"For my money, "The Neighborhood" is the best Los Lobos studio album. Recorded and released after the all their mid-1980s hype in the music press had died down, it is a strong, rocking album full of excellent songwriting and performances. The up tempo single "Down By the Riverbed" starts things off with a bang. After that comes a set of consistent songs that vary from the spritual "Little John of God," to the funky "Angel Dance," to the rollicking fun of "Deep Dark Hole" and "Georgia Slop." What really sets this album apart is its sense of fun. The band displays a fine sense of humor without ever being cheeky. Their Latin roots are displayed subtley, enhancing their sound without being overbearing.Overall, "The Neighborhood," is an overlooked gem that deserves a wider audience."
email@example.com | New York, NY | 04/07/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"That critical comment by Philip Thomas above is rather bizarre. He seems to want Los Lobos to pigeonhole themselves into some faux-authentic, token Chicano box. As if they're somehow not Hispanic enough for him. I may be mistaken--it has happened--but that seems to be the implication. And it seems to me a condescending one: sing in Spanish, guys, make sure you sound Hispanic enough, leave the rock and R&B alone. But the very strength of Los Lobos--and the reason I consider them my favorite American band (not just Hispanic/Latino/Chicano band), period--is their breadth and ambition: the fact that they know where their feet are placed, where they come from, but they see no need to limit their reach. As for this particular record, to me it's not quite as fine as Kiko, but it's excellent and has been overlooked by a lot of folks. Underrated and worth picking up."
I LIKE THIS NEIGHBORHOOD
Patrick Earley | Edmond, Oklahoma USA | 02/28/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Neighborhood is probably Los Lobos least popular and most underated albums. After 10 years and countless spins in the walkman, this album still sounds as fresh as the day I bought it. Although It doesn't quite live up to their 2 classic albums "Will The Wolf Survive" and "By The Light Of The Moon", it comes in a close third. This was really the last album Los Lobos did before they started moving their music into experimental territory with Kiko and the rest of their albums. I prefer the kinder, simpler Los Lobos of the first 3 records. The Neighborhood is by far their bluesiest album, with songs like Georgia Slop, "I Can't Understand", which Cesar Rosas co-wrote with blues giant Willie Dixon, who happened to also produce the soundtrack to La Bamba, which Los Lobos appeard on. Another good blues song is "I Walk Alone", which has got some of the most ferocious, hard rockin drivin' blues Los Lobos has ever done. But they also do a 180 on here and show they can still write some of the most beautiful ballads this side of Gene Pitney. With songs like "Angel Dance" and "Little John Of God", which features some great singing by Levon Helm. Just beautiful. I also like the celtic sounding "Be Still", that's got some very creative violin playing in it. And my favorite on here is "The Giving Tree", which still ranks as one of the best songs The Wolves have ever written. I had the pleasure of seeing Los Lobos live at the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas. And they put on one of the most unforgettable shows I've seen. They're just a great band. But to hear these guys playing their best no gimmics roots rock, you have to get their first 3 records. You can't go wrong with any of em. They're all good."
One of the band's highest peaks
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 08/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A brilliant recording that expands on the band's early mix of 50s Latino rock, rockabilly and traditional Mexican sounds. With this disc Los Lobos pushes harder in the r'n'b (heavy on the B) and rock directions. The accordians are played down in favor of some very soulful blues singing and wailing distorted guitars. Which isn't to imply that they've abandoned their roots, there are still acoustic guitars and bajo-sextos, hawaiian steel guitars, 5-string acoustic basses and more. The latter are simply de-emphasized.There's a good deal of diversity within the 45 minutes of these 13 tracks, ranging from the country fiddle and acoustic guitars of "Emily" (with vocals reminiscent of a Traffic-era Stevie Winwood) to the electric country of "Deep Dark Hole", to the raging blues of "I Walk Alone" (featuring a distorted guitar line that sounds like e electricity crackling out of your speakers) and Steve Ray Vaughn-esque "I Can't Understand", to the soulful "Angel Dance", and the more traditional acoustic "Be Still."Guests include Jim Keltner playing drums on a few tracks and Levon Helm playing drums and mandolin and adding a beautiful harmony vocal on one track. Steve Berlin adds his sax on a few of the upbeat pieces.One of those rare records that has you racing to repeat songs on first listen."
It's easy to fault that which you don't get
Wreknsild@aol.com | costa mesa | 05/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kudos to rlindsey above for hitting the nail on the head regarding THE NEIGHBORHOOD. If this album had been recorded by any other band the issue of race/culture/vision abandonment would never have been raised. Of course, no other band could have recorded this album...it's Los lobos, through and through."