo (vocals, guitars); Louie Pérez Jr. (vocals, guitars); Cesar Rosas (vocals, guitars, bass, Hammond B3 organ); Conrad Lozano (vocals, bass); Steve Berlin (saxes, midisax, keyboards).

Los Lobos Native Sons Track Listing
1. Love Special Delivery
2. Misery
3. Bluebird / For What It’s Worth
4. Los Chucos Suaves
5. Jamaica Say You Will
6. Never No More
7. Native Son
8. Farmer John
9. Dichoso
10. Sail On, Sailor
11. The World Is A Ghetto
12. Flat Top Joint
13. Where Lovers Go

Listen to “Misery,” a hit for Barrett Strong in 1961

Related: Our feature interview with Los Lobos’ Louie Pérez Jr.

Best Classic Bands Staff

5 Comments so far

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  1. luile
    #1 luile 6 May, 2021, 11:22

    Wao ! This band rocks ! Thanks for posting this info about this band and let us hear their music. They were about to play in Panama, when the pandemonium started.

    Reply this comment
  2. Da Mick
    #2 Da Mick 16 June, 2021, 18:00

    I’ve been a huge Los Lobos fan for several decades now. Unfortunately, because a broader success had generally eluded them, they’ve been forced to primarily play opening slots for more popular acts. This normally allows them shorter, more abbreviated sets, where they don’t really have the opportunity to stretch out that much. And for a band that has the extensive catalog that they have, that’s a crying shame. An unfortunate side effect of this has been that over the last eight years or so, the shows I’ve seen feature the band doing pretty much the same smatterings of songs from different periods of their career. Consequently, as great as they are, the band has frequently gotten to the point where they just mail in their shows — and that’s a tragic loss. If you ever get to see them anytime, you should. But if they’re doing a rare headlining slot, or a featured slot at a festival, where they can let loose, you’re really in for a treat. When they’re into it, they’re probably the best remaining American band out there, from the classic rock era. Each of their records is a gem in and of itself, much the way LPs used to be, from the greats of years ago. Don’t miss them!

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  3. Billy K.
    #3 Billy K. 18 June, 2021, 06:06

    Scores some major points with me for covering a post-1966 Beach Boys tune.
    Which is music that most bands aren’t even aware of, much less cover.

    Reply this comment
    • Bob Sled
      Bob Sled 1 August, 2021, 14:10

      Absolutely, Billy K! The Beach Boys’ music took a sharp right-hand turn from the cars & surfin’ themes with the gems Surf’s Up, Carl & The Passions & especially the incredibly underrated Holland.

      Reply this comment
  4. Alias Pink Puzz
    #4 Alias Pink Puzz 19 June, 2021, 09:27

    Sail on Sailor rocks! I wish the exit guitar solo was longer–very nice treatment.

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