Say “The Wolves” to most people (especially those of a footballing persuasion) and stock responses would doubtless include old gold, Peter Knowles, fighting in subways, Steve Bull etc. Translate that into Spanish however and talk of Los Lobos would almost almost certainly centre on “La Bamba.”
Thankfully there’s far more to them than their chart hit – founder member Cesar Rosas was born today in 1954.
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Cesar Rosas born, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. Founder member of Los Lobos, who began gigging in East Los Angeles around 1973. Consisting of Cesar, David Hidalgo (vocals, guitar), Louie Perez (drums, vocals, guitar) and Conrad Lozano (bass, vocals, guitar), saxophonist Steve Berlin would be a later addition.
After a decade of playing and writing, 1984 saw them come to prominence on the back of a Grammy Award win and the album “How Will the Wolf Survive?”. Despite the lack of a standout track, the album brought them a following in Europe and some domestic recognition, with 1987′s recording of “La Bamba” for a biopic of Ritchie Valens taking them to the top of the US & UK singles charts.
Resisting commerical pressures, they continued to plough their own furrow of hispanic rock and folk music, with flashes of rock ‘n’ roll, country and blues. Further album releases would harvest two more Grammy’s, and live performances alongside the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and U2.
2010 saw Los Lobos return with their 14th studio effort, ”Tin Can Trust” (Proper Records), steadfastly remaining anti-fashion and dispensing nuggets of wonderfulness – a Grateful Dead cover here, a hint of Clapton there and plenty of what they’ve distilled to an enduring audience throughout their career. If it ain’t broke….
Aside from his Los Lobos commitments, Cesar also released his own solo record “Soul Disguise” in 1999 and, along with David Hidalgo, toured as part of the “Experience Hendrix” live tribute show.
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And here’s some footage of Cesar in action: