VIVA! Los Pacaminos LIVE!
from Recado Records.
The Most Authentic Tex-Mex Band This Side of the Atlantic!
Do I start with a History Lesson about how London Pub Rock in the early 1970’s begat not only Punk Rock, but what we now know as Alt. Country all around the world; or do I just pile straight into this fire cracker of an album?
Let’s go for the latter shall we (I don’t want to bore or antagonise you)?
Los Pacaminos are often lazily billed as Superstar Paul Young’s band but they are so much more than that. If you check out the CV of each musician you will see they are something of a mini-supergroup in their own right and use this format to have a blast whenever they can get the band together.
VIVA! LIVE! Is their fourth album and follows on from the immaculately titled A Fist Full of Statins from earlier last year. It really does showcase the best Bar Band in NW London at their very best, performing at a club in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, which is frequently compared to the border town of Tijuana, Mexico!
The party, and that’s the best way to describe a Los Pacaminos concert, starts with a shady rendition of Highway Patrol and the whoops from the audience are 100% genuine and similar to the sounds inside my head as the guitars squeal and hiss as whoever is singing rumbles like a storm brewing in the dessert.
That’s the beauty of Los Pacaminos, even though Paul Young was/is a bonafide Pop Star, he’s more than happy to share the spotlight with his band mates.As you would expect, the song selection is quite exceptional with Little Sister, A Little Bit is Better Than Nada and He’ll Have To Go all getting dusted off and gussied up for a night on the town. Even old nuggets like Smoke That Cigarette, the dazzling Come a Little Bit Closer and a favourite of Mama Magpie Edie, Wooly Bully, somehow sound as fresh as the day they were recorded over half a century ago by their originators.
There’s even a Guest Spot from Honouree Pacamino, Senor Chris Difford who takes the lead on (the remixed) Tex Me I’m Yours which fits in like guacamole on a taco. And why no one thought of adding a slide and pedal-steel guitar to the original I will never know!
There are also a couple of originals in here too alongside the Classics, but things move along so quickly and there aren’t really any song intros. The record cover misses these things out completely but I didn’t recognise Poor Boys or Girl From Tennessee although both are rip-roaring stonkers and quickly had me tapping my toes, swaying my hips and even miming along with their choruses, even though I’d never heard them before.
And it’s the same with both songs that became RMHQ Favourites after only two sittings. Both Battered And Broozed and Our Favourite Things could easily have been something the Blasters or Fabulous Thunderbirds would have played to a smoky and packed cantina somewhere sleazy and hot, ‘back in the day’…. Perhaps they did, in which case I bet it was a great night there too!
In many ways there’s ‘nothing new’ here; but that misses the point completely this is an album and indeed audience paying homage to a cool genre of music (Tex Mex/Tejano) that has been airbrushed from the Americana History books in recent years; but still makes for a cracking good night of happy songs, dance tunes, love songs, break up songs and especially drinking songs when done as well as this.