Heard It on the X
The third album from the collective Los Super Seven assembled by artist
manager Dan Goodman is an energized package of Latin rock and pop-tinged songs. Each outing for the collective not only has a different cast of characters, but a
different conceptual approach to the music.
Just as the call letters for all radio stations in the U.S. begin with either
the letter W or K, radio stations based in Mexico begin an X. Hence the album
title celebrating south-of-the-border radio which was hugely influential from
the '30s through the '60s in cross-pollinating musical styles between the
Southwestern U.S. and Mexico.
Once again the project brings together an array of talented singers and
musicians to assist throughout the record, spotlighting musicians and music from
Texas. Joe Ely, Freddy Fender, Rick Trevino, and Raul Malo return after past Los
Super Seven appearances. Others, like John Hiatt, Lyle Lovett, and Rodney
Crowell join the fun for the first time.
The powerful voice of Raul Malo kicks off the album, on the album-starter, "The El Burro Song," a terrific mariachi song written by
Joey Burns of Calexico (in fact, members of Calexico perform on this song and
throughout the album). Malo later does the Doug Sahm number "Song of Everything."
The title cut is a blast of funky riff-driven rock originally recorded by ZZ
Top in 1975, this version powered by Austin-based Ruben Ramos. Joe Ely fronts
a faithful take on the Bobby Fuller Four's "Let Her Dance," reminding us all
what a great song it it with his terrific interpretation.
And Lyle Lovett does a great job with "My Window Faces the South," a song
well associated with Western Swing pioneer Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys.
Delbert McClinton also makes two stops along this ride, one with the
horn-drenched R&B number "Talk to Me"-which features the West Side Horns, who also
played on the original hit by Sunny & The Sunliners. McClinton also does the
Willie Dixon blues stomp "I Live the Life I Love."
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown sings the maudlin Blind Lemon Jefferson standard
"See That My Grave Is Kept Clean." The song has an extra dimension of sadness,
as Brown has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
But regardless of the emotional pitch produced on each individual track, the
cumulative effect is celebratory. These musicians show a deep love for the
music that the border radio stations introduced to many of them, and their joy in
their music is clear.
Every song on Heard It on The X is both fun and
well-crafted, leading one to admire the skills of the players involved and once again
makes an excellent summation of a great music style.