Exclusive video: Los Lobos’ watershed 1992 ‘Kiko’ album returns

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Los Lobos is revisiting its watershed 1992 album “Kiko” in a 20th anniversary reissue, adding to the original studio album with previously unreleased early and alternate takes of several songs. Simultaneously, a document of the band’s 2006 performance of “Kiko” in its entirety will be released separately on CD, DVD and Blu-ray, with both “Kiko” projects coming Aug. 21.

“Kiko” was hailed in 1992 as a new artistic pinnacle for the widely lauded East L.A. group and appeared on numerous critics’ yearly Top 10 lists. It was the No. 1 choice in The Times’ consensus Top 10 among its staff writers and regular contributors, and made the Top 10 of Village Voice magazine’s annual poll of some 300 pop music critics.


“ ‘Kiko’ is the band’s masterpiece -- a startling leap forward in sonic reach and depth of vision,” Mike Boehm wrote in reviewing the album for The Times two decades ago. “ ‘Kiko’ is a long, troubled dream of an album that holds the temporal and the spiritual in a single gaze: It shows us a suffering humanity an angel’s breath removed from an overarching realm of spirits, magic and hallucination.”

“Kiko Live” has never been released or broadcast, and includes interviews with the band members and others about the making of the album. In 2006, Los Lobos did a series of live performances focusing on it in its entirety. Above is exclusive video of the group’s performance of ‘Kiko and the Lavendar Moon.’

The CD also includes three tracks the band recorded live at Capitol Records in Hollywood for a “Hollywood House Party with Los Lobos” special that aired in 1992 on National Public Radio. The album reissue and the “Kiko Live” DVD/Blu-ray are being released by the Shout! Factory reissue specialty label.


Instead of “segregating our influences, treating them parochially,” as band member Steve Berlin described the band’s approach before “Kiko,” for that album “whatever our unconscious minds’ response was to the stimuli, that was what we wanted. We let our imagination take over and didn’t try to control it.”

The band is continuing on a tour that included the first Los Lobos Cinco de Mayo Festival at the Greek Theatre, at which the group headlined a bill that included Mariachi El Bronx and X and such guests appearing with Los Lobos as Neko Case, Alejandro Escovedo, Flaco Jimenez, and Dave and Phil Alvin.



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-- Randy Lewis