|El Loco Rocanrol Vol. 1|
|Written by Joe Wood|
Rockabilly and early rock n' roll turn up all over the place in record compilations. Most are recorded in English or German, but here Spanish label Floridita Records has teamed up with Moroccan DJ Alex to issue the Spanish-language Rockabilly and 50s rock compilation El Loco Rocanrol, Vol. 1,featuring 22 rockin' Latin tracks. Most of the recordings sound as if they were lifted from vinyl records, containing that faint, underlying crackling sound that we seem to have forgotten about since the advent of digital recording while they retain the energy and feel of rebel rock 'n' roll.
El Loco showcases nearly 20 current Latin bands and artists including Los Boppers, Johnny Tedesco, Roberto Carlos, Los Rockets, Dyno y Los Solitarios, and even Lalo Guerrero. Being light on Spanish language (for which I have no excuse) I can't tell you all of the titles and subject matter, but I can imagine from the sultry drive of the music that they are singing about sex, drugs and rock n roll.
Some of the tracks are obvious covers—"Lucila", better known in the Anglo world as "Lucille", appears more than once on the disc, with versions by Los Milos and Los Teen Top. "Tren Solitario" by Los Boppers is know by all RAB fans as "Lonesome Train", and Los Teen Tops bring us "Buen Rock Esta Noche"—better know in English as "Good Rockin' Tonight". The only track that seems out of its element is the Latin-jump-blues classic by the late Lalo Guerrero, "Marihuana Boogie"—it's so out of place that it's akin finding a Velázquez painting in the middle of a Picasso exhibit.
While most of the tracks on this collection are early rock 'n' roll, a few move into the twistin' 1960s. Los Rockets' "Tarantula" and Los Hitters' "Mary y Juana" are surf instrumentals which sound as if they were kicking up sand in 1963. Los Psicodelicos Xochimilcas present a great loungy—albeit too brief—rendition of "Susie Q" driven by accordions and horns. Los Babys close out the collection with their rendition of "Ghost Riders In The Sky/Jinetes en el Cielo", which is full of haunting feedback interlaced with classic surf guitar riffs.
All of the tracks on El Loco Rocanrol, Vol. 1 are great to listen and bop to. Anthologist DJ Alex has shown that no matter what language the lyrics are in—or whether it's rockabilly, 50s rock or surf—great rock 'n' roll is just great rock 'n' roll.