Monday, January 04, 2010
A rare tour by one of our country’s greatest songwriting duos graces the Northeast this month. David Hidalgo and Louie Perez, the main songwriters for Los Lobos and Latin Playboys will be playing a series of dates that encompass the breadth of their collaboration, which began in high school. “We started this musical conversation back in about 1970, and we havenʼt stopped talking,” Pérez says.
Beside several dates on the West Coast, the last time David and Louie performed outside of Lobos was with Latin Playboys. Those performances were a remarkable mix of creativity, stellar musicianship and excitement.
The shows this month will have an interactive flavor. The duo takes audience questions and if they’re open to requests, I’ll put mine in now for the NY show: Peace. Making it a family affair, David’s sons, David Jr. on percussion and Vincent on bass will be joining their father and Louie. The show will have a local moderator. In New York, Rita Houston of WFUV is set to the take on the role.
In conjunction with the tour, the guys will be releasing The Long Goodbye. This collection of previously unreleased recordings (with the exception of Take My Hand) might be considered an album of love songs. The music is at it’s basic, letting the songs “sing for themselves”.
Exploring the roots of American music has always been paramount in David and Louie’s songs, so it’s no surprise that this album embodies country, R&B, rock, soul, jazz and tejano.
Louie and David know how to combine musical genres better than anyone. They mix genres up, blend them together, twist 'em around and create a masterpiece. If you’ve never listened to Kiko the entire way through, do it right now.
The opening song What Good Is Love is a rocker. It’s defiant. It’s in your face. The rhythm of the acoustic guitar drives it. I would love to hear Keith Urban get his hands on this one. Don’t You Know brings to mind John Fogerty/Creedence. It could bookend the Lobos gem A Matter of Time.
I heard the original demo of Cure For Love, when it was presented to Bonnie Raitt, who wound up recording it for her 1998 album Fundamental. I remember thinking: wow an obvious love song from David and Louie. It blew me away. David’s unmistakable guitar and background vocals grace Bonnie’s version. Fellow Latin Playboys bandmates Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake produced that album. It’s a sexy track. Bonnie sings it with a bold attitude. David and Louie’s version takes a more soulful, Marvin Gaye approach. As with many of the songs on The Long Goodbye, it’s filled with the pain of a love gone away, whether real or impending. The song begins with You bring me roses/You give me kisses and ends with When the phone rings/no one answers. The letters comeback saying/"Lover cannot be found". Have they have been hording all those “obvious love songs” for this album?
The upbeat, get off your feet and dance track is Till The Hands Fall Off The Clock. I can see the crowd rising as they do with the first notes of Anselm at a Lobos show. The immense amount of fun one is having with a newfound love is evident in this song about not wanting the night to end.
Well there's nowhere else to go And no one will ever know And we'll dance this way till the hands fall off the clock
Leading up to and preparing us for the title track is a magical, visual spoken word piece from Louie called 1964. His childhood, his family and his neighborhood are remembered in a loving embrace. Then there is a moment that changes things. There may be a long goodbye involved. Life goes on. We grow up, but we never forget that loving embrace. It’s what makes us who we are.
David and Louie are aptly playing the American Songbook series at Lincoln Center on January 15th. No one embodies more of the American experience in their songs than David Hidalgo and Louie Perez.
01/14/10 Boulton Center Bay Shore, NY
01/15/10 Lincoln Center For Performing Arts New York, NY
01/16/10 South Orange PAC South Orange, NJ
01/17/10 Tupelo Music Hall Londonderry, NH