Album Reviews

A Fistful of Statins

Los Pacaminos (featuring Paul Young)


If Quentin Tarantino Ever Wants a Spaghetti Western Soundtrack Album, Look No Further. Just like London buses, you wait ages for one to come along; and lo and behold a shinier newer one arrives just behind the first one.

That’s what has happened here with Los Pacaminos’ first album being re-released only a few weeks ago; and now, here comes their ‘great lost’ 2015 album; repackaged with the addition of a few more wonderful new songs just waiting for your delectation. I need to start with the album cover; a tongue in cheek homage to Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Western series of films only updated to appease ‘men of a certain age;’ and it not only made me snigger, but made me want to know what was inside, which is surely the whole point of album artwork?

The album opens with a wonderfully atmospheric instrumental called Razorwire; which sounds a bit like the Shadows re-mixed by Ry Cooder…which is a very good thing indeedy.

Arguably my favourite song, Jump Back Baby comes in next; and the Tex-Mex swing will have you hankering for a warm evening, sticky ribs on the BBQ and a pitcher full of margaritas.

Doesn’t take long for the party to really warm up; and I defy even Chief Ironsides not to want to dance to Don’t Make Me Wait Señorita, Mi Chorizo est Loco and the smoochy Come a Little Bit Closer.

Just like the best soundtracks; Los Pacaminos aint no one track pony; straddling the Mavericks style Mexicana with Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison ballads like the sweet Prairie Serenade and the mournful A Letter to You, where Paul Young really comes into his own.

Other less well known; (unless you are in my inner circle) bands spring to mind too; I couldn’t help thinking of the Waco Brothers on the doleful and self-depreciating Battered and Boozed; and later it was the long-lost Balham Alligators with the beautiful Caballero, Our Favourite Things and even more so with Texas Adios.

If you are a Los Pacaminos fan reading this and you haven’t heard of those two bands; I urge you do so immediately. Two songs in particular caught my attention; but for completely different reasons. Palabras is a rather lovely song sung in Spanish; featuring some exquisite guitar picking; but the tune…. hmmm…. of course! They have reinvented The Bee Gees Words as a Mariachi tune. Sheer Genius!

The other is The Girl From Tennessee; a rather jaunty and fun, accordion led song; that owes a bit of a debt to Slaid Cleaves, and Texas Love Song. Don’t get me wrong; I love both songs equally, but what are the odds of two songs rhyming Texas with Solar Plexus?

For once I can’t pick a winner here; but solely because all 17 tracks melt seamlessly into each other and I can’t wait for Summer to arrive, so I can play this long into the night; much
to the pleasure of my understanding neighbours.

A Fistful of Statins

Los Pacaminos (featuring Paul Young)


You know you’re getting old, when that fresh faced laddie from Streetband turns out to be sixty years old, and singing with a London based Tex Mex band. But that’s life.
To be fair, I had a vague recollection of Paul Young being interviewed about his new venture, but had never heard any of their material until now. And with their two albums being reissued, it’s a fine time to catch up with them. Because they are very good at what they do.
And it’s straight down the middle tex Mex, with accordions galore, a touch of Western Swing, and the still impressive vocals of Mr Young. With the band chock full of well-respected musos, it’s clear that this is something they really enjoy doing, rather than just being paid for it. Which probably explains the decade long gap between releases. Both albums have been expanded, with the debut gaining three tracks from an early EP, and “A Fistful Of Statins” gaining two brand new tracks and a cover of the Bee Gees ‘Words’.
I’d missed all this first time around, but have had a real blast getting to grips with this. Don’t let it slide this time.

The Early Years

 Los Pacaminos (Featuring Paul Young)


Authentic and Lovingly Crafted Tex-Mex from the Heart of London Town.

I’ve been a fan of Paul Young (Wherever I Lay My Hat etc.) from his days in the Q Tips; one of the finest Soul/R&B Revues I’ve ever seen; and their version of SYLJFM is still in my Top 10 of all time; so it pains me to say a) I’ve never seen his latest incarnation – Los Pacaminos play live; and b) I actually had no idea they had released three albums and a couple of EP’s!
Thankfully with this sparkly new disc (there’s a second waiting for review soon, too) I’m finally putting b) right; but sadly; like cheap French wine; the band don’t travel very well, so I guess I won’t see them play live any time soon
So; to the music……

The opening track My, My, My starts with a glorious accordion break from Matty Irving; and it’s not too far away from the Pogues ‘Fiesta;’ and the song itself sets the tone for a frivolous but exceptionally well executed hour or so of ‘Border Music;’ taking in styles as diverse as Ry Cooder through to Buddy Holly, Doug Sahm and even Hollywood Elvis.
Second track Manana; slows things down with a delightful Rumba beat; as Paul Young does his finest ‘Aloha’ Elvis impression; or at least so it sounds to me….and I love it.

As I understand it, all of the songs on the original album are self-penned; but any or all could easily come from the back catalogue of the Sir Douglas Quintet, The Mavericks or even the lighter/fun side of Tom Russell. Early on Perdita is guaranteed to get even me, with my two left feet on the dance-floor; as will the glorious Raised on Margaritas and I would love to direct a video for the waltz-time ballad, Poor Boys.

The Ry Cooder influence oozes out of every note on the instrumental Terra D’Ensuenos and fans of the Mavericks would crawl over flaming coal to hear that band sing No Seas Tonto Mujer; which is sung in a very authentic sounding Spanish by the All English Band.

There’s not a bad song among the 15 tracks on offer; and me and Mrs. Magpie ended up having harsh words over which is the best song here; both songs come from the Rare EP’s; with me loving their reconstruction of You’d Better Move On; which sounds nothing at all like the Rolling Stones version that I grew up listening too; and is all the better for it; and Mrs. Magpie has plumped for Hey Baby Que Paso; which I have a copy by the legendary Texas Tornados; who were probably another huge influence on the fledgling Los Pacaminos.

I first played this album on one of the first sunny days of Spring; and now two weeks later I’ve decided it would be like a little ray of South x South Western sunshine on the wettest of British Summer days.